Author Topic: Routing, too Many Stops, required 2 hour 40 min trip time: CA HSR Cost Doubled  (Read 5295 times)

FayeforCure

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Detoured routing instead of direct routing:


Bullet train's travel-time mandate adds to ballooning of costs
The ballot measure for the project required that the L.A.-to-San Francisco trip take no more than two hours, 40 minutes. Achieving that would mean building more viaducts and tunnels, which are costly.
 
 
State Sen. Alan Lowenthal (D-Long Beach), a key supporter of the bullet train, says the mandate for a two-hour-and-40-minute trip from L.A. to San Francisco was a mistake. (Robert Gauthier, Los Angeles Times / December 15, 2011)

 
By Ralph Vartabedian and Dan Weikel, Los Angeles Times
 
December 15, 2011
California's proposed bullet train will need to soar over small towns on towering viaducts, split rich farm fields diagonally and burrow for miles under mountains for a simple reason: It has no time to spare.

In the fine print of a 2008 voter-approved measure funding the project was a little-noticed requirement that trains be able to rocket from Union Station in downtown Los Angeles to San Francisco in no more than two hours and 40 minutes.

It was an aggressive goal, requiring cutting-edge technology, and was originally intended to protect the sanctity of the bullet train concept from political compromise. Whether the California High Speed Rail Authority can meet such a schedule is far from certain. Even some backers of the project now say it was a mistake to lock in the strict requirement.

It's hardly an academic issue.

The need for speed is driving a number of environmentally difficult and extremely expensive design choices, contributing to the doubling of the project's cost to $98.5 billion. Pricey tunnels and viaducts would enable the train to run up to 220 mph, faster than most high-speed trains travel in Europe and Asia.

In addition to raising construction outlays, such velocity would increase electricity use sharply, working against another mandate, that the bullet train's revenues cover operating expenses. Costs of the project are expected to come under scrutiny Thursday at a Washington hearing held by the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.

Interviews with experts and a Times examination of the latest business plan for the project's urban and rural areas raise serious questions about whether the timetable can be met.

"I don't see how you can do it," said James Earp, a member of the California Transportation Commission and a union leader who helped orchestrate the 2008 ballot measure approving the project.

Rich Tolmach, director of the California Rail Foundation, which advocates for passenger rail projects, said design compromises to gain political support have added to the time the L.A.-to-San Francisco trip will take, leaving the system unable to meet the mandate.

The travel time limit also has become a legal weapon for opponents of the project. A lawsuit by Kings County and two local homeowners is seeking to halt construction partly by claiming that planners are violating state law because the train will be too slow.

Michael McGinley, a former commuter rail executive who as a private consultant advised the rail authority until last year, said the push to beat the clock is driving up costs beyond reason.

"The infrastructure gets progressively more complex as you move to higher speeds," he said. "It has been designed as an exercise in elegant advanced engineering without consideration of what makes sense as an investment."

The latest plans include major engineering changes. The system will need up to 168 miles of elevated viaducts, more than double the distance planned in 2009. Tunneling will increase more than 60% to 52 miles. The combined cost of viaducts and tunnels, which make up 43% of the system, has risen threefold to $34 billion.

Some state legislative leaders and rail authority officials say the time requirement never should have been put into the law. "It was a mistake," said Sen. Alan Lowenthal (D-Long Beach), a key supporter of the project who has asked increasingly tough questions about the cost.

Authority board member Dan Richard acknowledged that the high speeds are adding to the project's complexity and increasing costs. "Did it have to be that tightly stipulated? Probably not," Richard said. "You should not do engineering by ballot measure."

"If we are off [the time] at all, it is not a matter of that much," he added.

Will Kempton, a former California Department of Transportation director who heads a panel of experts who monitor the project for the authority, said he thinks the two-hour-and-40-minute time limit can be met.

Only nonstop trains between L.A. and San Francisco would make the fastest time. Many trains would stop at the more than half a dozen stations along the route, pushing their travel time well past three hours.

