XpressWest (former DesertXpress), Vegas - Victorville

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Re: XpressWest (former DesertXpress), Vegas - Victorville

Postby ExCon90 » Sun Nov 11, 2012 2:25 pm

neroden wrote:
RocketJet wrote:So its a little sketchy, what do all of you think about the public opinion towards such a project? Victorville was not good enough so they extended it to Palmdale...is Palmdale good enough, especially considering that the rest of the California High Speed Rail corridor is still years away?


Well, even though it would require a slow Metrolink ride, Palmdale will get you from LA to Vegas on an all-rail routing. That counts for a lot in terms of attracting passengers.

In fact, if XpressWest is completed before Palmdale-LA HSR, I wouldn't be surprised if XpressWest made a deal with Metrolink to sell XpressWest tickets which included the Metrolink trip.

If the demand is there and track capacity is available, there's no reason why Metrolink couldn't add an express to connect with CHSR at Palmdale, stopping only at Burbank and Glendale (and maybe Santa Clarita?). They'd need to add capacity anyway if there's any sort of ridership.
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Re: XpressWest (former DesertXpress), Vegas - Victorville

Postby electricron » Sun Nov 11, 2012 3:13 pm

ExCon90 wrote:If the demand is there and track capacity is available, there's no reason why Metrolink couldn't add an express to connect with CHSR at Palmdale, stopping only at Burbank and Glendale (and maybe Santa Clarita?). They'd need to add capacity anyway if there's any sort of ridership.

There's no reason why XpressWest couldn't apply for a waiver and run their trains all the way into Union Station, running at slower speeds south of Palmdale. Whether a wavier would succeed or not would depend upon the rolling stock XpressWest buys. As for the lack of catenary south of Palmdale, adding a diesel locomotive to the head end is always a possibility - or get CHSR to add the catenary early.
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Re: XpressWest (former DesertXpress), Vegas - Victorville

Postby amtrakowitz » Tue Nov 13, 2012 11:58 pm

electricron wrote:
ExCon90 wrote:If the demand is there and track capacity is available, there's no reason why Metrolink couldn't add an express to connect with CHSR at Palmdale, stopping only at Burbank and Glendale (and maybe Santa Clarita?). They'd need to add capacity anyway if there's any sort of ridership.

There's no reason why XpressWest couldn't apply for a waiver and run their trains all the way into Union Station, running at slower speeds south of Palmdale. Whether a wavier would succeed or not would depend upon the rolling stock XpressWest buys. As for the lack of catenary south of Palmdale, adding a diesel locomotive to the head end is always a possibility - or get CHSR to add the catenary early.

That would be far less useful.

And if you're going to run "at slower speeds", what would you need a waiver for?
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Re: XpressWest (former DesertXpress), Vegas - Victorville

Postby electricron » Wed Nov 14, 2012 12:14 am

amtrakowitz wrote:That would be far less useful.
And if you're going to run "at slower speeds", what would you need a waiver for?


You would need a waiver to mix FRA compliant Metrolink trains with non FRA compliant XpressWest trains on the same tracks. A one seat ride on one train from L.A. to L.V. would be very useful, whether the train is up to maximum speed or not. Alas, I will admit going at maximum speed on CHSR tracks would be much better than on Metrolink tracks. But how long will it take CHSR to build it's high speed tracks between Palmdale to L.A., if ever?
By allowing XpressWest to run their trains over Metrolink tracks, Metrolink wouldn't have to run any extra trains.
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Re: XpressWest (former DesertXpress), Vegas - Victorville

Postby amtrakowitz » Wed Nov 14, 2012 3:56 pm

electricron wrote:
amtrakowitz wrote:That would be far less useful.
And if you're going to run "at slower speeds", what would you need a waiver for?

You would need a waiver to mix FRA compliant Metrolink trains with non FRA compliant XpressWest trains on the same tracks. A one seat ride on one train from L.A. to L.V. would be very useful, whether the train is up to maximum speed or not. Alas, I will admit going at maximum speed on CHSR tracks would be much better than on Metrolink tracks. But how long will it take CHSR to build its high speed tracks between Palmdale to L.A., if ever?
By allowing XpressWest to run their trains over Metrolink tracks, Metrolink wouldn't have to run any extra trains.

How do you know for sure that XpressWest trains will not be FRA-compliant, at least to Tier 1? (Since MUs are not allowed to exceed 125 mph anywhere, Tier 1 is enough and it's affordable.) Never mind such waivers not yet existing.

