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

  by icgsteve
 
Cal HSR should be built, but California has never used realistic numbers for either the cost nor the benefit, and they don't have any way to pay the real price-tag. However, approving another $10 billion in debt for an ill conceived project is not beyond the reach of California citizen foolishness, they who time after time want everything but who will not pay for it. I assume that the state leaders want to start building, expecting to get something finished by begging uncle sam to bail them out half way through the build. Letting this go to the voters is a failure of responsible leadership in Sacramento. That this goes with out comment from Washington shows a lack of responsibility in Washington.
  by lensovet
 
David Benton wrote:back to the califionia HSR ,anyone know why they go via palmdale and techapachi out of la , rather than following I5 directly over to Bakersfield area ???
because I5 doesn't go through a tunnel and because there's no space around it. the 5 is not level enough and the grade is simply too steep for a railroad, especially a high-speed one.
  by David Benton
 
thanks for that . grades arent a problem with high speed rail , they can go up quite steep gradients without slowing down .
space and curvature would be though .
  by lensovet
 
David Benton wrote:thanks for that . grades arent a problem with high speed rail , they can go up quite steep gradients without slowing down .
space and curvature would be though .
are you sure about that? we're talking about climbing from 1600' (~450 m) to 4000' (~1220 m) in the span of about 12 miles (~19 km). This works out to a grade of over 4%. afaik the highest grade on a high-speed line is exactly 4.0% on the Cologne-Frankfurt ICE, but that's an exception.

curvature would be a problem as well. also don't forget that grades are a two-way street and you need to make sure that you can brake effectively in case of emergency as well.
  by george matthews
 
lensovet wrote:
David Benton wrote:back to the califionia HSR ,anyone know why they go via palmdale and techapachi out of la , rather than following I5 directly over to Bakersfield area ???
because I5 doesn't go through a tunnel and because there's no space around it. the 5 is not level enough and the grade is simply too steep for a railroad, especially a high-speed one.
French high speed lines and German neubaustrecke tackle some amazing slopes. However, those trains are lightweight. And if there are curves, maybe tilt is the answer.
Last edited by george matthews on Tue Oct 14, 2008 6:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.
  by David Benton
 
i presumed a tunnel would be used at the top of the pass to reduce the height needed to be climbed . but i gues since they havent chosen that route its not possible .
  by Chessie GM50
 
I'd assume that this won't pass. Anyone who knows anything about SPRINTER knows that sometimes rail ridership estimates, and construction costs can be very incorrect.
  by george matthews
 
Chessie GM50 wrote:I'd assume that this won't pass. Anyone who knows anything about SPRINTER knows that sometimes rail ridership estimates, and construction costs can be very incorrect.
Yes. In my experience forecasts of passenger numbers are usually exceeded once the thing is built and running.
  by lensovet
 
Chessie GM50 wrote:I'd assume that this won't pass. Anyone who knows anything about SPRINTER knows that sometimes rail ridership estimates, and construction costs can be very incorrect.
one also knows that the vast majority of bond measures in the state of California pass...
  by lpetrich
 
I wouldn't be surprised if it passes. According to the Ballotpedia article on this proposition, there was a Field poll in July on its predecessor with results

In Favor: 56 percent
Opposed: 30 percent
Undecided: 14 percent

Checking on the project's official site reveals some absolutely magnificent hype, with 3D-model-animation simulations of the trains in various places, alongside various local and regional passenger trains, and also freight trains. Those other trains, especially the freight trains, are shown as being on separate tracks.

The site also has a Google-Map version of the routing, showing the various sorts of construction that are planned. That construction will include several tunnels in the more mountainous areas, like the Tehachapi area and the Pacheco Pass area. However, much of the trackage in urban areas will be elevated.

From Los Angeles, the planned line will split in two, one southeast to Anaheim and Irvine in Orange County, and one east to Pomona, Ontario, and Riverside in the Inland Empire, and then south to Escondido San Diego.

The line to Sacramento will go north along the east side of that city, then turn westward to that city's station.

Over in a Facebook group of CA HSR supporters, some people have speculated about additional routes. I will now assess them.

Palmdale to Las Vegas (250 mi): should not be very difficult. One can go to Victorville, and then along I-15, the existing Union Pacific line, or the proposed DesertXPress line. It may be necessary to have a Victorville - Riverside bus connection until a tunnel can be built through the mountains in between.

Riverside to Phoenix (320 mi): also should not be very difficult. One can go to Palm Springs / Indio, and then along I-10 for most of the way. The line could then be extended to Tucson, a further 120 mi in close to flat terrain.

Sacramento to Reno (132 mi): will be very difficult, because of the Sierra Nevada mountains in between.

Sacramento to Chico and Redding (160 mi): should not be very difficult, but those towns are not very populous.

Redding to Eugene (320 mi): will be very difficult, because of the southern Cascade mountains. It will also be difficult to justify, because of the low population density.


The map also shows the Altamont route as a possibility, though I think that the reaction to it in Livermore will likely be something like:

MOTHERS LOOK OUT FOR YOUR CHILDREN!

ARTISANS, MECHANICS, CITIZENS!

When you live your family in health, must you be hurried home to mourn a

DREADFUL CASUALITY!

LIVERMOREANS, your RIGHTS are being invaded! regardless of your interests, or the LIVES OF YOUR LITTLE ONES, THE CALIFORNIA HIGH SPEED RAIL AUTHORITY, with the assistance of other companies without a Charter, and in VIOLATION OF LAW, as decreed by your Courts, are laying a

LOCOMOTIVE RAIL ROAD!