A half-dozen lawmakers who voted to put the project on the ballot said they didn't know the origin of the time limit.

Mehdi Morshed, the longtime chief executive of the rail authority who retired last year after a 30-year career promoting high-speed rail, told The Times it was his doing. "I am the one who insisted on putting the times in," he said.

"If we didn't do that, everything would be compromised and you would have a slow train to nowhere. All the revenue and ridership studies showed that for high-speed rail to be successful and pay for its operating costs, you have to be competitive with airplanes."

Getting a bullet train to run from Los Angeles to San Francisco in less than two hours and 40 minutes wouldn't be difficult if the route were straighter, Tolmach and others said.

Instead of following Interstate 5, the most direct path, the bullet train track would jog northeast to Palmdale, then northwest to Bakersfield and continue north past Fresno before turning toward the Bay Area. The dog leg to Palmdale alone would add as much as 15 minutes, and the authority is now reconsidering that route.

Assemblywoman Cathleen Galgiani (D-Tracy), who wrote the 2008 ballot measure, said she attempted to give the rail authority some flexibility by inserting language requiring only that the system be "designed to achieve" the speeds.

The latest route covers 432 miles. Under that plan, the bullet train would share up to 106 miles of track with local commuter rail lines in Southern California and Northern California, where speeds would top out between 110 and 125 mph.

As a result, time would have to be made up in the middle of the state, requiring an average speed there of more than 190 mph. And that doesn't account for the roughly seven minutes it takes for acceleration and deceleration at each end.

The nonstop trains would have to sail through Lancaster, Bakersfield, Shafter, Fresno, Gilroy and other cities without slowing down.

"We do have some concerns from a noise and safety standpoint, of course," said Jake Sweeny, director of community services in Shafter. Similarly, Bakersfield officials say they are extremely worried about noise if trains operated at top speeds through the 16 miles of track in the city.

Rachel Wall, the rail authority's spokeswoman, said the agency plans to mitigate noise and other problems.

To keep to its schedule in the Central Valley, the authority has proposed some controversial routes that will have adverse effects. In Bakersfield, for example, an effort to route the train farther from historic Bakersfield High School was set aside. Steering away from the campus would have required a sharper curve and reduced speeds of about 150 mph.

Another issue with higher speeds is increased electricity use, one of the biggest operating expenses. Aerodynamic drag rises geometrically as speeds increase, meaning a train going 195 mph uses about 50% more electrical power than a train going 160 mph. Partly for that reason, most of the high-speed rail systems around the world operate at 180 mph or less. At that speed, the California train would fail to meet its required timetable.

Proponents say that is exactly why they wanted the two-hour-and-40 minute limit — to ensure that the state ended up with a true bullet train.

"My goal was to make it a competitive high-speed rail," Morshed said. "If you don't, it is not going to be successful, and you are going to waste a lot of money."

ralph.vartabedian@latimes.com

dan.weikel@latimes.com

http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-bullet-speed-20111215,0,6931986,full.story
« Last Edit: December 17, 2011, 07:07:30 PM by FayeforCure »
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Ocklawaha

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Faye, I don't agree that anything short of 2:40 wouldn't compete. Just as France, Germany, Japan etc have found out, the 160-180mph trains compete quite well with aircraft.

The route through Palmdale, up through Soledad Canyon to Palmdale and hence north to Bakersfield is about the only logical route north from LA. The 'Grapevine' I-5 route is far too steep and tunneling would probably be a project killer.

Ridership numbers generally mean just about NOTHING... They are at best a professional guess and usually fall pretty far from the mark.

I think cutting Bakersfield, Frezburg, etc... out of having stops is another sign of the modern era of what I call 'airplane mentality'. This is true of Amtrak too when in 1971 Congress tossed out a bunch of 'end point cities' and told Amtrak to string them together. When your only worried about getting a train from NY to Tampa, it doesn't matter much if you miss Raleigh, Columbia, Gainesville or Ocala. Yet apparently unknown to Congress, those smaller cities with little or no airline services are exactly the market rail can serve better then airplanes.
Had Congress thrown 200 cities at Amtrak and told them to connect the dots, Amtrak would be much stronger today.

