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 David Benton
 
It also makes sense to close that L.A - Bakersfield gap . And the Central valley would benefit more from that , than more rail in the central Valley , as far as order of completion goes.
  by electricron
 
This is what happens when you start building something you do not have all the money needed to build it secured. Single tracking is not the only insult CHSR is giving everyone. They are required by law to turn an operating profit. So, along with single tracking, and needing an additional $500 million to complete the initial operating segment, they now want the regional agency subsidizing Amtrak California in the valley to lease used HSR trains temporarily to get out from under that legal requirement. They also want an extension from the FRA to spend their federal grants, which was authorized as part of the 2008-2009 stimulus bill with a hard 10 year deadline set in the bill. Nobody else got an extension from the FRA, but CHSR thinks they should because they are so incompetent to spend it all within the 10 years deadline.
Maybe, with the money they had secured, they should have built a shorter initial operating segment, like just between Fresno and Bakersfield - or two shorter operating segments, like San Jose to San Francisco up north, and Los Angeles to Anaheim down south?
The Governor and the Legislature needs to fire those on the board and hire new board members, presto. This project has been over promising and under delivering since day 1. So sad! :(
  by GojiMet86
 
Found a counterpoint; the CAHSR will indeed have 2 tracks, not one:

https://cal.streetsblog.org/2021/02/11/ ... let-train/

A quote taken from the blog post:

Against that reality, the Los Angeles Times’s now-freelance reporter on the HSR beat, Ralph Vartabedian, continues to frame the project as basically D.O.A., writing Wednesday that the construction authority will build “…a single track in [the] Central Valley” rather than the planned two tracks on the Bakersfield-to-Merced route.

That statement isn’t just out of sync with recent news: it’s patently false.

“We absolutely intend to build two tracks,” said Boris Lipkin, a director on the project.

As with most of Vartabedian’s anti-rail propaganda, the one-track claim parallels a shard of truth–just enough to make it seem plausible to the uninitiated. On page 44 of the recently released business plan, it says that as part of its bidding process the authority wants contractors to look at completing one of the two planned parallel tracks before the other, so they can run some trains before both are finished.

Here is the core of the actual statement in its original bureaucratese:

Key to this proof-of-concept and initial operations are passing tracks for trains operating interim service. In addition, track elements necessary for ultimate expanded dual track operation would be constructed, thus minimizing future service interruptions and costs. This will allow the Authority to phase track implementation throughout the Central Valley in a way that meets cash flow and funding availability.

As seen in the photos below and above, everything the authority is building is more than wide enough for two tracks. Furthermore, the new business plan was written before the outcome of the 2020 election was determined in the Senate. So it was just sensible to explore all possible contingencies to get some trains running as soon as possible–and some ticket revenue flowing–if anti-rail Republicans held onto power. “It’s not the ultimate vision, we will certainly need two tracks,” said Lipkin.
  by electricron
 
GojiMet86 wrote: Tue Feb 16, 2021 8:51 pm Here is the core of the actual statement in its original bureaucratese:
Key to this proof-of-concept and initial operations are passing tracks for trains operating interim service. In addition, track elements necessary for ultimate expanded dual track operation would be constructed, thus minimizing future service interruptions and costs. This will allow the Authority to phase track implementation throughout the Central Valley in a way that meets cash flow and funding availability.
“It’s not the ultimate vision, we will certainly need two tracks,” said Lipkin.
A. Passing tracks are not needed on a double track line.
B. Track elements necessary for ultimate expanded dual track operations would not be needed on a double track line.
C. Minimizing future service interruptions installing the second track would not be needed if built initially for dual tracks.

Everything in points A, B, &C suggest an initial single track operations. So the newsman was correct. The one not telling the truth was the spokesperson for the CHSR Authority - in their own words.

Initial operations and ultimate operations are two different things! The newsman was talking about initial operations, the CHSR spokesperson was sweeping initial operations under a rug and talking about ultimate operations if and when additional grants and funding was found.

Additionally, leased used HSR trainsets running at 40 mph lower maximum speeds would not be needed if the dual tracks were built initially. They could just go and buy or lease new train sets that could operate at the maximum track design speed.
  by lensovet
 
A two track line doesn’t mean two isolated tracks with no signaling. You need crossovers for redundancy and emergency usage. Those crossovers just start out life as passing sidings.

Also the original article as I read it implied that the only two track segments would be at stations. That appears to be false, as passing sidings would be installed.

Finally, no plan has even been committed to. The authority simply asked contractors to include two options in their bids.
  by John_Perkowski
 
GojiMet86 wrote: Tue Feb 16, 2021 8:51 pm
https://cal.streetsblog.org/2021/02/11/ ... let-train/

A quote taken from the blog post:

“We absolutely intend to build two tracks,” said Boris Lipkin, a director on the project.
<cynical>Such a definitive word, INTEND.</cynical>
  by electricron
 
lensovet wrote: Fri Feb 19, 2021 3:48 am Finally, no plan has even been committed to. The authority simply asked contractors to include two options in their bids.
Asking and looking at options in their bids is the first act of "value" engineering, delivering less than promised. If they fully "intend" to build a double track mainline for initial operations, they would not be asking and looking at single track options.
  by extraordinaire
 
What service pattern are they planning on running?

You should be able to manage a half hourly service on a single track that you have exclusive use of. If you have passing tracks in the right places. Which feels more than ample for this initial section that misses out the biggest population centres.
  by lensovet
 
I’m not really clear on what reforms you’re looking for? It appears that they have attempted to buy out property owners and failed. Most of the remaining property has to be condemned, but that is a slow process that is on hold even further due to the pandemic. Unless the reforms you’re looking for are “get property owners to like high speed rail and quickly sell their property at reasonable prices”, I’m not sure what you’re expecting.
  by kitchin
 
Good point. Aside from assigning or hiring more judges, which would look fishy, it's going to take a while.

As for reform, I don't dismiss out of hand the contractor's complaints that they're not getting good direction from the state, which is driving up costs. By reform I mean instilling confidence that costs will not get out of control.
  by lensovet
 
Right, but my point is that I don't know how much better the state can really do. It's not like the agency has any control over how quickly the pandemic is going to be over, when courts won't be backlogged anymore, or if property owners will decide to give up and settle.
  by gokeefe
 
Not from what I've been reading.

Sent from my Pixel 2 XL using Tapatalk

  by NH2060
 
If they really wanted to cut costs they would ditch the electrification for the time being. Wouldn't make it a "European-style high speed rail" ROW and would be far from flashy, but it would still be a mostly dedicated route mostly free of other rail traffic interference that could still be competitive with driving and flying if Siemens built more Brightline/VIA Rail-like trainsets that could run at 125mph sustained speeds. If ridership and service frequency warrants electrification that can come later.

I don't know if anyone else shares the same view, but an electrified HSR from Fresno to Merced on its own is just a waste of time and money. L.A. and San Francisco need to be a part of the equation for it to begin to work.
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