CA California CAHSR System

Discussion related to commuter rail and transit operators in California past and present including Los Angeles Metrolink and Metro Subway and Light Rail, San Diego Coaster, Sprinter and MTS Trolley, Altamont Commuter Express (Stockton), Caltrain and MUNI (San Francisco), Sacramento RTD Light Rail, and others...

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Re: CA California CAHSR System

Postby mtuandrew » Fri Jan 23, 2015 9:37 am

Gilbert B Norman wrote:Mr. O'Keeffe, while I do not have Orwell's power of the "thought police", I believe the intended route of the proposed I-95 through the NE District, was Northward along Capitol Street, thence along New Hampshire to the present Interchange with I-495. Your school would have been unaffected, but Howard University most certainly would.

Somehow, I think that is the school Mr. "Mtuandrew" Stephens had in mind.

Indeed so, Mr. Norman, though I suppose one could have listed Catholic or Gallaudet.

But again, we're drifting off the topic - let's stick with California.
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Re: CA California CAHSR System

Postby lpetrich » Fri Jan 23, 2015 11:07 am

I'll now find additional lengths, total lengths and estimated costs for each.

ICS (Madera - Bakersfield) -- 89 mi, 89 mi -- $3.0 B, $3.0 B
IOS (Merced - Madera, Bakersfield - Burbank) -- 182 mi, 271 mi -- $6.2 B, $9.2 B
Bay to Basin (San Jose - Chowchilla) -- 114 mi, 385 mi -- $3.9 B, $13.1 B
Phase 1 (San Francisco - San Jose, Burbank - Anaheim) -- 85 mi, 470 mi -- $2.9 B, $16.0 B
Phase 2: (Sacramento - Merced, LAUS - San Diego) -- 266 mi, 736 mi -- $9.0 B, $25.0 B

Costs uncorrected for inflation.

The total estimated cost of the system is $68 B, a number that includes estimated inflation. I don't know what estimate they used, so I decided to estimate it myself. From Inflation - Wikipedia I estimate 2.5% in recent years. Assuming spending at constant rate over 20 years, I estimate an average inflation rate of 29%. This bumps the total cost down to $53 B. That's about twice my estimate above.
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Re: CA California CAHSR System

Postby Arlington » Fri Jan 23, 2015 11:49 am

I really appreciate these back-of-envelope estimates. Just a couple of notes:
- Construction inflation, like medical inflation, tends to run "faster" than regular inflation since construction costs depend more on human labor. Construction inflation is also higher because it doesn't benefit from tech-deflation the way that other parts of the economy do.
- Once the system gets to overlaying/electrifying existing commuter lines, you can't really use the costs per mile from the rural segments. These probably involve more demolition and night work and urban costs.
"Trying to solve congestion by making roadways wider is like trying to solve obesity by buying bigger pants."--Charles Marohn
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Re: CA California CAHSR System

Postby lpetrich » Sat Jan 24, 2015 4:20 am

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Re: CA California CAHSR System

Postby NH2060 » Sun Jan 25, 2015 5:01 am

Arlington wrote:Once the system gets to overlaying/electrifying existing commuter lines, you can't really use the costs per mile from the rural segments. These probably involve more demolition and night work and urban costs.

Seeing that CalTrain is contributing to the cost of the San Jose-San Francisco electrification/grade separation (since it was first a CalTrain-only project that became a joint CalTrain/CAHSRA endeavor) doesn't that lower the overall cost of the whole HSR project on the CAHSRA's end?
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Re: CA California CAHSR System

Postby Froggie » Mon Jan 26, 2015 12:53 pm

It's not a technical reason for building the rural segments first, but I seem to remember that the ARRA money came with a stipulation that it be applied to the most depressed areas of California first, and that that was a bit part of why they chose the start point that they did. The $3 billion in federal money probably outweighed some of the immediate usage arguments for starting in LA or San Fran. I also remember having a sense that part of the point of starting in the middle was to make sure that the full line got built, not just an improvement of the lines around LA.
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Re: CA California CAHSR System

