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 lpetrich
California High Speed Rail - the latest news:

San Jose to Merced Project Section: Environmental Documents - California High Speed Rail - the Final Environmental Impact Statement

I started with Executive Summary for the Final EIR/EIS - PDF Document

They considered four alternatives, each with a selection of possible alignments in the four corridor segments (number is which alternative):
  • Rod Diridon Sta. - Alma Ave.
    • Viaduct to Scott Blvd. -- 1
    • Viaduct to I-800 -- 2, 3
    • Blended, At-Grade -- 4
  • Alma Ave. - (Monterey Ave.) - Bernal Wy.
    • Viaduct -- 1, 3
    • At-Grade -- 2
    • Blended, At-Grade -- 4
  • Bernal Wy. - (Morgan Hill, Gilroy) - Casa de Fruta
    • Embankment to downtown Gilroy -- 2
    • Viaduct to downtown Gilroy -- 1
    • Viaduct to East Gilroy -- 3
    • Blended, At-Grade -- 4
  • Casa de Fruta - (Pacheco Pass - tunnel) - I-5
  • I-5 - (San Joaquin Valley - Henry Miller Rd.) - Carlucci Rd. (Central Valley Wye)
Alternatives 1 and 3 are viaducts as much as possible, 2 is mainly at-grade, and 4 is at-grade and blended.

They decided on the fourth one. That option is much like what they are planning for San Francisco - San Jose -- high-speed trains coexisting with electrified Caltrains -- but extended to Gilroy.
  by lpetrich
The Executive Summary is very detailed, saying that they expect to build road overcrossings and undercrossings every two miles, and also that they expect other roads to be closed.

The authors also addressed "UPRR adjacency". In all of the alternatives, the HSR line will have two tracks in addition to the single UP track that currently exists. The HSR tracks will be separated from the UP tracks wherever those tracks cross each other. This will enable extending electrified Caltrain service to Gilroy. Will Amtrak's Coast Starlight trains be on the UP track or the HSR tracks? Superliner railcars may be too tall for the overhead cables.

"Alternative 4 is designed to maximize use of existing Caltrain and UPRR rights-of-way to reduce additional right-of-way impacts."
Alternative 4 would require the most longitudinal encroachments or acquisition of UPRR right-of-way. From Communications Hill (located in the Monterey Corridor Subsection) to the MOWF south of Gilroy, HSR would install two electrified blended HSR tracks and one non-electrified freight track predominantly within existing UPRR right-of-way. The UPRR Hollister subdivision (located southeast of Gilroy) would be realigned to accommodate the MOWF and associated freight and HSR tracks. Within the UPRR right-of-way (south of Communications Hill) would be 99.8 miles of realignment.
"Alternative 4 would comprise 15.2 miles on viaduct, 30.3 miles at grade, 25.9 miles on embankment, 2.3 miles in trench, and two tunnels totaling 15.0 miles"
  by eolesen
By the time this comes into operation, Coast Starlight will probably be single level Siemens Venture profile equipment and the Superliners will be in museums.

Sent from my SM-G981U using Tapatalk

  by Gilbert B Norman
Likely Mr. Olesen, the Coast Daylight will become a CADOT LAX-SF Townsend St sponsored train. If there is still bi-level equipment in their fleet, an apparently compatible Sightseer Lounge could be included. A (new name) Cascade will be an Oakland-Seattle "overnight". Those simply desiring to "get there" still have the San Joaquin "change at Martinez" available.

Why this logical change could not be made sooner, escapes me.
  by lpetrich
Where I found out about this development:
CHSRA publishes final environmental impact statement for high-speed line - International Railway Journal - "The preferred alignment could cost $US 19bn and would include upgrades for existing infrastructure."

"CHSRA says the preferred alternative will also modernise and electrify the existing rail corridor from San Jose to Gilroy, allowing for both high-speed rail and electrified Caltrain services to South San Jose and Southern Santa Clara County."

Electrification of Caltrain - Wikipedia states that the SF-SJ electrification of Caltrain will have a vertical clearance of 23 ft / 7 m. So Amtrak's rolling stock will fit under the wires, as will California regional rail's rolling stock.
  by BandA
Typically, new construction is built with the largest envelope (double-stack + 25K catenary), since whatever they build today might be around up to 100+ years from now.
  by eolesen
At the current pace, the entire line might still not be finished 100 years from now.
  by R36 Combine Coach
Which is why it is probably better converting an existing line (such as NEC) to high speed.
  by lpetrich
CHSRA Releases Draft 2022 Business Plan - Railway Age - dated February 09, 2022

