CalTrain EMU proposal

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Re: CalTrain EMU proposal

Postby buddah » Fri Jan 30, 2009 8:31 pm

well what ever happens I hope they do follow through on Californians passenger rail lines going all electric, as Ive been to LA on many occasions and have first hand witnessed the smog that blankets the LA area.. electrification would only help California.
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Re: CalTrain EMU proposal

Postby FCP503 » Mon Feb 02, 2009 4:20 am

What I find amazing in any discussion regarding a major electrification project in California is that no one eve talks about the generation capacity needed to operate such a system. California has been unwilling to build any new base load power plants for a very long time. The natural gas power plants that the state has allowed to be built are for the most part for peak demand generation only.

Ignoring power generation requirements can lead to disasterous results. N de M's disasterous Mexico City to Queretaro electrifcation was doomed by a lack of sufficient generating capacity to both power the rail system AND meet Mexico City's daytime power needs.
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Re: CalTrain EMU proposal

Postby goodnightjohnwayne » Mon Feb 23, 2009 1:00 pm

It's worth noting that the CalTrain electrification program has been a contentious matter since at least the late 90s, with CalTrain apparently disregarding studies that indicate that electrification isn't warranted.

There was one study that advocated that it would be more efficient to reduce dwell times with high level platforms to allow level boarding, than to make the huge investment in electrification. Of course, CalTrain had stupidly invested in bi-level equipment and did its best to disregard the study.

Overall, CalTrain is not a good example in terms of public accountability. I can't fully explain why they've stuck so doggedly to the very expensive (and largely unjustifiable) electrification scheme for so many years, but there again, we're talking about San Francisco here - not exactly a hotbed of railroading expertise, or even common sense.
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Re: CalTrain EMU proposal

Postby lensovet » Tue Feb 24, 2009 2:21 am

is it just me or does this all become completely moot in light of the CAHSR project? the main costs of electrification, including building the Transbay terminal, setting up substations, and putting up electricity transmission towers next to the tracks, are going to be absorbed by that, so how expensive would it actually be for caltrain to add their own wires?
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Re: CalTrain EMU proposal

Postby cpontani » Tue Feb 24, 2009 5:32 am

This is what I don't understand...is the California High Speed Rail supposed to incorporate CalTrain, or just be another agency to complement the service?
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Re: CalTrain EMU proposal

Postby lensovet » Tue Feb 24, 2009 5:50 am

it will be a completely separate agency which will simply be sharing ROW and some stations with caltrain. think Acela vs. NJT service on the NEC...
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Re: CalTrain EMU proposal

Postby right-of-way » Fri Feb 27, 2009 12:36 am

Here is the real scoop

Electrification is needed. The old Caltrain staff (circa 1990-2000) would punt the ball on the idea because of the new BART extension to Colma and then Millbrae and San Francisco International Airport. That was the blunder and that is why they didn't pull the trigger. BART was going to be what Windex was in the movie "The Big Fat Greek Wedding": the magic cure-all. Almost $2B of state, local and federal money was sunk into BART. I am not saying the total investment was bad but a lot of it came out looking awkwardly important and of course there was little funding for anything else. Viva PB!

Many railroad folks and transit "experts" are quite frankly technically illiterate with respect to the way the rest of the world operates passenger railroads. They know IBM mainframes while everyone else uses laptops. They salavate when they see a freight clunk along at 50 mph or Amtrak's 1997 Peugeot known as the Acela. To quote urbanist James Kunstler, "we have a [passenger] railroad system the Bulgarians would be ashamed of..." No offense to Bulgarians, it just captures reality.

The Caltrain 2015 Electrification Project would provide rapid transit service and performance at railroad prices. High Speed Rail is building the infrastructure. There will be many flavors of service including intercity, regional, commuter local/express and nightime freight (2-4 trains a night carrying precious, time-sensitive loads of gravel and dirty dirt to landfills near you). Just like the NEC but with UIC [European] design standards.