Even FDOT is in on this insane airplane thinking. The Florida Rail Plan today, is likely the only part of HSR that would ever have been built. Even now there is mounting pressure to construct that link from Orlando-Sanford over to somewhere on the coast Daytona-Titusville, under the 'Sun Rail' umbrella. Once this is done, FDOT-Amtrak will abandon Palatka, indeed the entire St. Johns River valley for a more circuitous south from Jacksonville to Tampa via Daytona Beach.

These planners need to work from a string of pearls method and forget just your Jacksonville's, Tampa's, Miami's, LA's and SFO's. Ignoring the stuff in the middle (flyover country) is simply wrong, Amtrak's best numbers come from those smaller cities.

OCKLAWAHA

FayeforCure

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I agree with Mehdi Morshed:

High speed rail needs to compete with airtravel and thus ridership numbers on conventional speed trains are not the basis for HSR ridership numbers.

Even the French experience bears this out:

Quote
Combined with relatively affordable fares, lower travel times have increased ridership on TGV trains in France to about 100 million passengers a year (141,000 a day), more than one and a half times the population of the country as a whole. Though SNCF’s one billion total annual riders is dwarfed by ridership on DB German rail (1.9 billion), France’s encouragement of the construction of new high-speed lines and SNCF policies that push all riders to fast trains, rather than segregating train speeds by the means of individual travelers, have allowed the company to control 50% of the European high-speed market, compared to 22% for DB, 11% for Spain’s Renfe (which has a longer high-speed rail network), and 10% for Italy’s FS.
 
83% of French people have ridden TGV trains, similar to the percentage of Americans who have flown and far higher than the percentage of Americans who have ridden Amtrak, high-speed or not (less than a third of them).
 
From its TGV services, SNCF has made significant profits, which have reached €900 million annually in recent years, much of which has been used to cross-subsidize losses on slower Intercités trains serving smaller cities and TER operations offering regional rail.

http://www.thetransportpolitic.com/2011/09/24/after-30-years-tgv-service-prospers-even-as-its-future-is-questioned/
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civil42806

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Well think this project is pretty well doomed.  Almost 800 million spent on studies and epa clearances not a foot or rail laid or shovel turned.  price has doubled ridership projections declining..  Not inherently against hsr but outside of the NE don't see how the ridership makes sense against cost.  Now before Faye and others start calling me names.  i have no problem against public transport that looses money.  Lord knows I rode the Washington DC metro enough.  I don't ask it to make money but I do ask it to be useful.  to  me there isn't much difference between the cali route and the insane idea of orlando to tampa being a smart idea

FayeforCure

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Well think this project is pretty well doomed.  Almost 800 million spent on studies and epa clearances not a foot or rail laid or shovel turned.  price has doubled ridership projections declining..  Not inherently against hsr but outside of the NE don't see how the ridership makes sense against cost.  Now before Faye and others start calling me names.  i have no problem against public transport that looses money.  Lord knows I rode the Washington DC metro enough.  I don't ask it to make money but I do ask it to be useful.  to  me there isn't much difference between the cali route and the insane idea of orlando to tampa being a smart idea

The cost to NOT build the California High-Speed Rail project has never been zero

Quote
Statewide, over the next two decades, California’s HST System would alleviate the need to spend more than $100 billion1 to build 3,000 miles of new freeway, 5 airport runways, and 90 departure gates to meet the transportation needs of a growing population.