And does Metrolink own their own tracks out to Palmdale?

Nobody is going to put up with a low-speed ride up to Victorville for half the journey. If that were feasible, then Amtrak would still be running to Las Vegas from Los Angeles.
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Re: XpressWest (former DesertXpress), Vegas - Victorville

Postby electricron » Wed Nov 14, 2012 7:56 pm

amtrakowitz wrote: 1) How do you know for sure that XpressWest trains will not be FRA-compliant, at least to Tier 1? (Since MUs are not allowed to exceed 125 mph anywhere, Tier 1 is enough and it's affordable.) Never mind such waivers not yet existing.

2) And does Metrolink own their own tracks out to Palmdale?

3) Nobody is going to put up with a low-speed ride up to Victorville for half the journey. If that were feasible, then Amtrak would still be running to Las Vegas from Los Angeles.

1) XpressWest is suggesting top speeds of their trains up to 150 mph over their dedicated tracks from Palmdale to Las Vegas. On the Metrolink tracks, they'll probably be going less than 125 mph - maybe as low as 79 mph.
MUs will probably be allowed 150 mph speeds over dedicated tracks.
2) I was under the impression Metrolink owned the tracks as far as Palmdale, but I'll admit I'm not sure. Anyone knowing the definite answer to this question?
3) It's 63 miles from Palmdale to L.A. Union Station, it's 233 miles from Palmdale to Las Vegas - with a prolonged stop at Victorville. Let's assume the stop at Victorville last 15 minutes.
The first 63 miles can be covered in 48 minutes at 79 mph, and 63 minutes at 60 mph. The last 233 miles can be covered in 93 minutes at 150 mph, in 112 minutes at 125 mph, in 127 minutes at 110 mph.
Therefore, the best scenario for the entire distance (including 15 minutes at Victorville) would be 156 minutes (approximately 2.5 hours), the worst case would be 205 minutes (approximately 3.5 hours).

To break it down even more, for the 63 miles between L.A. and Palmdale.....
63 minutes at 60 mph
48 minutes at 79 mph
42 minutes at 90 mph
35 minutes at 110 mph
30 minutes at 125 mph
25 minutes at 150 mph
I believe XpressWest will be running the train as an express, so XpressWest trains going 150 mph only saves 23 minutes over a train going 79 mph. I really don't think a half hour lost going Metrolink slow is going to make much difference....
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Re: XpressWest (former DesertXpress), Vegas - Victorville

Postby Jeff Smith » Thu Nov 15, 2012 3:01 pm

^When it's the feds, "long" is a relative term. But here's hope:

http://www.policymic.com/articles/16700 ... uge-gamble

he Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) is nearing the end of its review of an application for a $6 billion loan to finance the XpressWest high-speed rail line from Victorville, CA to Las Vegas, NV. While critics worry about the risk of default, XpressWest developers promise tremendous economic and environmental benefits.

...

So how does the FRA come up with the $6 billion to loan to XpressWest? The answer is an underutilized federal program called the Railroad Rehabilitation and Improvement Financing program (RRIF). The program was established by the Transportation Equity Act for the 21stCentury, which authorizes the FRA to provide direct loans for development of new railroad facilities and improvement of existing facilities. The $6 billion requested by XpressWest is more than ten times the size of the next largest RRIF loan, a $562.9 million loan made to Amtrak in 2011.

With such a large loan, the risk of default and subsequent taxpayer bailout are a serious concern for the FRA. Critics of the XpressWest plan, such as the Reason Foundation and other conservative groups, point to the fact that ridership and demand predictions built into the financing plan were based on data from 2005, before the recession seriously impacted tourism and travel. Others question the level of demand among vehicle-owning residents of suburban Southern California for alternative transportation between either Los Angeles or Victorville — a small desert town about an hour drive east of Los Angeles — and Las Vegas.

A hypothetical comparison of the potential costs of a trip from Los Angeles to Las Vegas on the XpressWest and by car gives some perspective on the debate. If a Los Angeles resident drove the 265 miles to Las Vegas averaging 22 mpg on the highway with gas at $4.20 per gallon, the trip would cost $50.59, almost identical to the proposed $50 fare for the same trip using Los Angeles' Metrolink railway and connecting to XpressWest in Victorville. However, a spike in gas prices, like the one that occurred in California over the past few weeks, could make XpressWest a more appealing option, especially with deals offered for round trip tickets.
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Re: XpressWest (former DesertXpress), Vegas - Victorville

Postby afiggatt » Thu Nov 15, 2012 6:37 pm

electricron wrote:1) XpressWest is suggesting top speeds of their trains up to 150 mph over their dedicated tracks from Palmdale to Las Vegas. On the Metrolink tracks, they'll probably be going less than 125 mph - maybe as low as 79 mph.
MUs will probably be allowed 150 mph speeds over dedicated tracks.
...
I believe XpressWest will be running the train as an express, so XpressWest trains going 150 mph only saves 23 minutes over a train going 79 mph. I really don't think a half hour lost going Metrolink slow is going to make much difference....

