BART, Amtrak exploring possible joint transbay crossing

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RRspatch
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Re: BART, Amtrak exploring possible joint transbay crossing

Post by RRspatch » Tue Feb 12, 2019 2:07 am

Yes, BART does need another trans-bay crossing to help with capacity issues. As far as Amtrak and California rail (both high speed and conventional) wouldn't rebuilding the old SP Dumbarton bridge be a lot cheaper.

As far as transferring from Amtrak to BART there already is a transfer available at Richmond and in another 5 to 8 years there should be one in San Jose.

Another thing to think about is where would an Amtrak train terminating in San Francisco be serviced at? I assume the train terminating at Oakland are serviced in the yard there. Push pull trains going to SF would simply change direction. However 5 and 6 would have a long backup move through the tunnel.

I really see this as a solution in search of a problem.
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Tadman
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Re: BART, Amtrak exploring possible joint transbay crossing

Post by Tadman » Wed Feb 13, 2019 11:23 am

RRspatch wrote:
I really see this as a solution in search of a problem.
Totally agree.

Right now there are 20 Amtrak bus round trips to downtown San Francisco, plus innumerable ferries and BART. The tunnel would perhaps replace 20 busses and no ferries or BART. Due to light loads in wee hours, it might only be 16 or so. Now, the bus that makes a nice loop of downtown is replaced by a train that stops in one place, 4th/Townsend basement. There is no servicing facility, so the train has to back out to Oakland every time. There is no BART connection at 4th/Townsend, but there is Muni.

Compare this to other alternatives - more buses, better BART and Ferry connection, et al. Perhaps every ticket to/from Oakland could have a $20 voucher good for Muni, BART, Ferry, or uber/lyft. Even with a corresponding bump in ticket price, it makes the service more seamless. But a billion dollar tunnel for 20 trains is crazy. Right now the much shorter North River tunnels are something like $30 billion and they're running hundreds of trains a day through the old tunnels, and they still can't figure out how to pay for it.

Finally, the political analysis is tough. If an interstate tunnel between NJ/NY on a ten-state corridor is being branded as a local need by New York, the anchor city/state, imagine how the rest of the country would react to the idea of spending federal dollars on a intra-state California tunnel used to transport Capitol Corridor passengers from the bay area to Sacramento.

And here's the left field idea: for what it would cost to build this tunnel, Amtrak could buy two new eight-car BART trains with luggage racks, nice seats, coffee/tea/soda counter. Store it at the yards at the end of the line. Half hour before a train is due in, deadhead it to Jack London to meet the inbound train, open it up only to ticketed Amtrak passengers that enter through a special gate (operated by the barcode on their amtrak ticket), shuttle them downtown to any station under Market Street, then deadhead to SFO and lay up until the reverse is necessary. They could even build a Metropolitan lounge at Market/Powell.

Whatever logistical costs or "can't do its" we can come up with, it costs WAY less than two extra tubes at 3.5 miles each. If each BART car costs $1.7m, and the downtown Met lounge costs $10m, We're looking at a capital cost of $40m maybe. That's literally 20% less than the cost to study the idea to build the tunnels.
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The EGE
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Re: BART, Amtrak exploring possible joint transbay crossing

Post by The EGE » Wed Feb 13, 2019 3:18 pm

The idea is to allow through-running commuter rail and intercity services between San Francisco and the Peninsula, and the East Bay. We're talking in the range of 15-minute-frequency all-day commuter rail (San Jose-Stockton and San Jose-Sacramento every 30 minutes each), 10+ daily round trips to the Central Valley, and increased intercity service north and east of Sacramento plus south to LA (whether or not CAHSR comes to pass). All of that is already laid out in state and operating agency plans as in place by or before a second Transbay Tube would be finished. Much like the NSRL in Boston, the benefit is not merely the connection of two terminal districts - it's the massive increase in connectivity (and demand) as two- and three- and four-seat rides become one-seat rides.

The mainline part of TB2 would almost certainly come directly into downtown San Francisco through the Transbay Transit Center (one block from Market Street, directly in the downtown commercial district) where all trains would stop. There are a number of different possibilities for BART; Geary and Van Ness corridors are likely, and tying into the existing Mission Street subway for alternate routings is also possible. So BART might go through Transbay, or take an entirely different route through SOMA.