Through your most Beautiful Streets, to the RUIN of your TRADE, annihilation of your RIGHTS, and regardless of your PROSPERITY and COMFORT. Will you permit this? or do you consent to be a

SUBURB OF LOS ANGELES!!

Rails are now being laid on STANLEY BOULEVARD to CONNECT the EAST BAY LINE with the CENTRAL VALLEY LINE under the pretence of constructing a City Passenger Railway from Fremont to Stockton!!! This is done under the auspices of the CALIFORNIA HIGH SPEED RAIL AUTHORITY MONOPOLY!

RALLY PEOPLE in the Majesty of your Strength and forbid THIS

OUTRAGE!

(from a famous 1839 NIMBY poster, rewritten appropriately)
  by neroden
 
back to the califionia HSR ,anyone know why they go via palmdale and techapachi out of la , rather than following I5 directly over to Bakersfield area ???
Having read the documents, the actual final reason was earthquakes.

The "Grapevine" route taken by I-5 is very narrow, but that wasn't the issue per se, though it was part of it. They would have to build a tunnel into the Central Valley on either route (Tehachapi or Grapevine) in order to avoid unacceptable grades and curves (you can theoretically get a surface route with acceptable grades, but the curves are too sharp, and vice versa). Both tunnels would go through fault zones. However, the Tehachapi route was significantly easier to "fault-proof" than the Grapevine route, thanks to the geology of the areas. It was not clear that a Grapevine tunnel could be made earthquake-safe, period; it wasn't even clear that it could be built. It was clear that it would be a lot more expensive. And not much faster, oddly enough.
  by lensovet
 
neroden, thanks for the info – certainly makes sense. though, it is worth noting that apparently the travel time would have been the same, while the cost through grapevine greater, so perhaps even without the earthquake issue the current routing would have still prevailed...
  by lpetrich
 
The CHSRA has released a business plan; you can find it in the [url=p://www.cahighspeedrail.ca.gov/library/Default.aspx]library[/url].

It seems rather sketchy; it scrimps on such important detail as which parts to build if it isn't possible to get funding for the entire initial system.

But there are oodles of other documents there; one can find out from them which other routes were considered and so forth.
  by lpetrich
 
Update: The official press release for the business plan states
The full Business Plan and can be viewed on the Authority's Web site at
http://www.cahighspeedrail.ca.gov/. Due to the large size of the source documentation, it will not be
available for viewing until next week.
Meaning that full documentation behind that business plan will be published at CHSRA's site before long.

I think that the CHSRA ought to decide which parts to build first, so as to have something to show off to those who voted for it. The CHSRA may already have done so, as described in the aforementioned source documents, but I will speculate on the possibilities.

The right-of-way can be divided into three categories:
  1. Rural and flat: technically and politically easy
  2. Rural and mountainous: technically difficult but politically easy
  3. Urban and suburban: politically difficult, and sometimes technically difficult
In category 1 is most of the Central Valley and Antelope Valley right-of-way.

In category 2 is Pacheco Pass, Tehachapi Pass, and likely also Soledad Canyon (Sylmar - Palmdale).

In category 3 is Gilroy - San Jose - San Francisco, Sylmar - Los Angeles - Anaheim/Irvine, and Central Valley urban areas.

A line that's mostly category 1 with a little bit of category 3 would be a pure Central Valley line:
Bakersfield - Fresno (LA-SF system)
Bakersfield - Sacramento (full system)

Including all the category 2 construction for the LA-SF line would give
Sylmar - Gilroy

Including some category 3 construction would add a little to each end, making
Burbank - San Jose


Even a maximum length of category-1 line would leave the Bay Area and Southern California rather seriously shortchanged. Bakersfield - Stockton would be very fast:
CAHSR: 1h 11m, San Joaquin: 4h 15m, drive: 3h 40m

But the connections at each end would be slow:
SF - Stockton: San Joaquin + bus: 2h 20m, drive: 1h 30m
LA - Bakersfield: bus: 2h 40m, drive: 1h 50m (I-5), 2h 20m (CAHSR route)


I'll skip Sylmar - Gilroy and consider Burbank - San Jose:
CAHSR: 2h 17m, Coast Starlight: 10h 30m, drive: 4h 35m (I-5), 6h 10m (CAHSR route)

Los Angeles - Burbank: CAHSR: 8m, Metrolink: 15m
San Francisco - San Jose: CAHSR: 30m, Caltrain "Baby Bullet" express: 1h

The whole Los Angeles - San Francisco trip:
CAHSR: 2h 38m, San Joaquin + buses: 9h 30m, Coast Starlight + bus: 12h, drive: 5h 50m (I-5), 7h 15m (CAHSR route)


So while this kind of partial build of the system is not much problem for Los Angeles, it is a still a big problem for the Bay Area -- a lot of travelers from LA may get snarky about how it takes nearly as long to go from SJ to SF as it does from LA to SJ.

Turning to the SF-SJ right of way, I think that it would be easiest to build from SJ to San Francisco Airport (SFO), because the downtown-SF station will require a lot of tunneling. Furthermore, that place is accessible not only by Caltrain, but also by BART, making for quick access to the East Bay.


One can imagine several other partial-build possibilities:
LA - Bakersfield
Bakersfield - San Jose
etc.
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 6
  • 49