The Chairman and CEO of a major backer of the XpressWest project stated in an extended interview back in September that the top speed they were planning for was 190 mph. He was probably rounding off 300 kph = 186 mph for US readers, but that is what they are planning as a speed vs power consumption trade-off although they will be buying 220 mph capable trains. (to be able to run on CA HSR lines?).

In that interview, the FRA application was for $5.5 billion and XpressWest has lined up $1.5 billion in private equity. The interview is worth reading to get a better understanding of their plans and thinking w/o the filter of mainstream business press reporter who knows nothing about HSR and little about railroads. See http://www.vegasinc.com/news/2012/sep/03/partner-outlines-vision-high-speed-rail-system/
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Re: XpressWest (former DesertXpress), Vegas - Victorville

Postby amtrakowitz » Sat Nov 17, 2012 3:26 pm

electricron wrote:
amtrakowitz wrote:
  1. How do you know for sure that XpressWest trains will not be FRA-compliant, at least to Tier 1? (Since MUs are not allowed to exceed 125 mph anywhere, Tier 1 is enough and it's affordable.) Never mind such waivers not yet existing.
  2. And does Metrolink own their own tracks out to Palmdale?
  3. Nobody is going to put up with a low-speed ride up to Victorville for half the journey. If that were feasible, then Amtrak would still be running to Las Vegas from Los Angeles.

  1. XpressWest is suggesting top speeds of their trains up to 150 mph over their dedicated tracks from Palmdale to Las Vegas. On the Metrolink tracks, they'll probably be going less than 125 mph - maybe as low as 79 mph. MUs will probably be allowed 150 mph speeds over dedicated tracks.
  2. I was under the impression Metrolink owned the tracks as far as Palmdale, but I'll admit I'm not sure. Anyone knowing the definite answer to this question?
  3. It's 63 miles from Palmdale to L.A. Union Station, it's 233 miles from Palmdale to Las Vegas - with a prolonged stop at Victorville. Let's assume the stop at Victorville last 15 minutes.
The first 63 miles can be covered in 48 minutes at 79 mph, and 63 minutes at 60 mph. The last 233 miles can be covered in 93 minutes at 150 mph, in 112 minutes at 125 mph, in 127 minutes at 110 mph.
Therefore, the best scenario for the entire distance (including 15 minutes at Victorville) would be 156 minutes (approximately 2.5 hours), the worst case would be 205 minutes (approximately 3.5 hours).

To break it down even more, for the 63 miles between L.A. and Palmdale...
    63 minutes at 60 mph
    48 minutes at 79 mph
    42 minutes at 90 mph
    35 minutes at 110 mph
    30 minutes at 125 mph
    25 minutes at 150 mph
I believe XpressWest will be running the train as an express, so XpressWest trains going 150 mph only saves 23 minutes over a train going 79 mph. I really don't think a half hour lost going Metrolink slow is going to make much difference....

You are never going to get an average speed of 60 mph between Los Angeles and Palmdale. (Local Metrolink trains run at an average speed of 37.8 mph per schedule.) Please learn the difference between top speed and average speed; they are not the same, by far.

I was able to find out ownership: Metrolink owns tracks from LAUS to Burbank on the Antelope Valley Line; the rest is UP.

It's safe enough to assume that off-the-shelf high-speed trainsets can meet Tier 1 crashworthiness specs; IINM, the TGV Duplex does, if not exceeds them.

Biggest problem with your scenario is electrification. XpressWest still plans to use EMUs, not DMUs. UP won't allow another company to build wires over its tracks on its property, even assuming they have the money (no such thing assumed here, not even with CAHSR meaning from Palmdale to Victorville; XpressWest themselves certainly won't have such money) and further assuming that these wires will be built with sufficient clearance to permit clearance for the tallest freights (at least 23 feet for double-stackers IIRC).
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Re: XpressWest (former DesertXpress), Vegas - Victorville

Postby electricron » Sat Nov 17, 2012 3:54 pm

amtrakowitz wrote:You are never going to get an average speed of 60 mph between Los Angeles and Palmdale. (Local Metrolink trains run at an average speed of 37.8 mph per schedule.) Please learn the difference between top speed and average speed; they are not the same, by far.

