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...

Moderator: lensovet

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  by lpetrich
Fremont's Innovation Center coming into view, as Warm Springs BART station on track for late 2015 - San Jose Mercury News -- fall 2015, to be precise.
Photos from Warm Springs/South Fremont BART station under construction

Just below the roof is a strip of horizontally-alternating transparent and stained-glass windows. The stained-glass windows show what look like sunsets. This is similar in theme to the artwork planned for the glass cylinder above the escalators at the parking-lot end of the passenger walkway (Warm Springs Extension Art Program | bart.gov). It's called "Sky Cycles", and the concept picture shows lots of puffy clouds.

Construction Camera: BAY AREA RAPID TRANSIT DISTRICT shows the station along its track-direction axis, which makes it difficult to see those stained glass windows. But the camera shows the parking lots near the station, an a rather large expanse of them at that. They are now under construction. Some transit advocates have criticized those parking lots and the parking garages that BART has built at some stations as conceding too much to car users, but I think that they are a reasonable compromise.

Just south of the Fremont station, most of the falsework (deck molds and supporting structures) is now gone and the west-side span has been lowered into place. Though the station-side walled embankment is almost filled, there is still a lot of construction machinery there.

VTA Says BART To San Jose Will Open In 2017 Despite Judge’s Ruling « CBS San Francisco, VTA officials say planned BART extension to San Jose to open by 2017 despite court ruling | abc7news.com

The problem is with construction at Dixon Landing Road. The BART line will run in a trench underneath that road, though the nearby UP line will stay at surface level. The VTA wanted to shut down that road for 8 months for building the BART trench, but Milpitas city officials objected and the judge agreed. Two lanes have now been shut down, and only two lanes will be shut down at a time, extending the trench construction time to about 18 months. But VTA officials expect the trench to be done in time for a 2017 opening.

Fremont officials, however, had let the VTA close Kato Road for 11 months and Warren Avenue for a year to build grade separations there.

This 10-mile route will get 11 grade separations. It costs $2.3 billion, and the rest of the San Jose extension will cost $6.4 billion. Though that part will be only 6.1 miles long, 5 miles of it will be in tunnels underneath downtown San Jose. VTA has bought the land for it, and awaits complete funding to start it.
  by The EGE
lpetrich, thank you again for posting updates on so many valuable transit projects. It's very encouraging to see how much is going on at any one time.
  by lpetrich

I checked on the new Google Maps again, and this time, its maps of the Fremont area were updated past when construction started there. Comparing the map and the Oxblue construction cam, I estimate the date of its pictures as mid to late February this year. The walls are starting to go up for the walled embankment near the Fremont station, a road just beyond the station is still present, and the big pile of dirt to the west of the embankment is half-covered by plastic sheets.

All the right of way south of Fremont Central Park has been cleared, and track construction has started. Both tracks are present starting just south of Washington Blvd., though after a little less than 1000 ft south, only one track is present. It ends about 500 ft south of Auto Mall Pkwy., with the ties, then the prepared roadbed continuing similar distances from there.

Also just south of Washington Blvd. is the proposed site of the Irvington station, not built from lack of money.

Further south, there are now 4 bridges over S. Grimmer Blvd.: two BART single-track ones, an access-road one, and a UP double-track one.

Past the Warm Springs station, there is a BART double-track bridge and a UP double-track one over Mission Blvd.

Warren Ave. is still being rebuilt as an underpass, and it has a BART bridge, an access-road bridge, and a UP bridge over it.

Kato Road is done, but Dixon Landing Road was not started. Construction there started a few months later, however.

From about 1000 ft north of Montague Expwy. to Capitol Ave., BART's trench seems partially done.

The UP's tracks are gone from the right of way south of Montague Expwy, except for a few places like grade crossings.

Trade Zone Blvd. has no construction, Hostetter Rd. has a grade separation that is at least half-done, and Lundy Ave. and Sierra Rd. have no construction. Between Berryessa Rd. and Mabury Rd. are pillars for an elevated trackway, and halfway in between is the half-done elevated station structure for the Berryessa station.