On the Oakland side, you have a lot of possibilities as well. One that will certainly be considered is removing vastly-underused I-980 and replacing it with a combined Amtrak/BART Oakland Central station.

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Tadman
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Re: BART, Amtrak exploring possible joint transbay crossing

Post by Tadman » Wed Feb 13, 2019 4:17 pm

That makes a bit more sense. It will be interesting to see how California gets anything funded after the HSR debacle. For those that haven't heard, Governor-elect Newsom just canned the HSR except a short stretch between two smaller cities in the central state (because he'd have to pay back $3b federal money if he canned that, too).
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Re: BART, Amtrak exploring possible joint transbay crossing

Post by lpetrich » Thu Apr 11, 2019 1:23 am

Second Transbay Rail Crossing | bart.gov
The Second Transbay Rail Crossing opens an opportunity for BART and for its transit partners to consider the possibility of sharing a Transbay Rail Crossing. BART tracks are a wider gauge than the other rail lines in the Bay Area, so BART trains cannot share tracks with Caltrain, ACE, High Speed Rail, or Capitol Corridor. It may be possible to build a new rail crossing with room for both BART and standard-gauge rail, and this study will consider how that could work.
It would be something like 63rd Street Tunnel in New York City. It was built with two pairs of tracks, one for the NYC subway trains and one for commuter trains, with the subway ones atop the commuter ones. The subway-train ones are now in service, and the commuter-train ones are now being readied for service as part of East Side Access.

HenryAlan
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Re: BART, Amtrak exploring possible joint transbay crossing

Post by HenryAlan » Fri Jun 07, 2019 9:11 am

east point wrote:
Mon Feb 11, 2019 8:13 pm
mtuandrew wrote:
benboston wrote:They could also do dual-gauge right?
Nope, BART isn’t a Federally-regulated railroad but rather a rapid transit system. A system like BART can’t legally share track or right-of-way with a railroad like Amtrak, nor would either one accept such a tunnel.

Well --------- Yes and no.

When the costs of 4 different tubes for BART and Caltrain/Amtrak are compared to 2 shared tubes there could be a change. If the present speaker of the house is still speaker the large California delegation could introduce a bill to somehow exempt the tube's use from having any regulatory problem. Now would it pass the Senate is another question?
Even if such a special BART rule were to emerge (it won't), this wouldn't matter, because BART is not standard gauge. There is no scenario, regardless of regulatory decisions, that allows BART to share tracks with an FRA compliant service.

east point
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Re: BART, Amtrak exploring possible joint transbay crossing

Post by east point » Fri Jun 07, 2019 8:41 pm

BART's wide gauge would not matter. There is no reason that a tube could not be dual gauge with one common rail for both, the inside rail standard gauge for Amtrak, and the outside rail for BART..

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Re: BART, Amtrak exploring possible joint transbay crossing

Post by electricron » Sat Jun 08, 2019 3:48 am

east point wrote:
Fri Jun 07, 2019 8:41 pm
BART's wide gauge would not matter. There is no reason that a tube could not be dual gauge with one common rail for both, the inside rail standard gauge for Amtrak, and the outside rail for BART..
No physical reason I will agree, but the regulatory environment and laws will not allow simultaneous operations. Facts:
(1) BART is regulated by the FTA
(2) Amtrak and Caltrains are regulated by the FRA
(3) These federal agencies operate under a different set of regulations - neither allows joint operations over a single rail line without exemptions - which almost always requires enforced time separation. With time gaps like 30 minutes between FRA and FTA trains sharing the same tracks. BART trains operate through the tunnels at frequencies far less than every half hour considering 4 lines use them. So the only time Amtrak or Caltrains could use the tunnels is when BART is not running, in the wee hours every morning. Who wants to arrive or depart a train station with FRA trains at 2 to 3 am? And that is assuming they can get the exemption.

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Tadman
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Re: BART, Amtrak exploring possible joint transbay crossing

Post by Tadman » Mon Jun 10, 2019 5:26 pm

I keep going back to the bigger picture and it's just not there. The business case is shakey for this dual-use tunnel.