Biggest problem with your scenario is electrification. XpressWest still plans to use EMUs, not DMUs. UP won't allow another company to build wires over its tracks on its property, even assuming they have the money (no such thing assumed here, not even with CAHSR meaning from Palmdale to Victorville; XpressWest themselves certainly won't have such money) and further assuming that these wires will be built with sufficient clearance to permit clearance for the tallest freights (at least 23 feet for double-stackers IIRC).


Did I not suggest placing a diesel locomotive on the head end of an EMU train? That will solve the electric power problem.

I know the difference between average and maximum speeds. Do you know the difference between an all stop train and an express train, and how that will effect average speed? Metrolink trains visit 8 stations along its way to Palmdale, XpressWest trains won't stop at any of them. Assuming a minimum of two minutes being saved at each stop, that's a total of 16 minutes being saved. Subtracting those 16 minutes from the 111 minutes elapse time between Palmdale and Union Station, that leaves 95 minutes. How many minutes does a train lose slowing down for a station, unloading and loading passengers at the station, then speeding up to speed after a station?
63/111 x 60 = 34 mph
Saving 2 minutes = 63/95 x 60 = 40 mph
Saving 3 minutes = 63/87 x 60 = 44 mph
Saving 4 minutes = 63/79 x 60 = 48 mph
Saving 5 minutes = 63/71 x 60 = 53 mph
Saving 6 minutes = 63/63 x 60 = 60 mph
If the train doesn't need to slow down to stop at a station, it also doesn't need to speed up either. Average speed increases with every station the train doesn't stop at.
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Re: XpressWest (former DesertXpress), Vegas - Victorville

Postby amtrakowitz » Sat Nov 17, 2012 11:29 pm

electricron wrote:
amtrakowitz wrote:You are never going to get an average speed of 60 mph between Los Angeles and Palmdale. (Local Metrolink trains run at an average speed of 37.8 mph per schedule.) Please learn the difference between top speed and average speed; they are not the same, by far.

Biggest problem with your scenario is electrification. XpressWest still plans to use EMUs, not DMUs. UP won't allow another company to build wires over its tracks on its property, even assuming they have the money (no such thing assumed here, not even with CAHSR meaning from Palmdale to Victorville; XpressWest themselves certainly won't have such money) and further assuming that these wires will be built with sufficient clearance to permit clearance for the tallest freights (at least 23 feet for double-stackers IIRC).

Did I not suggest placing a diesel locomotive on the head end of an EMU train? That will solve the electric power problem

No it sure would not. XpressWest isn't investing in any diesels or the money to lease any, and although the trainsets might turn out to be crashworthiness-compatible, it sure does not mean HEP-compatible or MU-compatible, as well as no coupler compatibility (huge difference between AAR and Scharfenberg).
electricron wrote:I know the difference between average and maximum speeds. Do you know the difference between an all stop train and an express train, and how that will effect average speed? Metrolink trains visit 8 stations along its way to Palmdale, XpressWest trains won't stop at any of them. Assuming a minimum of two minutes being saved at each stop, that's a total of 16 minutes being saved. Subtracting those 16 minutes from the 111 minutes elapse time between Palmdale and Union Station, that leaves 95 minutes. How many minutes does a train lose slowing down for a station, unloading and loading passengers at the station, then speeding up to speed after a station?
    (63 ÷ 111) × 60 = 34 mph
    Saving 2 minutes = (63 ÷ 95) × 60 = 40 mph
    Saving 3 minutes = (63 ÷ 87) × 60 = 44 mph
    Saving 4 minutes = (63 ÷ 79) × 60 = 48 mph
    Saving 5 minutes = (63 ÷ 71) × 60 = 53 mph
    Saving 6 minutes = (63 ÷ 63) × 60 = 60 mph
If the train doesn't need to slow down to stop at a station, it also doesn't need to speed up either. Average speed increases with every station the train doesn't stop at.

