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  #21  
Old Posted Mar 31, 2010, 8:13 PM
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Originally Posted by BTinSF View Post
There's Barstow.
Like I said... there's nothing between LA and LV.

On a less humorous note, I have a hard time seeing there being enough demand for a Barstow stop to justify increasing the time from LA to LV with a stop there.
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  #22  
Old Posted Mar 31, 2010, 8:18 PM
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The 15,000 space parking lot would lead me to believe that the planners/designers see long term potential in the Victorville stop. Perhaps they think people from the IE would rather drive to Victorville than Union Station? Either way, hopefully there will be at least a couple express trains directly from LA to Vegas when that part of the line is completed.
I have no doubt that many trains would stop in Victorville regardless, but there's nothing to say that every train (or even most) would need to stop there. If DesertXpress (or whoever ends up operating a LA-Vegas route) sees more potential money to be made running direct LAUS-Vegas trains, they will, unless there is some political reason that forces them to do otherwise.

As far as the 15,000 space lot (they don't say, but I bet the garage part is a couple thousand at most), I'm sure they have long term hopes of converting that to higher use or selling the land to be developed, when the value of it rises after quick connections to both Vegas and LA are built.
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  #23  
Old Posted Mar 31, 2010, 8:18 PM
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Well, if you leave Union Station most trains will stop in Burbank, Sylmar and Palmdale, but even if you don't stop there you HAVE to stop in Victorville because that's where the (supposed) OC, IE crowd will have driven to. I suppose you could run non-stops from Union Station AND from Victorville but that sounds doubtful unless demand is strong.

LAX is terrible but Burbank is GREAT for LV flights. No lines, no waiting, walk through security; cheap parking; plenty of carry-on space usually. By far the most convenient airport from the Valley, Hollywood, BH and DT.
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  #24  
Old Posted Mar 31, 2010, 8:30 PM
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I would do almost anything to avoid LAX. I don't know if Burbank or John Wayne have flights to LV--that might be better. But I'd still rather take a train.
Lots of flights to Vegas from the two that you mentioned, as well as Long Beach and Ontario.

You may not have experience with it, but the airport to try and miss is the one in Las Vegas, more so than the ones in the LA area, unless you're getting picked up by limo or town car at the airport. The taxi line is often a half hour or more long, the rental car center bus takes forever, and most of the resorts themselves don't offer shuttles.

A LOT depends on how the Vegas stop is planned, where it will be, and what types of transportation are available from there to the resorts. I'm not convinced that this thing will be a success, because so much depends on what they end up doing for a Vegas station.
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  #25  
Old Posted Mar 31, 2010, 8:35 PM
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Well, if you leave Union Station most trains will stop in Burbank, Sylmar and Palmdale, but even if you don't stop there you HAVE to stop in Victorville because that's where the (supposed) OC, IE crowd will have driven to. I suppose you could run non-stops from Union Station AND from Victorville but that sounds doubtful unless demand is strong.
It seems to me that the DX is basically hoping to make the real cash after they can connect to the state-financed CAHSR system. If demand from Victorville isn't that great, and they make the majority of their money from LAUS passengers, why would they need to stop in Burbank, Sylmar, Palmdale, or Victorville? They could easily decide to close the Victorville stop if they wanted to - the investment that they're making is in the ROW from Victorville to Vegas, which will become vastly more valuable after connected to the CAHSR system.

I see no reason at all for them to ever consider stopping in Palmdale or Sylmar or Burbank unless they think that they can make more from doing so or political pressure forces them to.