Those are 2004 numbers!

http://playingwithpolitics.wordpress.com/2011/08/26/45-billion-or-100-billion-which-is-cheaper/

Something else to put it into context:



http://www.thetransportpolitic.com/2011/11/03/high-costs-threaten-californias-high-speed-rail-project-but-the-wider-context-must-be-understood/
« Last Edit: December 18, 2011, 07:41:41 PM by FayeforCure »
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civil42806

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Well think this project is pretty well doomed.  Almost 800 million spent on studies and epa clearances not a foot or rail laid or shovel turned.  price has doubled ridership projections declining..  Not inherently against hsr but outside of the NE don't see how the ridership makes sense against cost.  Now before Faye and others start calling me names.  i have no problem against public transport that looses money.  Lord knows I rode the Washington DC metro enough.  I don't ask it to make money but I do ask it to be useful.  to  me there isn't much difference between the cali route and the insane idea of orlando to tampa being a smart idea

The cost to NOT build the California High-Speed Rail project has never been zero

Quote
Statewide, over the next two decades, California’s HST System would alleviate the need to spend more than $100 billion1 to build 3,000 miles of new freeway, 5 airport runways, and 90 departure gates to meet the transportation needs of a growing population.

Those are 2004 numbers!

http://playingwithpolitics.wordpress.com/2011/08/26/45-billion-or-100-billion-which-is-cheaper/

Something else to put it into context:



http://www.thetransportpolitic.com/2011/11/03/high-costs-threaten-californias-high-speed-rail-project-but-the-wider-context-must-be-understood/



Ummm but isn't the first phase of high speed rail scheduled to be completeted in 2033?

Ocklawaha

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America hasn't seen high speed rail since an ICC ruling in 1947. before that railroads such as the Santa Fe, Atlantic Coast Line, Seaboard Air Line, Burlington, Milwaukee Road, Pennsylvania, New York Central and Illinois Central. regularly exceeded 100 mph.

I'll go out on a limb and suggest California will end up with HrSR, following the current routes, with modest modification. 90 mph qualifies as HSR within the FRA and I'd expect to see the speeds approach 100-110 mph.
While they might run some non-stop trains, they'll quickly find out stopping in the intermediate cities, particularly Stockton, Modesto, Fresno, Bakersfield, Palmdale and Santa Clarita. Merced may qualify for a stop as the gateway to Yosemite, where trains are met by tour buses.

You might be interested to know that there is a strong group advocating for reconstruction of the Yosemite Valley Railroad from Merced to El Portal. Doing so will allow the NPS to drastically reduce the number of vehicles on park roadways. http://www.yvrr.org/news.shtml

California's ridership numbers will continue to soar with the HrSR. Ridership will reach perportions that will send the bean counters back to the bank and everyone will question 'how much better we would have done with pure HSR.'

FayeforCure

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I'll go out on a limb and suggest California will end up with HrSR, following the current routes, with modest modification.  90 mph qualifies as HSR within the FRA and I'd expect to see the speeds approach 100-110 mph.

California's ridership numbers will continue to soar with the HrSR. Ridership will reach perportions that will send the bean counters back to the bank and everyone will question 'how much better we would have done with pure HSR.'

Yeah that famous incremental approach. BTW even the Republicans consider more than 125 mph true HSR.

Quote
House Republicans said their transportation bill would focus high-speed rail funds on projects that travel at least 125 miles per hour. California's high-speed rail project apparently fits this standard, with anticipated speeds through the Central Valley up to 220 miles per hour.

Read more here: http://www.modbee.com/2011/07/07/1984335/house-highway-bill-leaves-california.html#storylink=cpy



So you propose that the trains become "inter-city" trains rather than true HSR.

Higher speed rail is considered from 90 mph to 125 mph, which is decidedly too slow to compete with air travel and require different trains instead of the electric multiple units.

Quote
Passenger-rail rolling stock manufacturers offer different products capable of operating at high speeds: locomotives that haul passenger coaches at a faster pace, and electric multiple units, which feature power units within individual passenger cars. Higher-speed trains (as in, those operating between 90 mph and 125 mph) traditionally run with locomotives and passenger coaches, says Vitins.
 
