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 themallard
A landmark global warming law that Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger is scheduled to sign today commits California to the ambitious goal of cutting greenhouse gas emissions 25 percent by 2020.

How exactly that will be accomplished -- and at what cost -- is unknown. But it's clear that if the state intends to meet its goals, Californians will see many changes over the next 14 years, from higher fuel prices to bigger forests...

...Another big chunk of California's greenhouse gas cuts is expected to come from planning rules and incentives. By tweaking the state's sprawling transportation network and encouraging higher-density housing development near stores and transit corridors, planners say they can reduce auto travel. That, according to the March report, could cut emissions by 27 million tons...
Mercury News

(Not sure if this belongs in the Amtrak, or Commuter rail forum) But what effect do you think this legislation will have on Amtrak, and passenger rail in CA? Is this a start of a trend that might migrate to other states, say NJ. Apparently there is a state "Smart Growth" plan there, but it is not mandatory.

  by David Benton
This got positive news coverage here , and in Europe .
I would like to see electrification of the capitol corridor , possibly the san diegan line , but the asethics might make that a hard sell .

  by gprimr1
Is there anyway to electrify using cantanary but 3rd rail style?

Instead of having the wire above, have it next to the train, but have it be a wire, not an electrified rail?

  by AgentSkelly
I believe not...but 3rd rail power systems over a long distance are super super expensive.

  by ljeppson
Well this initiative likely has a great deal to do with Amtrak in that more state money should be available to add density to Amtrak's CA schedules. If CA is able to reduce its contribution to greenhouse gases significantly through these policies there will be a demonstration affect for other states and parts of the Amtrak system.

  by John_Perkowski
"And make the San Fernando Valley my Home..."
--- The Bingarino!

Folks, I grew up in the San Fernando Valley. Calvert Street Elementary, Parkman Junior High, Taft High (Go Toreadors).

There is ONE railroad line stretching SE-NW across the Valley. Care to name it? Yep, the ex-SP/ex-UP (if I understand ownership correctly) now Caltrain Coast Line. 11/14 travel it now. Back in the day, 75-76 (the Lark) and 98-99 (The Coast Daylight) travelled it.

There is ONE other line, again originating at what once was Taylor Yard. Where does it go? Yeppers, up through San Fernando and Sylmar and out to Saugus, there cutting west to Santa Paula and Ventura, and cutting east through Soledad Canyon to Palmdale and points East.

Now, I grew up along Winnetka Ave, a street that ran from North to South across the West valley floor. From my house in 1971, at the northern foot of the Santa Monica Mountains, to get to the Coast Line, it's 4 miles. From someone who lives at the foot of the Santa Susanna Mountains, to get to the Coast Line, it's two miles.

To solve the problem, you need not only interurban rail, you need intraurban rail feeding from other collection parking lots to the mainline.

When I was a small child, there were still Pacific Electric red cars running. They, and their tracks, are long gone. Heck, even the branch line from Burbank Junction through Canoga Park has been ripped (don't believe, look at Google Earth!).

Oh, yes, this is just the San Fernando Valley. I've not talked about Simi Valley, Ojai, Santa Paula, Ventura, Thousand Oaks, or Camarillo, let alone the central LA basin, the San Gabriel Valley, the San Bernardino Valley, or Orange County!

This is election year hype, and it almost qualifies as tripe.

  by modorney
Is there anyway to electrify using ... 3rd rail style?
Third rail has two limitations. One is speed. I don't know tha absolute upper number, but 100 mph seems to ring a bell. 125 mph on third rail does not seem to work.

The second is grade crossings. Most of the lines that would benefit from electrification have grade crossings, and it is unlikely they would be removed (grade separated) all at once. California isn't Chicago, for political and legal issues, third rail can only be used on a totally isolated system.

About 18,000 people travel between northern and southern California by air, every day. That's a natural route for high speed (or even intermediate speed - 110 mph) rail. Once SFO fills up again, and they start looking at another runway (for a couple billion), then HSR looks attractive again.