The extension will continue in the right-of-way until it meets Hwy. US-101, the Bayshore Freeway, though there is no construction south of Mabury Rd. There is still a railroad bridge across it. Will it be removed? Turned into a pedestrian bridge? The second part of the extension will continue southward on the east side of that freeway to McKee Rd., then southwestward underneath it to Alum Rock Station, and then to Santa Clara St. It will then go west to the Caltrain line, then north along it to that line's Santa Clara station, where it will end. Near that station is a former railroad yard, judging from the shape of some nearby cleared land.
  by lpetrich
In construction news, the west-side bridge span was lowered into place yesterday. The two spans were lowered into place using frames placed at each end. The spans have thick concrete walls, so will the track in them be ballasted track instead of slab track?

I'd used Google Maps. Bing Maps was more dated, with Lake Elizabeth's east lobe drained in it. Yahoo Maps and Rand McNally Maps use the same data as Bing. MapQuest Maps was even more dated, to before the construction started.
  by lpetrich
At Fremont station, the walled embankment's fill is close to the heights of the walls. A conduit was built in a trench there. There is some building under construction to the west, but beyond that, it's hard to tell what's going on. The bridge spans' sides now have concrete end caps and low walls near them. At the ends of the bridge decks are low temporary walls. Will that be for pouring a slab-track foundation?

At Warm Springs, much of the parking lots looks ready to be paved.

Turning to Google Maps, I had to switch to the old version because the new version looked pre-construction. I could do that by clicking on the ? icon near the bottom right and selecting switching to "Classic" in its popup menu. In the new one, the bridges over Mission Blvd. were the old ex-SP and ex-WP single-track ones, while in the old one, the bridges are the UP one, the access-road one and the BART one.

Fremont: Warren Avenue reopening Monday as BART extension project continues - San Jose Mercury News
First the two outer lanes, and a few weeks later, the inner lanes, because the median divider is not quite done yet.

This extension is still scheduled to open by the end of 2017, but
BART stations in downtown San Jose and Santa Clara tentatively are scheduled for completion in 2025, according to the VTA.
Fremont's Warren Avenue opening marks major milestone for BART to South Bay - San Jose Mercury News
"The closure of Warren Avenue played a major role in allowing VTA to make the necessary roadway improvements for connections to future BART service in Silicon Valley. Improvements to separate automobile traffic will help reduce traffic and enhance safety specifically for cyclists and pedestrians -- a major win to Fremont residents and businesses for years to come," Fremont Mayor Bill Harrison said. "Thanks to the patience of our community, BART can now go all the way through our city and complete Fremont's role as a destination for our neighbors to the north and south."
Road in Fremont to reopen as construction continues on BART Berryessa Extension | abc7news.com
Busy Fremont Street Reopens After Year-Long BART Extension Construction | NBC Bay Area - has some video.
  by lpetrich
BART reaches milestone on way to Fremont's Warm Springs | abc7news.com (Oct 2) Some local politicians gathered to celebrate the completion of the Walnut Ave. bridge just south of the Fremont BART station. The video with that report showed some closeups of that bridge.

More recently, construction is starting on the track ballast, with the bottom of one lane of it now poured around there.

Just south of the Warm Springs station, some track is going into place, including a track switch. It looks like there will be a pocket track there.

Further south, between Milpitas and Berryessa, SCVTA marks BART Silicon Valley Berryessa Extension milestone | Railway Track & Structures, the restoring of Hostetter Rd. to its full with of 3 lanes in each direction. Construction there still continues on a trench for the BART line, construction which will continue under those restored lanes. The article contains a picture that shows the trench dug north of that street, but barely begun south of that street. Google Maps shows an earlier stage, where trench digging had barely begun and Hostetter Rd. was slimmed down to 2 lanes in each direction. Hostetter Rd. construction should be done by next summer.

Major road construction will soon move south to Sierra Ave. / Lundy Dr., and that intersection will likely be closed for 9 months.

