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  #61  
Old Posted May 29, 2010, 5:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mwadswor View Post
This is easily the biggest and best news to come for American passenger rail in 50 years. Great job, Caltrain.
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  #62  
Old Posted May 29, 2010, 6:00 PM
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Quote:
Doty said the electric cars passed each safety test laid out by the FRA, which had never tested its assumption that the European cars were less safe.

"In every case, the equipment we wanted to bring in was equal to or better than what's running in the United States today," he said.
I find this quite surprising and at the same time not surprising at all.

This is a huge step forward though. It seems dramatic progress in new service and improved existing service nationwide could come from this. Excellent news! Made my Saturday!
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  #63  
Old Posted Jul 2, 2010, 3:29 PM
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Time to change the map on high speed rail?


06/29/2010

By Thomas D. Elias



Read More: http://www.mercurynews.com/ci_154062...nclick_check=1

Quote:
Here's a question for the California High-Speed Rail Authority: How about cutting out the most expensive parts of your current plan — which also happen to be the most controversial — while leaving its essence intact? That's a question no one on the board making the plans for this putative system has answered, or even been asked. As it now stands, the estimated cost of this project is $43 billion, but state voters have approved "only" $9.95 billion in bonds, while the federal government has committed $2.25 billion. It's anybody's guess where the rest of the money might come from (the project's board hopes for more federal money and plenty of private financing, but has yet to arrange any). Plus, anyone who thinks building a 238-mph rail system stretching from San Diego through Los Angeles to Sacramento and San Francisco will come in at or under budget is probably hallucinating.

That, at least, is implied in a springtime report by state Auditor Elaine M. Howle, who told the governor and the Legislature that "The High-Speed Rail Authority has not adequately planned for the future development of the program & the program risks significant delays without more well-developed plans for obtaining funds." This, of course, didn't keep the authority from hiring a French/South African executive with experience running high-speed systems in Europe as its chief executive at $375,000 per year, plus a housing allowance. The auditor's report, scathing as it was, did not even take up the question of local opposition to the current plan, currently strongest on the Peninsula but rising in the Anaheim-Los Angeles corridor and other metropolitan areas.

So why not do a little reassessing, especially in light of the High-Speed Rail Authority's own report of last winter, which amounted to a bait-and-switch on the voters who approved the state bonds for this project by a 52-48 percent margin two years ago? That report raised the estimated year-2035 fare for the San Francisco-Los Angeles run from the $55 projected in ballot materials two years ago to $105. Nearly doubling the fare would cut the pool of likely riders by about one-third. And yet those eliminated riders, plus taxpayers in parts of the state far from the high-speed trains, are still on the hook for repaying the bonds, if and when they are sold.
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  #64  
Old Posted Jul 2, 2010, 7:57 PM
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A good addition to the discussion. This article addresses the two issues that will kill HSR if not dealt with: cost and local opposition.

The idea to avoid the Peninsula makes a lot of sense: it isn't wanted and isn't needed (Caltrain already has a very good rail service). The idea of coming into East Bay (say, Hayward, which has rail and BART connections) also makes a lot of sense. Not only is East Bay much more populated than SF, but it is well suited for connections to SJ, SF and the Pleasanton-Walnut Creek-Concord corridor, which is large and growing rapidly.

Personally, I would cut out the Central Valley for the first go-round and see how it fills in before building there. But this approach is also interesting.
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  #65  
Old Posted Jul 2, 2010, 10:45 PM
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We've been over this before a hundred times. The East Bay route is not easier (you think they'd really be ok with it coming through their backyard if it were actually being discussed?) and the idea that a route not reaching SF or LA wins a STATEWIDE proposition is laughable. Political feasibility is not a important factor in determining the scope of a project like this, it's THE important factor. Must be a slow day at the Merc.
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  #66  
Old Posted Jul 3, 2010, 12:37 PM
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Here's Robert Cruickshank's discussion of this from the CA HSR Blog.

Why High Speed Rail Should Remain At High Speed

http://www.cahsrblog.com/2010/06/why...at-high-speed/
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  #67  
Old Posted Jul 5, 2010, 2:23 PM
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High-speed rail ridership estimate doubted


July 2, 2010

Michael Cabanatuan

Read More: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/articl...BA051E8DR3.DTL

Quote:
Ridership forecasts used by the California High Speed Rail Authority to help plan the statewide fast train system are unreliable, according to a UC Berkeley study released Thursday. The report, ordered by the state Senate Transportation and Housing Committee but paid for by the High-Speed Rail Authority, found that the statistical process used to calculate ridership projections was seriously flawed and inconsistent.

"The forecast of ridership is unlikely to be very close to the ridership that would actually materialize if the system were built," said Samer Madanat, director of the Institute for Transportation Studies at UC Berkeley. "I can't tell you if the numbers would be over or under, but they would be far from an accurate prediction."

The rail authority, which is charged with building the 800-mile system, including a $43 billion initial line between San Francisco and Anaheim, will discuss the report and the projections at its meeting Thursday in Los Angeles. The report's authors and representatives of Cambridge Systematics, the firm that produced the projections, will participate.

Despite the conclusions of the UC Berkeley study, authority spokesman Jeff Barker stood behind the agency's reliance on the study in planning the system, which is still undergoing mandated environmental studies and selections of precise alignments and station locations.
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  #68  
Old Posted Jul 9, 2010, 7:19 PM
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Atherton resident Meg Whitman not too keen on bullet train (Sacramento Bee)

Another reason not to vote for eMeg.


Atherton resident Meg Whitman not too keen on bullet train


Jul. 9, 2010 - 12:00 am | Page 3A
Sacramento Bee

http://www.sacbee.com/2010/07/09/287...ident-meg.html

Five cities on the San Francisco Peninsula have called for suspending planning for the state's high-speed train project until environmental and economic issues are resolved.