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LAX is terrible but Burbank is GREAT for LV flights. No lines, no waiting, walk through security; cheap parking; plenty of carry-on space usually. By far the most convenient airport from the Valley, Hollywood, BH and DT.
Agreed on Burbank. Long Beach isn't bad either, if you happen to be down near that airport. SNA is pretty terrible for Vegas flights, the few times that I've done it. LAX is terrible for everything.
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  #26  
Old Posted Mar 31, 2010, 9:21 PM
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A LOT depends on how the Vegas stop is planned, where it will be, and what types of transportation are available from there to the resorts. I'm not convinced that this thing will be a success, because so much depends on what they end up doing for a Vegas station.
Agreed. Ideally, it should be integrated with the LV monorail somehow as that already goes to the strip and most of the major hotels. I haven't seen any concrete information on the LV stop, does anyone know if that info is out there somewhere?
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  #27  
Old Posted Mar 31, 2010, 9:26 PM
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I see no reason at all for them to ever consider stopping in Palmdale or Sylmar or Burbank unless they think that they can make more from doing so or political pressure forces them to.
Don't underestimate the amount of political pressure there may be to have some intermediate stops, especially between Union Station (or hopefully Anaheim) and Palmdale where the trains will be running on CAHSR tracks. Nothing says CAHSR has to let DX trains run on their tracks. I'm sure a deal will be worked out, but I guarantee it won't be cheap... either in direct cash or political pressure to do things like make stops that CAHSR thinks should be made but DX doesn't.
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  #28  
Old Posted Mar 31, 2010, 11:01 PM
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I would do almost anything to avoid LAX. I don't know if Burbank or John Wayne have flights to LV--that might be better. But I'd still rather take a train.
Burbank probably has 30 flights a day to vegas with southwest alone! i always use Burbank for vegas trips. We get to the airport 30 min before the flight and im on the plane with 10 min to spare and a drink in my hand.
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  #29  
Old Posted Mar 31, 2010, 11:29 PM
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Originally Posted by mwadswor View Post
Agreed. Ideally, it should be integrated with the LV monorail somehow as that already goes to the strip and most of the major hotels. I haven't seen any concrete information on the LV stop, does anyone know if that info is out there somewhere?
What should happen is that the monorail should be extended to the airport, and the HSR station should be located near the airport as well. Then everything can be accessible in one place, along with presumably a large taxi area and bus station.

Let's face it, if the DX plan actually comes to fruition, you're looking at thousands of people per day (maybe 10's of thousands), and these people are going to need convenient transfers to The Strip.

Either have it by the airport, or perhaps run it to a station just south of Mandalay Bay, on the very south Strip. These would be good possibilities.

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  #30  
Old Posted Mar 31, 2010, 11:31 PM
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Burbank probably has 30 flights a day to vegas with southwest alone! i always use Burbank for vegas trips. We get to the airport 30 min before the flight and im on the plane with 10 min to spare and a drink in my hand.
And if you don't live near Burbank, it's going to be just as easy to get to Victorville for the DX.

Look, I'm in Simi Valley right now, and I tend to agree with you. Actually, I hardly EVER fly to Vegas, I usually just drive the 5 1/2 hours or so, but flying CAN be very convenient, at least from Burbank. LAX is worthless, though.

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  #31  
Old Posted Apr 1, 2010, 12:25 AM
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Originally Posted by glowrock View Post
What should happen is that the monorail should be extended to the airport, and the HSR station should be located near the airport as well. Then everything can be accessible in one place, along with presumably a large taxi area and bus station.

Let's face it, if the DX plan actually comes to fruition, you're looking at thousands of people per day (maybe 10's of thousands), and these people are going to need convenient transfers to The Strip.

Either have it by the airport, or perhaps run it to a station just south of Mandalay Bay, on the very south Strip. These would be good possibilities.

Aaron (Glowrock)
Yeah, that would work, but as far as I know the monorail to the airport extension is basically dead in the water - the taxi companies have fought it pretty hard. The last agreement that I heard was that the taxi companies would support an extension to the airport as long as the monorail connected to downtown first (I assume because they're thinking that it will never find the money for extension without it going to the airport first - which would be a cash cow for the monorail), so I could see a downtown LV DX station working if that is the case.

I'm more interested in seeing what exactly they're going to use for ROW coming into the valley - the existing railroad ROW? I-15?
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  #32  
Old Posted Apr 1, 2010, 4:32 AM
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The taxi companies need to be gutted of their political influence, they're entirely too powerful right now!

Betcha that's why the monorail was never run right down the middle of the damn Strip! That's where it needed to go, period. In fact, not even a monorail, but a damn subway from downtown to McCarran would be nice! Tons of density, tons of visitors, tons of traffic, and a fairly short (10 mile?) length, it's entirely feasible!