Consulting the List View of Construction Activity, construction of the trench under Trade Zone Blvd., to the north of Hostetter Rd., should have started by now. The construction should take 9 months, and that street should be reduced to 1 lane in each direction.
  by lpetrich
South Bay BART work moving ahead, above and below ground - San Jose Mercury News -- has some pictures of work on the Milpitas station at night. Still lots of exposed rebars in its walls.

From the Fremont construction camera, the east side of the trackway has gotten a bed of ballast, and concrete ties have been placed on it southward from the Fremont side of the Walnut-Ave. bridge.

From the Warm Springs construction camera, the west-side tailtrack looks like it's being extended through the station. Also there, the decorative barrel atop the station entrance now has its panels in place, and the parking lots are now getting paved.
  by lpetrich
BART station double-cross: Community that planned for BART stunned it will pass them by - San Jose Mercury News
Community members planned a "city within the city" -- an urban village -- that would provide 4,050 jobs and 845 housing units. We won support for our 210-page BART Station Area Community Concept Plan from the city's Envision 2040 Task Force. We worked with city planners to transform our comprehensive plan into four smaller plans not just for the station site, but for three adjacent neighborhoods as well. ...

Then it all unraveled on Oct. 6. That's when we heard that VTA is unilaterally considering a new plan that blows the Alum Rock station off the map -- the Alum Rock station that VTA has planned since 2001. The new plan was attached to the Silicon Valley Rapid Transit Program Working Committee Oct. 6 meeting agenda. In it, the "Alum Rock Station" name survives, but the station itself has been moved under East Santa Clara Street near 23rd Street. That station would have no parking and would be shoehorned into an existing neighborhood of single-family homes.
BART stations in San Jose, Santa Clara could be cut from plans - San Jose Mercury News
n an effort to secure federal funds by cutting $1.3 billion from a BART extension through downtown San Jose, planners are considering eliminating two of four stations -- and neighborhoods that had been counting on those stations are up in arms.

On the chopping block are two planned stops, one at 28th Street behind Five Wounds Church near Highway 101 in San Jose, and one across from Santa Clara University. A proposed maintenance yard at Newhall Street would also be cut and that facility used just to turn trains around. ...

Money would also be saved by running BART tracks over instead of under Highway 101 and starting the tunnel segment a quarter of a mile later, west of 101. But the 2,500-space, four- to six-story BART parking garage at 28th would be lost, and there are no plans for parking at 23rd Street if a station is built there.
This scrimping on stations would improve the FTA's rating of the construction, from "moderate to low" to "moderate to high". There would also be problems with getting support for a sales tax in 2016.
  by lpetrich
I must say that I agree on scrimping on that bit of tunnel at Alum Rock, and it may be necessary to skip Santa Clara for now.

But on a more pleasant note, track construction continues at Fremont and Warm Springs.

At Fremont, the track is in place on the east side of the right of way from the Walnut Ave. bridge southwards. There is a big stack of concrete ties just north of it, and there are some odd items nearby. What look like two sets of angled pipes joined together side-by-side (a railing), some similar short pipes, and some black racks.

At Warm Springs, all but the northern parking lots are now paved; the northern ones are the ones closest to the station building. However, they still need streetlights and the like.

The track configuration there is a bit surprising. The west-side track is now done and extends past the camera view. A crossover track comes off of it a little south of the station, and from that track another track paralleling the main tracks comes off. It goes back north to the station and stops. The place for the east-side track is still unballasted. So will this center track be for maintenance access?
  by lpetrich
More on the controversy: BART line to San Jose lurching into view, in fits and starts - SFGate -- has some pictures, mostly of the construction at Berryessa. It also has a map, and from Fremont to Berryessa, it is about as far as from Fremont to the Bay Fair BART station.

Warm Springs: "late in 2015"
Milpitas-Berryessa: "near the end of 2017"

Silicon Valley BART station eliminations — what you need to know - Silicon Valley Business Journal
Why is this coming up now? Now that the end of Phase 1 is within sight, pressure is increasing on the agency to figure out how it's going to complete Phase 2. And according to a VTA presentation, the agency needs to apply to the Federal Transit Administration's "New Starts" funding program by the end of this year.
So they want to advance it in the planning pipeline so that it may start construction when the Milpitas-Berryessa part opens.