Postby Gilbert B Norman » Thu Feb 05, 2015 2:05 pm

Here's an Opinion piece appearing in Wednesday's Times that was "interesting":

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/02/04/opini ... lroad.html

Brief passage:

Yet the $68 billion mega-project is controversial. Some believe that it’s a frivolous expenditure, a legacy project for Gov. Jerry Brown, who hasn’t yet lined up all the necessary funds. Whereas Governor Stanford and his fellow robber barons gained federal aid by pushing the Pacific Railroad Act through Congress, today’s Republican-controlled Congress has already blocked any more federal dollars for the train. And the price tag will certainly swell before the last bolt is tightened by 2030.


All told, an Op-ed short on technology, but long on "emotional history", that some here could find enjoying.
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Re: CA California CAHSR System

Postby ExCon90 » Thu Feb 05, 2015 2:50 pm

What I found interesting was her comments about the almost unimaginable transformation that this country and California underwent as a result of the transcontinental railroad. Many people today seem utterly unable to realize that a similar transformation occurs in countries that build high-speed rail. One thing the writer doesn't mention, as most others don't, is that any "public land" adjoining the right-of-way that was more than a half-day's drive by horse and wagon from a navigable waterway was absolutely worthless for anything but subsistence farming. If you grew more than you could use, who could you sell it to? Your neighbors grew the same crops you did.
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Re: CA California CAHSR System

Postby lpetrich » Thu Jun 25, 2015 11:09 pm

California High Speed Rail Blog » Construction Begins on First HSR Bridge -- a viaduct over the Fresno River

Heavy equipment finally moving on California high-speed rail construction | Fresno Bee
Heavy construction work on California’s high-speed rail project formally commenced Tuesday in a dusty field next to a freight railroad line.

Work crews are building the first of 16 concrete footings that will become the foundation of a 1,600-foot viaduct, or elevated bridge, over the Fresno River, Highway 145 and Raymond Road. ...

“Over the next few months, people will see things happening at about a half-dozen different sites,” Morales said. “By the end of the summer, you won’t be able to go anywhere in the Valley without seeing people in orange vests and green shirts hard at work.”

Gomez said it will likely take eight months to a year for workers to complete the Fresno River viaduct.

The construction includes two more viaducts and some street overpasses and underpasses. 1600 ft ~ 500 m

Some video:
Construction of Fresno River Viaduct Underway - June 18, 2015 - YouTube
▶ Construction begins on bullet train's first bridge - YouTube
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Re: CA California CAHSR System

Postby lpetrich » Mon Jan 25, 2016 3:42 am

I haven't posted updates to this thread in over 6 months because I did not want to spam it with small updates.

California High Speed Rail Blog » HSR Takes Shape Over the Fresno River
At the CHSRA's Facebook page: Fresno River Viaduct 1/13/16

A new twist: California High Speed Rail Blog » Starting HSR in the North, Rather than the South
The California High Speed Rail Authority is considering a shift in plans – building the Initial Operating Segment in the north rather than the south. ...

This does make logical, practical, financial, and political sense. The decision about how to connect Palmdale to Burbank has not yet been made, with a lot of strong views on both sides of the debate between following the Highway 14 alignment or building one long tunnel under the San Gabriel Mountains. Either option won’t be cheap, whereas tunneling under Pacheco Pass is more simple and straightforward.

noting Bullet train project: Southern California segment might be built last, officials say - LA Times
“You can’t ignore Southern California or Los Angeles or Orange County and say we are going to go north, period,” said Richard Katz, a longtime Southern California transportation official and former Assembly majority leader. “It made sense to start in the south, given the population and the serious transportation problems here.”

...
But the state is facing major difficulties with the south-first plan. By building in the north initially, the state would delay the most difficult and expensive segment of the entire $68-billion project: traversing the geologically complex Tehachapi and San Gabriel mountains with a large system of tunnels and aerial structures.

A commenter noted San Jose back in the running for early high-speed rail link
"If it ran adjacent to the Union Pacific right of way it can be done quickly and inexpensively," Diridon said. But that route also cuts through San Jose's Willow Glen neighborhood, and the people there are "not excited about that," he added.