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  #33  
Old Posted Apr 1, 2010, 7:30 AM
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I wonder why they want to use 150 mph, Eurostar-type EMU's, instead of 220 mph ICE/TGV-type EMU's? It seems since the route is on dedicated ROW, being built from scratch, few to no stops along the way and contains large, fairly straight and flat stretches, the 220 mph would have a far higher cost-to-benefit ratio and probably also a superior operation-cost-ratio (as it would cost relatively little extra to build it to 220 mph standards and the faster speed would enhance ridership and boost profits).

They're website mentions the EIS is studying 125 mph DMU's and 150 mph EMU's for this HSR line. It's unlikely an EIS process would have eliminated 220 mph EMU's. Perhaps it did, I would like to see the EIS, so I can see why it has been eliminated, or if it was even considered at all.

It's also interesting, I thought this route was going to go to Disneyland and use 280 mph Mag-Lev trains. I'm assuming this is a completely different business group trying to jump the gun to get this built before that mag-lev plan.

Can anyone find the EIS links? I can't find them posted on their site.
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  #34  
Old Posted Apr 1, 2010, 9:06 AM
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Florida made the same decision to use 150mph technology, in a similar interstate-median alignment.

I suspect there was some safety-based government decision at some point that HSR in an interstate right-of-way should be capped at 150mph.
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  #35  
Old Posted Apr 1, 2010, 4:23 PM
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Originally Posted by glowrock View Post
The taxi companies need to be gutted of their political influence, they're entirely too powerful right now!

Betcha that's why the monorail was never run right down the middle of the damn Strip! That's where it needed to go, period. In fact, not even a monorail, but a damn subway from downtown to McCarran would be nice! Tons of density, tons of visitors, tons of traffic, and a fairly short (10 mile?) length, it's entirely feasible!

Aaron (Glowrock)
Yeah, the Taxi cab companies (and unions!) totally need to lose their influence. They do some underhanded things that really damage this city, like ignoring a passengers request for a destination and dropping them off at a nearby club in return for a bribe.

The monorail should have never been privatized in the first place. They should have also just built from airport to downtown in one fell swoop instead of trying to build it in little segments. mass transit is often a all or nothing thing unless its for a small but critical corridor like Airport to hotel.

I don't think the subway would be feasible at all though. Las Vegas is built on a really thick layer of Caliche, so underground construction is rather limited. Anything that penetrates that layer basically gets flooded really fast. Mandalay Bay casino actually has to be rebuilt in about 30-50 years because they punctured it.
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  #36  
Old Posted Apr 1, 2010, 4:58 PM
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How long does it take to drive between Victorville and Las Vegas?
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  #37  
Old Posted Apr 1, 2010, 5:33 PM
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My main issue here is that LA to LV is not just some rinky-dink connection; it has the potential for being one of the heaviest trafficked and heavily publicized routes in the country. Not only are they large metro areas, they are among the leading tourist centers of the US. A route of this sort warrants the best and fastest technology. People from Asia, Europe, Latin America, and all the US will be riding it and either will be impressed or say it was just another train ride.

But the HSR tracks take rail service in a circuitous path and largely eliminate the likelihood that people in the IE or OC will take it. Moreover I am doubtful about the Valley and Westside since Burbank Airport is so quick and easy. The possibility of multiple stops is also a negative.

Mag-lev or some other technology that could go via the Cajon area seems to be the fastest approach. I would hate to see a rail alternative that doesn't even use the fastest standard technology stand in the way of a truly eye-catching modality. And I'm afraid that even a rinky-dink service, once started, will scare off funding or investors for the best technology.
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  #38  
Old Posted Apr 1, 2010, 5:36 PM
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Originally Posted by ardecila View Post
Florida made the same decision to use 150mph technology, in a similar interstate-median alignment.

I suspect there was some safety-based government decision at some point that HSR in an interstate right-of-way should be capped at 150mph.
I don't think there's any government supported conspiracy. The reason they chose 150 mph maximum speed trains is because they are cheaper to run, therefore easier to turn a profit....