VTA Cuts Alum Rock and Santa Clara BART Stations From Funding Plans | Streetsblog San Francisco shows some of the ex-WP line in east San Jose. It will likely become a trail.
  by lpetrich
Construction progress: VTA's BART Silicon Valley Extension - Home shows some of the construction at Milpitas and Berryessa.

At Berryessa, the elevated structure is largely complete up to track level.

At Milpitas, the station platform is in place, an island platform. But just outside the tracks is some support pillars and what looks like more platforms. Both-sides platforms?

At Warm Springs, gravel was poured on the tracks, with the excess gravel still in place. The south-end are getting roofs, and the walkway is getting sides. In front of the main entrance, the parking lot is now paved. There is still some unpaved parking lot to the north of the walkway, however.

ETA: at Fremont, it's still a staging spot for supplies, though I'm now seeing excavation work next to the end of the existing tracks.
  by lpetrich
Warm Springs Extension Construction Photos REV March 2014 - Warm Springs Extension - Picasa Web Albums now has some October 2014 pictures of the entry pavilion, as they call it. its walls have panels in them, but it still does not have a roof or stairs. Likewise, the elevated walkway also lacks roof and a floor.

There is also a picture of a bed of ballast gravel, and it is apparently north of Fremont Central Park. The ballast has been poured for only one track, the west-side one, and one can see the concrete floor on the east side.

Looking at the most recent construction-cam pictures, however, the pavilion and walkway roofs are now in place, while the walkway floor seems like it's in place in the half near the station mezzanine. Also, the east-side ballast is now in place, and the laying of ties on it has apparently reached the curve just south of the Walnut Ave. bridge. In any case, the tie pile north of that bridge is now close to gone.

VTA's BART Silicon Valley Extension - Cam Views took a bit of figuring out. The Berryessa panorama is only up to last month, while the Milpitas one is now more up-to-date. However, Views 1 to 5 are fully up to date.

At Milpitas, a lot of nighttime work, and what looks like a ground-level roof over part of the trench. At Berryessa, no nighttime work. North of the station, deck molds are in place about part of the way to Berryessa Rd. The station itself now has some railings extending above it. Is the station platform in place? South of the station, the tailtrack trackway now looks like it's in place.

Zakhary Mallett: VTA should switch BART route to follow highways to North San Jose - San Jose Mercury News He is a member of BART's Board of Directors, and he would prefer a line through North San Jose -- Milpitas station, Montague Expwy., Trimble Rd., north of the Airport -- and then turn south through Santa Clara to reach the Rod Diridon station. He claims that
The reality is that the documented goals for this project were never the real goals. The actual underlying goal of the project always has been to assist the city of San Jose in achieving its long-term dream of making its downtown more iconic -- including a subway. The Alum Rock and Santa Clara Stations were merely a means to that end by way of misleading Superdistrict analysis.
  by lpetrich
TerraServer - Aerial Photos & Satellite Images - The Leader In Online Imagery has images for November 24 of this year, though its update schedule is rather erratic. Here is what I find along the right of way.

From Walnut Ave. to Stevenson Blvd., the west-side track is in place, though the east-side one was not at the time. As I write this, the east-side track is now in place south of Walnut Ave. South of Elizabeth Lake, however, both tracks seem continuous to Warm Springs station.

The tracks continue a bit southward, though they do not reach Mission Blvd. But the bridges there and over Warren Ave. are clearly done. Kato Rd. also has a bridge, but construction is only partly done at Dixon Landing Rd. However, trenches for BART on both sides of it are evident.

Just north of Milpitas station, the BART line goes into a trench and the ex-WP line crosses it eastward. It no longer goes south of Montague Expwy., making the SCVTA light-rail viaduct in Capitol Ave. no longer necessary.