OK, you don't know how to calculate average speeds. You've just presumed that a diesel-hauled XpressWest train has near-instantaneous acceleration and that there are no speed restrictions on the entire Antelope Valley Line right out of LA Union Station through Palmdale. Check your numbers again.
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Re: XpressWest (former DesertXpress), Vegas - Victorville

Postby electricron » Sun Nov 18, 2012 1:32 am

amtrakowitz wrote:OK, you don't know how to calculate average speeds. You've just presumed that a diesel-hauled XpressWest train has near-instantaneous acceleration and that there are no speed restrictions on the entire Antelope Valley Line right out of LA Union Station through Palmdale. Check your numbers again.

No, I did not assume anything. I calculated the average speed properly, taking the distance traveled divided by elapse time. The distance traveled is set geography and can be measured. The elapse time was arrived at by the existing Metrolink train schedule. That existing train schedule already reflects slowing down for curves and track restrictions. The number of stations located between Union Station and Palmdale was also found on the existing train schedule. All I did was assume how many minutes could be saved by not stopping at those stations, and subtracted that from the existing elapse time.
I didn't even assume the exact amount of time saved because I don't know, so I posted several scenarios; 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6 minutes saved per skipped station. You can pick and choose the scenario you believe is more correct. Never-the-less, the point I'm trying to get you to acknowledge is that an express train not stopping at 8 train stations over 63 miles is going to average a higher speed than a train that does stop at those 8 train stations.
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Re: XpressWest (former DesertXpress), Vegas - Victorville

Postby Jeff Smith » Mon Feb 11, 2013 5:19 pm

While X-Train has been garnering the news lately (disclosure: I hold a position in XTRN) XpressWest has been quiet. Too quiet?

Vegas Inc.

A high-speed train would help Palmdale grow and benefit Las Vegas

...XpressWest initially was slated to run only between Las Vegas and Victorville, Calif., but agreements reached last year extended it 50 miles west to Palmdale. Palmdale is part of the California High-Speed Rail line and is a key connection point for carrying people between Las Vegas and Los Angeles.

...What puts Palmdale on the map?

This is where the growth is coming. In the mid-'90s, we were the fourth-fastest growing region in America.

This is a perfect connection for the train systems because of the gradual elevation out of Los Angeles. It makes us a great portal for both the California High-Speed Rail System and XpressWest, and we’ll have a station for both of them.

...What was your reaction when you first heard about XpressWest’s plan to link Victorville with Palmdale?

I thought it was a natural. And, again, it’s that West L.A. market they’re coming after.

We were already working on our High Desert Corridor, the first east-west freeway in the Antelope Valley which would have a right-of-way capability for this train. So the timing is good and the coordination with our other regional transportation is going to make this a really natural fit for us.
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Re: XpressWest (former DesertXpress), Vegas - Victorville

Postby Jeff Smith » Sun Apr 21, 2013 7:01 pm

Pro: Curbed.com

Senator Jeff Sessions and former vice presidential candidate, Representative Paul Ryan, are ready to douse it with a big bucket of cold water. In a letter to Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood last week, the chairs of the Senate and House Budget Committees urged the administration not to approve a $5.5 billion loan for the project. XpressWest has been waiting for news on that loan since they applied way back in December 2011, and Vegas Inc. seems to think that the Ryan/Sessions letter could be a sign that the government is getting ready to respond. Calling XpressWest "costly, wasteful and high risk," the letter cites a 2012 report from the libertarian Reason foundation that concluded that high-speed rail projects are "plagued by optimistic ridership and revenue forecasts, financial losses and capitol (sic) cost overruns."


and Con: Vegasinc.com

The chief executive of the XpressWest high-speed rail project has responded to a letter from two congressional budget committee members calling for the rejection of a federal loan critical to the project, saying the information they have was “formulated using outdated information and faulty data from an organization with a clear bias.”

Anthony Marnell, founder and CEO of XpressWest, in a letter dated today, told House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan and Senate Budget Committee member Jeff Sessions that “there is no more worthy rail transportation infrastructure project in the United States at this time.”

...

“The Federal Railroad Administration has the benefit of current, factual information and analysis with which to make an informed decision on XpressWest,” Marnell said in his letter, which also outlined the benefits of the XpressWest project, from relieving traffic on Interstate 15 to providing 80,000 direct and indirect jobs.
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Re: XpressWest (former DesertXpress), Vegas - Victorville

Postby Chafford1 » Mon May 06, 2013 1:45 pm

It looks as if the Government is prepared to sanction a $5 billion loan if Xpresswest can come up with the rest of the money - apparently they're strugging to do so:

http://www.reviewjournal.com/news/traff ... -hits-snag
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