To that end, suppliers such as Bombardier and Siemens are working to develop locomotive platforms for U.S. passenger-rail operators in an effort to standardize products so they can provide more reliable locomotives at lower prices. Bombardier and Siemens officials expect more states and transit agencies will purchase the higher-speed locomotives. With a renewed interest in passenger rail, odds are good that even if a state isn't operating higher-speed service now, it will be before the newest generation of locomotives are retired, they figure.
 

http://www.progressiverailroading.com/mechanical/article/Locomotives-Platforms-to-accommodate-125-mph-operations-in-the-US--26262

I guess falling further behind China, Brazil and Europe is no problem in our current economic decline.

Quote
If there’s a silver lining to high-speed rail’s spectacular failure (in the US), it’s that these trains were outdated years ago. Even if all went according to the Obama administration’s plans, the nation’s rail network would have remained meager and backward by comparison to those in Japan and China. Those countries are already building trains that run via magnetic levitation. Suspended a few inches above a guideway, maglev trains fly through the air at speeds greater than 300 mph, with minimal wear and tear. At this point in their development, maglev tracks are dauntingly expensive to build. But those costs might well come down by the time America is ready to get serious about its transportation infrastructure.

http://www.slate.com/articles/technology/technocracy/2011/12/high_speed_rail_is_dead_in_america_should_we_mourn_it_.2.html

American pride for living in the most advanced nation seems to be wholly out of place, and has been out of place for the past few decades.

The Regressive nature of Republicans when it comes to Public Transportation shines through bright and clear:

Quote
The bill doesn’t have any dollar amounts attached to specific programs but Rep. Bill Shuster said that it doesn’t have anything specifically for high-speed rail. Still, he promised that the plan would improve upon the high-speed rail program, which he accused the Obama administration of “mishandling.”

“We’re going to fix it in this bill,” Shuster said, “requiring that projects are truly high-speed – and the definition of high-speed will not be 110 mph; it will be 125 mph.” He also pledged greater transparency.

They’re cutting Amtrak’s funding by 25 percent and placing limits on what the funding can be used for. For example, Shuster said, it couldn’t be “squandered” on lawsuits like one that Amtrak is involved in now.


http://dc.streetsblog.org/2011/07/08/mica-the-focus-of-the-bill-is-on-the-national-highway-system/

Cutting an already starved Amtrak is their recurrent refrain!
« Last Edit: December 20, 2011, 09:40:29 AM by FayeforCure »
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FayeforCure

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Well think this project is pretty well doomed.  Almost 800 million spent on studies and epa clearances not a foot or rail laid or shovel turned.  price has doubled ridership projections declining..  Not inherently against hsr but outside of the NE don't see how the ridership makes sense against cost.  Now before Faye and others start calling me names.  i have no problem against public transport that looses money.  Lord knows I rode the Washington DC metro enough.  I don't ask it to make money but I do ask it to be useful.  to  me there isn't much difference between the cali route and the insane idea of orlando to tampa being a smart idea

The cost to NOT build the California High-Speed Rail project has never been zero

Quote
Statewide, over the next two decades, California’s HST System would alleviate the need to spend more than $100 billion1 to build 3,000 miles of new freeway, 5 airport runways, and 90 departure gates to meet the transportation needs of a growing population.

Those are 2004 numbers!

http://playingwithpolitics.wordpress.com/2011/08/26/45-billion-or-100-billion-which-is-cheaper/

Something else to put it into context:



http://www.thetransportpolitic.com/2011/11/03/high-costs-threaten-californias-high-speed-rail-project-but-the-wider-context-must-be-understood/



Ummm but isn't the first phase of high speed rail scheduled to be completeted in 2033?

The term phase 1 is deceptive in this context..........since the entire San Francisco- LA track will be operating in 2033, and the other phases are just additional legs:



News - From the November 28, 2011 issueby Stephanie Paige Ogburn


Fourteen countries have high-speed rail networks; in just a few years, 10 more will. Yet America's primary bullet-train attempt is faltering in California, a state that will add 20 million people in the next two decades and needs to find a way to schlep them around. Estimated costs for the California High-Speed Rail Authority's plan recently doubled, and public relations stumbles, combined with a faltering economy and lack of federal support, are hindering the effort.