Construction has started at Trade Zone Blvd., but it does not seem very evident at Lundy Ave. and Sierra Rd. North of Berryessa Rd looks like the beginnings of a trench, while at that road and south of it are pillars for an elevated trackway. The trackway's deck molds soon become evident, and the Berryessa station is getting its station platforms. The trackway continues across Mabury Rd. and ends a little after.
  by lpetrich
Construction progress. Both of the BART system's existing tracks are now connected to the tracks of the Warm-Springs extension, which seem to be all in place. The first of the tracks a few weeks ago, and the second one last weekend. Then a power shovel departed from in between the tracks on a bed of gravel placed on the tracks. It had been used as a tie placer. A pile of leftover ties was then removed.

South of Warm Springs station, the tracks now have some H-shaped thingies in them. Are they are detecting the trains or for communicating with them or both?

Railroad track relocation approved in Fremont
Fremont officials this month unanimously approved a railroad track relocation agreement between the city and Union Pacific Railroad Co. to allow construction of the first phase of the Warm Springs west side access bridge and plaza project for the future Warm Springs-South Fremont Bay Area Rapid Transit station.

Relocation of the existing railroad spur track on the west side of Lopes Court, also known as the Lopes Spur, is considered a vital step in opening up potential redevelopment in the Warm Springs Innovation District, according to the city.
So they plan to construct a bridge from the station westward across the UP tracks. A developer owns some land just west of the planned station entrance and plans to develop it. Relocating that spur will make some land available for development.
After construction and completion of a 30-day test period, the new track, which shortens the length of Lopes Court, will become railroad property. All property southeast of the new track right-of-way will be granted to the railroad as it will no longer be accessible without crossing an active rail line.

To accomplish this, the city will abandon a portion of existing Lopes Court and grant it to the railroad company while reserving utility easements for the utilities that will continue to cross the tracks. Additionally, Lopes Court, the portion of the city property southeast of the track right of way, will be granted to the railroad company.

The property is almost 2 acres.
As far as I can tell from it, the UP will abandon the spur along Lopes Ct. north of the Warm Springs station. In return, UP will get Lopes Ct. south of that station, and will build a replacement spur there. That spur may extend northward just west of the existing tracks, though it's a hard to tell from the description.
  by lpetrich
Rail News - VTA set to begin tunnel construction for BART extension in San Jose. For Railroad Career Professionals
North San Jose Intersection Closing For Nine Months Due to BART Construction | NBC Bay Area
San Jose BART extension construction ahead of schedule | abc7news.com
That's Sierra Road and Lundy Avenue. BART will run in an underpass under that intersection.

Affordable transit will help close gap between rich, poor in South Bay - San Jose Mercury News by Rob Means

He first mentioned the expense of the proposed downtown-SJ tunnel, and he then noted BART Director Zachary Mallett's proposal of a Milpitas - Santa Clara - Rod Diridon Station route. The Berryessa extension costs $2 billion for 10 miles, giving $200 million/mi. ZM's proposed extension is about 8 miles, giving a cost of $1.6 billion.

After complaining about continuing to rely on antiquated technologies, he comes up with
Here's another idea for spending that $1.6 billion. Instead of a new BART route, let's build a 100-station Automated Transit Network. At $150,000 per mile (which includes elevated guideway, off-line stations, cabs, and computer control), we could build an ATN that serves the public far better.

More than 10 years ago (when BART cost estimates were half what they are today), a San Jose resident proposed an ATN alternative to the BART burrow. As you can see here -- electric-bikes.com/prt/bart-prt.html -- he outlined 91 miles of ATN guideway with 117 stations in a network covering the Golden Triangle and downtown San Jose. We could design and build a similar system.
That's using he maps at Personal Rapid Transit - Electric-Bikes.com
I estimate the lines' length as (7 east-west lines) * (5 miles) + (6 north-south lines) * (6 miles) = 71 miles, not much different.

Coliseum–Oakland International Airport line - Wikipedia, a.k.a. the Oakland Airport Connector, is a mostly-elevated airport light-rail system, so it could provide a good reference for cost estimates. Its 3.2 route miles cost $484 million to build, or about $150 million/mile, not much less than the Berryessa extension. So Rob Means's estimate is almost absurdly low.
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