Let's count the ways 150 mph trains are cheaper to run than 220 mph trains.
(1) Less energy consumption, (2) Cheaper trains, and (3) Cheaper track infrastructure, (4) Faster trains don't draw more passengers at a cost effective rate.

Lets look a little closer how 150 mph tracks are cheaper than 220 mph tracks. (a) Ballast missile hazards eliminated at no additional costs, (b) Tolerances are less, (c) Less ties are needed, and (d) grades can be higher because engineer sight lines are shorter.

Let's look a little closer at trainsets. A Siemens Velaro is amongst the choices for a 220 mph train.

On 19 May 2006 Siemens announced an order for eight Velaro RUS high speed trains by Russian Railways including a 30-year service contract. The contract is in total worth €600 million. That means each train costs €75 million over 30 years, not including interest payments. €75 million is equivalent to $102 million today.

A Bombardier Regina EMU is amongst the choices for a 150 mph train.


DesertXpress plans to buy 10 car trainsets, I'm not sure how many trainsets it plans to buy.
SJ is buying 13 Bombardier Regina emu vehicles at a cost of €31 million. That means each 4 car train costs €2.4 million. That's the equivalent of $3.25 million today. Lets increase that 2.5 times for a 10 car trainset, that means a Desert Xpress Regina 10 car trainset should cost around $8 Million. That seems low to me, even Bombardier single level cars built for America cost more. Let's double that number again to $16 million. That still nearly $90 million per trainset cheaper than a Velaro 10 car trainset...

As for travel times - it's 190.5 miles between Las Vegas and Victorville per Yahoo Maps.
At average highway speeds, per Yahoo Maps, it takes 2 hours and 49 minutes to drive that distance.
A train at 220 mph will take 52 minutes.
A train at 150 mph will take 1 hour and 16 minutes.
A train at 110 mph will take 1 hour and 44 minutes.
A train at 90 mph will take 2 hours and 7 minutes.
A train at 80 mph will take 2 hours and 23 minutes.

I don't think they think a time savings of just 24 minutes will increase passenger demand enough to pay the increased costs.....One and a quarter hours is plenty fast when you consider it takes two and three quarter hours to drive.

Last edited by electricron; Apr 1, 2010 at 6:20 PM.
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  #39  
Old Posted Apr 1, 2010, 5:48 PM
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I would fly to LV from LA in any event since a car isn't needed in LV.

But the drive from Victorville is about 2 1/2 hours; traffic can be really ugly getting to Victorville but is usually better beyond there. To take the train, you have to get off the freeway, get to the station and park, buy a ticket, wait for a train, ride and then get the shuttle bus at the other end. There is no time savings.

And again, as opposed to flying, you have a 2 hour drive just to get to Victorville from much of the LA basin.
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  #40  
Old Posted Apr 1, 2010, 5:51 PM
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A route of this sort warrants the best and fastest technology. People from Asia, Europe, Latin America, and all the US will be riding it and either will be impressed or say it was just another train ride.
This isn't being built to impress Europe et. al. and unlike European trains with their massive government subsidies, it has to make economic sense. I don't think an extra 20 or 30 minutes for the ride will matter much. What matters more will be the comfort of the trains, the reliability of the service, the convenience to peoples' ultimate destination (usually on "the strip") and so on.

People here on SSP get carried away with their own grandiose notions of how things ought to be done, throwing practicality and reality to the winds. But the people actually building this thing can't afford to ignore reality and are, I'm sure, going for the best balance between an attractive experience and cost they can manage.

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the drive from Victorville is about 2 1/2 hours; traffic can be really ugly getting to Victorville but is usually better beyond there. To take the train, you have to get off the freeway, get to the station and park, buy a ticket, wait for a train, ride and then get the shuttle bus at the other end. There is no time savings.

And again, as opposed to flying, you have a 2 hour drive just to get to Victorville from much of the LA basin.
Clearly, the project depends on the ultimate ability to use the CHSR tracks to run trains from other areas of SoCal besides Victorville and the article very clearly says that's why they aren't building the Victorville Station as a terminus but simply a station on the route (which may ultimately become less important than downtown LA or some other).
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