Environmental clearance is now done between San Jose - Palmdale, and Burbank - LA. SF - SJ should follow by the end of June, Palmdale to Burbank by the beginning of next year, and LA - Anaheim by the end of next year.
This month, the authority will initiate procurements to advance design on the 33-mile extension north from Madera to Merced, the 19-mile extension south from Poplar Avenue to Bakersfield, and the four Central Valley stations (Merced, Fresno, Kings/Tulare and Bakersfield).
The draft plan contains:
  • Deliver “as soon as possible” an electrified, two-track—rather than one-track—initial operating segment connecting Merced, Fresno and Bakersfield (the 171-mile Central Valley Segment).
  • “Invest statewide to advance engineering and design work as every project section is environmentally cleared.”
  • “Leverage new federal and state funds for targeted statewide investments that benefit local service providers and advance high-speed rail in California.”
This initial line will likely need bus service to the Bay Area and LA.

About the third point, that involves running in tracks shared with Caltrain over San Francisco - San Jose - Gilroy, and building grade separations for Burbank - LA. Metrolink's tracks have grade crossings at (NW - SE) Roxford St., Bledsoe St., Polk St., Hubbard St., Maclay Ave., Brand Blvd., Wolfskill St., Paxton St., Van Nuys Blvd., Pierce St., Osborne St., Branford St., Sheldon St., Penrose St., Sunland Blvd., Arvilla Ave., (Burbank Airport), Sonora Ave., Grandview Ave., Flower St., Doran St., Brazil St., Chevy Chase Dr., N Main Street, (LAUS). There are already several grade separations between Burbank Airport and LAUS.
  by Pensyfan19
"Are you sure about that?" (John Cena)

https://www.rtands.com/passenger/calif- ... ail-money/
Democratic lawmakers in California are refusing to pass over $4 billion to fund the state’s high-speed rail project that would connect San Francisco to Los Angeles.

The stalemate could last for some time.

Gov. Gavin Newsom asked the state legislature for the money in early 2021. The funding is part of the 2008 bond measure for high-speed rail, and it continues to be held hostage.

The California High-Speed Rail Authority has $1.5 billion on hand, but needs the $4.2 billion cash infusion to provide stable planning and to make advance purchases of items like trainsets. Officials cannot even agree on the type of train to order. The Authority is being pushed to consider new battery-operated trains, which could reach 170 mph or higher. The plan for the San Francisco-to-Los Angeles route is for trains to reach 220 mph.

Wasn't there a CA city mayor who proposed either the city taking over the HSR project or giving it to a private company like Brightline? If so, I feel either of those options (especially the latter) is the only way to get this project done within the somewhat recent future.
  by scratchyX1
Having SNCF follow their plan to build it, instead of creating an Authority which seems to function as a spigot to WSP, would have been the best idea.
But now, Brightline has a better idea of what they are doing, i suspect making a PPP with them to design and build would work better in the long run. And Hey!, they could even use a off the shelf HSR train, instead of some custom model following a RFP.
Last edited by nomis on Tue May 10, 2022 10:41 am, edited 1 time in total. Reason: removed immediate quote
  by lensovet
How would handing this over to a private company speed up utility relocation and land acquisition projects?

And since when does the legislature have the authority to withhold this money? Apparently their latest request is to scrap electrification and use battery powered trains. What?
  by scratchyX1
lensovet wrote: Wed May 11, 2022 11:14 am How would handing this over to a private company speed up utility relocation and land acquisition projects?

And since when does the legislature have the authority to withhold this money? Apparently their latest request is to scrap electrification and use battery powered trains. What?
It seems that brightline is better at project management than the hsr authority/WSP.
I suspect that there may be some gold plating to satisfy jobs filling requirements, which causes some cost overruns.
(I don't think there are old graveyards to be processed, like in crossrail, or Hawaii)
And didn't I just say that there would be cost savings with getting an off the shelf HSR train from overseas?
Nope, lets use a bleeding edge high speed electric train, which doesn't exist yet.What could possibly go wrong?
  by eolesen
lensovet wrote: Wed May 11, 2022 11:14 am And since when does the legislature have the authority to withhold this money? Apparently their latest request is to scrap electrification and use battery powered trains. What?
Are you seriously questioning their authority?

Civics 101 teaches you that the Legislature has the power of the purse, and halting or reining in an out of control project from spending money is one of those pesky checks and balances that exist for good cause.

Y'all howled when the previous Administration tried to shut off the spigot of Feddybucks, but that was done for the same exact reasons: this project has violated just about every commitment, covenant, deadline, and budgetary estimate made when it was first approved. They're in breach of contract. A responsible group of politicians would have shut this down four years ago.
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