An alternative such as a tunnel running between the Tamien and Diridon stations would be more acceptable to residents, but the added costs of putting the tracks underground would likely torpedo the plan, he said.


I agree. it will likely be cheaper and faster, since the construction will be less challenging. The CHSRA hasn't officially decided to consider that, it's just a rumor that it will appear in its 2016 Business Plan, a document that it should release in a few weeks.
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Re: CA California CAHSR System

Postby lpetrich » Fri Feb 19, 2016 6:58 pm

California High Speed Rail Blog » Mercury News Gets Confirmation of Northern IOS noting California bullet train headed first to San Jose -- a big Bay Area win - San Jose Mercury News
SJ Mercury News:
In the draft report obtained Wednesday by this newspaper, the authority says it had to change course to keep costs down, in large part because the southern segment will entail expensive tunneling costs through the Tehachapi and San Gabriel mountains.

Blogger Robert Cruickshank:
This all makes sense. The uncertainty about how to get from Palmdale to Burbank – especially the cost uncertainty – isn’t likely to be resolved anytime soon. So building the cheaper and easier northern segment, from Bakersfield to San José and on to San Francisco, is a smart way to get HSR service up and running. And that in turn helps bring the revenues and private investment needed to get from Bakersfield to LA.


I wanted to be completely sure about that before I posted anything on it, so I waited a day. I got this:
California High Speed Rail Blog » CHSRA Unveils 2016 Business Plan – and a Northern IOS
RC quotes the Business Plan on trying to do San Francisco - Bakersfield, then continues
So, basically, they have the money to build from Diridon Station to a temporary station just outside Bakersfield, and will seek additional federal funding to do those things. That might be tricky given the Republican Congress’s hostile attitude toward HSR.

The business plan itself: DRAFT_2016_Business_Plan_0201816.pdf
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Re: CA California CAHSR System

Postby bdawe » Wed Feb 24, 2016 1:32 pm

What I find interesting about the IOS-North Plan is that it leaves room for a lot of the technical criticisms of the old southern mountain crossing plan to be considered. By terminating at Schafer, north of Bakersfield, and putting off the southern crossing for some years, any route into Southern California over the Tehachapi Mountains, be it by way of Tejon Pass or Palmdale, can be built at a future date
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Re: CA California CAHSR System

Postby electricron » Wed Feb 24, 2016 1:48 pm

Delaying the decision to select the route into Los Angeles is a major mistake, IMHO.
France didn't start its initial HSR system without its largest city, neither did England, Spain, Italy, Germany, Netherlands, Belgium, Korea, Japan, nor China. Yet California, following a different drummer, expects a successful HSR system without its largest city a startup? Woe!
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Re: CA California CAHSR System

Postby bdawe » Wed Feb 24, 2016 2:01 pm

That would be a stinging criticism if San Francisco Bay were not itself an enormous metropolitan region. It's not as big as LA, but it's certainly much bigger than any metropolitan area in France or the United Kingdom other than Paris or London. It's comparable in scale to Germany's largest urbanized area- the Ruhr.

At the end of the day, the Authority has the money to do the Bay and doesn't have the money to do LA.
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Re: CA California CAHSR System

Postby lpetrich » Sat Feb 27, 2016 2:01 am

Shafter is about 19 mi / 30 km northwest of central Bakersfield, so it would be easy to run a shuttle bus into town.

I'll now estimate travel times for IOS North. For San Jose - Bakersfield, it is about 2 hours, and for San Francisco - SJ, about 30 min - 1 hr. The latter time is the Caltrain "Baby Bullet" express-train time; the local-train time is 1 1/2 hours. So I estimate SF - Bfld to be about 3 hr.

By comparison, the San Joaquin train and SF - Emeryville bus take about 7 hours. However, the San Joaquin train detours northward to Richmond, Martinez, Antioch, and Stockton. Source: Amtrak's most recent schedules.

From Bakersfield to Los Angeles will be about 2h 20m by bus. The contrast will be rather impressive.
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