Consider that the bay area has a very spread out population, not just downtown San Francisco. Oakland is gentrifying while San Francisco is at capacity. The south bay and silicon valley are growth areas, too. There is a pretty decent mass transit scheme in place with ferries, BART, MUNI, ACE, and Caltrain providing a true network of routes.

Then there's the question of "what trains would use this tunnel?", and the answer is meager. Four of eight Capitols terminate in Oakland, the other four in San Jose. The Zephyr terminates in Oakland, the Starlight moves on. Five San Joaquins terminate in Oakland. That makes a grand total of perhaps ten trains in each direction that might go through.

I can see some or all of the corridor trains going through, but the CZ would have to be serviced and there's not much room for a service layup in San Francisco. I don't know that' there's room for many more corridor trains to lay up. So now the 8-10 revenue trains that use the tunnel have to come back out to Oakland for layup, taking up tunnel slots without revenue.

It just sounds like a terrific waste of money. From the state that just totally screwed up on HSR.
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bdawe
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Re: BART, Amtrak exploring possible joint transbay crossing

Post by bdawe » Mon Jun 10, 2019 8:30 pm

Ya know part of the reason why there aren't that many intercity trains servicing the Bay Area is because few of them actually service the core of the region perhaps
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Re: BART, Amtrak exploring possible joint transbay crossing

Post by mtuandrew » Mon Jun 10, 2019 9:09 pm

I’ve seen other sites featuring pictures of AEM-7s doing their best “Fievel Goes West” impression; it’s worth remembering that electric is going to be the order of the day for at least some trains in the Bay Area.

It’s still silly to make a joint tunnel where BART and intercity share the same right-of-way, but it isn’t silly to suggest they build four tunnels at the same time instead of two.

electricron
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Re: BART, Amtrak exploring possible joint transbay crossing

Post by electricron » Tue Jun 11, 2019 1:09 am

Having separate tunnels for BART and commuter rail (+Amtrak regionals) is far more workable than running the two different types of trains on shared tracks. Where will the commuter rail trains terminate in San Francisco?, Will the new Caltrain terminal be full of Caltrain trains? How tall should the extra set of tunnels be - should it be built for single level or double level trains? How many commuter rail trains will there be? Will there be enough trains to make the extra set of tunnels worthwhile?
It is easy to see BART needing additional capacity, but it is difficult to see both BART and Amtrak California needing additional capacity under the Bay.

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Re: BART, Amtrak exploring possible joint transbay crossing

Post by mtuandrew » Tue Jun 11, 2019 7:34 am

electricron wrote:
Tue Jun 11, 2019 1:09 am
Having separate tunnels for BART and commuter rail (+Amtrak regionals) is far more workable than running the two different types of trains on shared tracks. Where will the commuter rail trains terminate in San Francisco?
Probably a new lower level to the Caltrain terminus, which I hope they plan now by pouring a concrete earthquake-resistant “bathtub”.
Will the new Caltrain terminal be full of Caltrain trains?
Hopefully about 2/3 capacity! Enough that there’s expansion but not too much of a vault.
How tall should the extra set of tunnels be - should it be built for single level or double level trains?
At least Plate F to clear Cali Cars and Gallery cars, in my opinion. California hasn’t signed on wholesale to Siemens singles.
How many commuter rail trains will there be? Will there be enough trains to make the extra set of tunnels worthwhile?
If including East Bay-routed HSR (SFO-LAX via OAK) and SFO-SAC HSR, sure! And even though I don’t think those are an explicit part of the CAHSR plan, it makes sense to plan both.
It is easy to see BART needing additional capacity, but it is difficult to see both BART and Amtrak California needing additional capacity under the Bay.
I see your point, but on the other hand it’s easy to make the case once you start looking at how through-routing increases both volume and mobility.

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Re: BART, Amtrak exploring possible joint transbay crossing

Post by farecard » Wed Jun 19, 2019 11:47 am

I'd rather they extend BART south from Millbrae Station to San Jose.
I know, in theory CALTRAIN will eventually get electrified but still.......

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Tadman
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Re: BART, Amtrak exploring possible joint transbay crossing

Post by Tadman » Wed Jun 19, 2019 12:45 pm

I don't think that's a theory thing, I think they are working on it. Two AEM7 just went west to be test motors. Amtrak sold or leased them out.
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