The California High-Speed Rail Authority's proposed route runs from San Francisco to San Jose down the peninsula, where affluent communities have become a hotbed of opposition.

Menlo Park Mayor Richard Cline, chairman of the Peninsula Cities Consortium, has complained that the authority is rushing to complete a route plan and draft environmental impact report so that construction can start by September 2012 in order to qualify the state for $2.25 billion in federal funds.

The consortium's demand follows a report by the University of California's Institute of Transportation Studies that's highly critical of the authority's projections of ridership on the bullet train, which would link Northern and Southern California.

Besides Menlo Park, the consortium includes Palo Alto, Burlingame, Belmont and Atherton.

And what is Atherton resident Meg Whitman's take on the project?

"Meg believes the state cannot afford the costs associated with high-speed rail due to our current fiscal crisis," said the Republican gubernatorial candidate's spokeswoman Sarah Pompei in an e-mailed statement.

– Dan Walters and Micaela Massimino
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  #69  
Old Posted Jul 9, 2010, 10:41 PM
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If we use her logic, wouldn't that mean that this project would NEVER get built?
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  #70  
Old Posted Jul 9, 2010, 11:50 PM
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There's a reason she and Dick Cheney are as thick as thieves.
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  #71  
Old Posted Jul 23, 2010, 4:02 PM
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High-speed train would create equivalent of 50,000 one-year construction jobs -LV Sun

High-speed train would create equivalent of 50,000 one-year construction jobs

Most permanent jobs would be based in Victorville, Calif.



A model of a proposed Las Vegas station is displayed during a news conference for the DesertXpress high-speed rail project Thursday, March 25, 2010.

By Richard N. Velotta
Friday, July 23, 2010

When the DesertXpress high-speed train is built, there would be up to 700 permanent jobs at an operations and maintenance facility — in Victorville, Calif.

Tom Stone, president of DesertXpress Enterprises LLC, told representatives of the Associated General Contractors at a lunch Thursday that building the privately funded, $4 billion traditional high-speed rail system would create 50,000 person-year construction jobs over the four-year design and construction period expected to begin late this year.

Translated, 50,000 person-year jobs is the equivalent of 50,000 people working for a full year. The statistic illustrates the vast number and diverse types of jobs — planners, architects, draftsmen, engineers, construction workers, electricians and other specialists — that will be created over the course of the project.

But the bulk of the permanent operations jobs would be in Victorville, the southern terminus of 185-mile double-track system.

Stone said the decision to build the primary maintenance facility, which would include an operations control center, a train-washing facility, repair shop, parts storage, track storage, meeting rooms and administrative offices, was based on the availability of a 200 acre-plus, narrow piece of land in California....

http://www.lasvegassun.com/news/2010...ent-50000-con/
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  #72  
Old Posted Jul 23, 2010, 4:34 PM
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can someone tell me the top speed and average cruising speed of the proposals?
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  #73  
Old Posted Jul 23, 2010, 4:58 PM
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According to the DesertXpress website, the top speed is 150 mph.

http://www.desertxpress.com/technology.php
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  #74  
Old Posted Jul 23, 2010, 5:11 PM
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^And the CAHSR project (not discussed in the article above, but in the rest of the thread) is a 220mph top speed project. I don't know what the average speed will be.
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  #75  
Old Posted Jul 23, 2010, 5:28 PM
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Top speeds usually mean what it's capable of travelling, they rarely get up to top speed. When you take in gradients, turns and urban areas, tunnels and so on, which all reduce speed even with advanced engineering.

That's why I was asking what average speeds will be.
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  #76  
Old Posted Jul 23, 2010, 5:45 PM
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^Understood. 220mph is the planned operational top speed of the CAHSR system, which it will cruise at in the Central Valley. Once it enters the mountainous areas around the Bay Area and LA area, speeds will be lower. I have no idea what top speed capability will be, because the trains haven't been chosen yet, but with a 220mph operational top speed advertised, I would assume that the trains will be capable of much, much higher in closed environments.
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  #77  
Old Posted Jul 23, 2010, 5:46 PM
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Well this is almost entirely running through desert, so I don't see how they would have too many variables that would drive the average speed down. I'm quite surprised because of this they aren't shooting for CAHSR's goal of 220 mph for the DesertXpress program. Seems like the faster, the better. Am I wrong?
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  #78  
Old Posted Jul 23, 2010, 6:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pricemazda View Post
Top speeds usually mean what it's capable of travelling, they rarely get up to top speed. When you take in gradients, turns and urban areas, tunnels and so on, which all reduce speed even with advanced engineering.

That's why I was asking what average speeds will be.
Probably not too far off the top speed after acceleration/deceleration. The area they're looking at from Victorville to Las Vegas is very flat, has a very straight route, is pretty flat, and is very rural.
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  #79  
Old Posted Jul 23, 2010, 6:09 PM
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Originally Posted by Busy Bee View Post
Well this is almost entirely running through desert, so I don't see how they would have too many variables that would drive the average speed down. I'm quite surprised because of this they aren't shooting for CAHSR's goal of 220 mph for the DesertXpress program. Seems like the faster, the better. Am I wrong?
Agreed. To their credit, I believe they are designing the system to be able to handle 220 mph, but they're saving money by only looking at trainsets capable of 150 mph. Remember that DesertXpress is privately funded at this point and not associated with CAHSR, they have less money to spend.
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  #80  
Old Posted Jul 23, 2010, 6:50 PM
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I really want this project to become a reality. It may not be very beneficial in the next few years, but believe this project will be great success in the future,
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