Check out this presentation...it explains everything including why, when and where:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2aJP0msKHL8 (3 Parts)

The rest of industry is following this development very closely. There are huge implications here for the way we run passenger rail in the US. Yes, you can run 5-minute headways. Yes, you can run a rapid transit system on the same infrastructure as intercity trains. Yes, you can buy people-friendly rail equipment. California is where LRT was reborn and it is also where commuter and intercity rail are being reborn...well just in the US several decades after everyone else in the world figured it out.
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Re: CalTrain EMU proposal

Postby Spokker » Sun Mar 01, 2009 4:11 am

right-of-way wrote:Many railroad folks and transit "experts" are quite frankly technically illiterate with respect to the way the rest of the world operates passenger railroads. They know IBM mainframes while everyone else uses laptops. They salavate when they see a freight clunk along at 50 mph or Amtrak's 1997 Peugeot known as the Acela. To quote urbanist James Kunstler, "we have a [passenger] railroad system the Bulgarians would be ashamed of..." No offense to Bulgarians, it just captures reality.
Therein lies the problem. Many people who enjoy trains in the United States don't actually use them to get anywhere quickly or efficiently. They just like looking at them and memorizing schedules from the 1980s. There is no drive to demand bigger and better services. 79 MPH top speeds are as good as it gets and most people in railroad fandom are fine with that.

That's why I never considered myself a railfan. I would consider myself more of a transit fan. I am a fan of the passenger train's ability to get people where they need to go in timely manner. I don't want to chase them, I want to ride them, and not just for no reason but to get to work, school and places of interest.

You don't see ambitious calls for electrification of America's railroads. Maybe the diesel exhaust has gotten to their brains.
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Re:

Postby Thomas I » Sat Mar 07, 2009 8:33 am

chrsjrcj wrote:http://www.bayrailalliance.org/files/images/CaltrainEMU2.jpg This is from bayrailalliance.org


Looks like a french EMU after a litte rework with Photoshop.... :-D :-D

http://www.railfaneurope.net/pix/fr/ele ... 0_LV_1.jpg
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Re: CalTrain EMU proposal

Postby morris&essex4ever » Mon May 24, 2010 1:35 pm

Anyone know the status of this proposal given Caltrain is broke and will likely have to cut off peak and weekend service
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Re: CalTrain EMU proposal

Postby neroden » Tue May 25, 2010 6:12 pm

right-of-way wrote: To quote urbanist James Kunstler, "we have a [passenger] railroad system the Bulgarians would be ashamed of..." No offense to Bulgarians, it just captures reality.

Riffing off that the Bulgarians are building 120mph railroads right now. ;-)
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Re: CalTrain EMU proposal

Postby lensovet » Fri May 28, 2010 10:41 pm

morris&essex4ever wrote:Anyone know the status of this proposal given Caltrain is broke and will likely have to cut off peak and weekend service
Caltrain is pushing to gain support for this project as they project that it will increase ridership and reduce operating costs by something like 50%. however at this point i think their only option is to ride on the coattails of the CAHSR effort and make sure their input is considered in that project.
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Re: CalTrain EMU proposal waiver info

Postby DutchRailnut » Sat May 29, 2010 6:47 am

Here is wording of waiver and it gives some better detail:
http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2010-01 ... 0-1226.pdf

DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION
Federal Railroad Administration
Petition for Waiver of Compliance In accordance with Part 211 of Title 49 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR),
notice is hereby given that the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) has received a request for a waiver of
compliance from certain requirements of its safety standards. The individual petition is described below, including
the party seeking relief, the regulatory provisions involved, the nature of the relief being requested, and the
petitioner’s arguments in favor of relief. Peninsula Corridor Joint Powers Board- Caltrain
[Waiver Petition Docket Number FRA–2009– 0124]
The Peninsula Corridor Joint Powers Board (JPB) seeks a waiver of compliance from certain provisions of
Title 49 CFR Part 238 Passenger Equipment Safety Standards.
Specifically, JPB is considering purchasing non-FRA compliant highefficiency electric multiple unit (EMU)
vehicles, constructed to European safety standards for its Caltrain commuter rail service between San Francisco, CA, and
Gilroy, CA. JPB seeks relief from the requirements of § 238.204 Static End Strength; § 238.205 Anti-Climbing Mechanism; § 238.207 Link Between
Coupling Mechanism; § 238.211 Collision Posts; and § 238.213 Corner Posts.
JPB, which owns and operates the Caltrain commuter rail service between San Francisco, CA, and Gilroy, CA [MilePost (MP) 51.9], is currently
considering a program that increases system capacity by removing constraints within the system. This program, referred to as ‘‘Caltrain 2025,’’ will allow
Caltrain to expand service and reduce costs while providing a measurably safer transportation network. Along with electrification of mainline tracks
and implementation of an enhanced positive train control system, a key component of this program involves the operation of some non-FRA compliant
high-efficiency EMU vehicles constructed to European safety standards that feature Crash Energy Management capabilities. Also, Caltrain
will temporally separate freight operations from passenger operations between San Francisco, CA, and Santa Clara (MP 44.6), by limiting freight
movements to the exclusive freight period hours of midnight–5 a.m. Only from MP 44.6–MP 51.9 will freight service commingle with Caltrain
commuter equipment during revenue service.
Interested parties are invited to participate in these proceedings by submitting written views, data, or comments. FRA does not anticipate
scheduling a public hearing in connection with these proceedings since the facts do not appear to warrant a hearing. If any interested party desires
an opportunity for oral comment, they should notify FRA, in writing, before the end of the comment period and specify the basis for their request.
All communications concerning these proceedings should identify the appropriate docket number (e.g., Waiver Petition Docket Number FRA–2009–
0124) and may be submitted by any of the following methods:
• Web site: http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the online
instructions for submitting comments.
• Fax: 202–493–2251.
• Mail: Docket Operations Facility,
U.S. Department of Transportation, 1200
New Jersey Avenue, SE., W12–140,
Washington, DC 20590.
• Hand Delivery: 1200 New Jersey
Avenue, SE., Room W12–140,
Washington, DC 20590, between 9 a.m.
and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday,
except Federal holidays.
Communications received within 45 days of the date of this notice will be considered by FRA before final action is taken. Comments received after that
date will be considered as far as practicable. All written communications concerning these proceedings are available for examination during regular
business hours (9 a.m.–5 p.m.) at the above facility. All documents in the public docket are also available for inspection and copying on the Internet
at the docket facility’s Web site at
http://www.regulations.gov.
Anyone is able to search the electronic form of any written communications and comments received into any of our dockets by the name of the individual submitting the
document (or signing the document, if submitted on behalf of an association, business, labor union, etc.). You may review DOT’s complete Privacy Act
Statement in the Federal Register published on April 11, 2000 (65 FR 19477) or at http://www.dot.gov/privacy.html.
Issued in Washington, DC, on January 19,
2010.
Grady C. Cothen, Jr.,
Deputy Associate Administrator for Safety
Standards and Program Development.
[FR Doc. 2010–1226 Filed 1–22–10; 8:45 am]
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Re: CalTrain EMU proposal

Postby digitalsciguy » Tue May 03, 2011 7:24 pm

Things've been pretty quiet since CalTrain submitted the FRA waiver petition. Since the whole electric conversion bit is contingent on the successful construction of CAHSR through CalTrain territory, would it be safe to assume this is in jeopardy?

The FRA granted the waiver, but is there an expiration date for the waiver in the same way that Federal grants expire? Ironically enough, Caltrans recently received $100 million in federal grants toward the Pacific and San Joaquin intercity rail corridors under the HSIPR programme. Perhaps a more permanent state funding structure for intercity and commuter rail can be formulated to cover more of the $3 billion instead of waiting for another magical federal bullet to support the CalTrain electrification.

While we're not dealing with such dire issues out here on the east coast with our diesel-operated commuter rail threatening to bankrupt operations, full electrification of the MBTA commuter rail system in Massachusetts is often a hot (side) topic on the MBTA forums since one of the lines in the network happens to be a portion of the fully electrified Northeast Corridor. What would make sense in terms of a phased build-out for CalTrain independent of the CAHSR project, if at all possible? Also, do you have any line(s) in particular that would be best suited for immediate upgrade for improved efficiency to be shown off as a cost-saving pilot?
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Re: CalTrain EMU proposal

Postby lensovet » Tue May 03, 2011 9:16 pm

i don't think waivers have expiration dates…

as to your other point, no, there's just one line. all trains run the full length of the line. the segment between san jose and gilroy has no weekend service, so presumably electrification would occur between SJ and SF first.
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