If California gives up, the U.S. will not only fall behind China, Germany and Japan, but also countries like Italy, Portugal and Turkey, where bullet trains are gathering momentum.
 
1996 The California High-Speed Rail Authority is created. Its goal: Establish intercity high-speed rail service in the state.
 
1999 The Authority releases its first business plan. Costs, in 1999 dollars, are estimated at $25 billion; construction is scheduled to take 16 years.
 
2002 Gov. Gray Davis signs a bill calling for a 2004 vote on a $9.95 billion bond measure to fund the first section of the 800-mile high-speed train system. That vote gets postponed twice, due to California's fiscal worries.
 
2008 The oft-postponed bond measure finally hits voters, and nearly 53 percent approve it.
 
2010 January: California wins $2.5 billion in federal stimulus funds for its high-speed rail project, which it will leverage to $4.5 billion with state matching.
 
2010 The California State Auditor releases a damning report in April, saying the Authority "lacks detail" in its financing plans as well as safeguards to ensure contractors actually complete the work they bill for.
 
2011 In November: the Authority releases the latest version of its business plan, in which costs -- adjusted for inflation -- jump from a 2009 estimate of $43 billion to $98.5 billion by the time the project, which will break ground in 2012, is completed. The U.S. House kills all funding for high-speed rail, quashing California's hopes for additional future federal support; Obama had sought $8 billion. A Sacramento judge nixes a planned Silicon Valley route for the train.
 
2017 Completion date for the initial section, connecting Bakersfield to Fresno.
 
2033 Estimated completion date of Phase One, which will link Los Angeles to San Francisco. Express trip length: 2 hours and 40 minutes. Projected average one-way fare: $81

http://www.hcn.org/issues/43.20/californias-high-speed-rail-is-slow-to-gain-speed
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FayeforCure

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No Two Ways About It: High Speed Rail Will Create Much-Needed Jobs and Makes Sense for California

SACRAMENTO, Calif., Dec. 23, 2011 /PRNewswire-iReach/ -- Jim Earp, Executive Director, California Alliance for Jobs, issued the following statement in response to criticism about how to calculate the number of jobs created by California's high speed rail project. 

"At a time when construction unemployment in California is higher than 20%, building high speed rail will, without question, create much-needed jobs throughout the state.

"In the construction industry, because no construction job is permanent, it is standard to calculate jobs using "job years." It is also unwieldy to use such a technical term and common to simply make reference to "jobs."

"Criticisms about whether the jobs projections for the high speed rail project are inflated, because some references to "jobs" should instead have been expressed as 'job years' have led me to conclude there are too many over-fed, under-worked armchair economists who have nothing better to do than debate statistical theories while real people continue to search for real jobs.

 "I have spoken with too many construction workers who have sat on the out-of-work list for not months, but years, some who have lost their homes and even their families, because of the stress of being unemployed for so long. They would jump at the chance to work for a few months, let alone a year or more on the high speed rail project.

"The high-speed rail project promises to bring a paycheck to literally thousands of out of work construction workers who have lost their jobs in these tough economic times.

"From carpenters to engineers, laborers to truck drivers, warehouse workers to metal workers, electricians to plumbers, and restaurants, retail and lodging, building and supporting a 500+ mile rail system will put people in many vocations to work.

"But high speed rail also means more than jobs. It is about creating a more efficient way to move people and freeing up roadways to improve movement of goods, making California more globally competitive. It's about improving our air quality. And it's about improving the mobility of our growing population in the most cost-effective manner.

"Already, car travel on California's interstate system is increasing five times faster than capacity. To meet the same level of capacity without high speed rail, California would need to add 2,300 miles of new freeway lanes, 115 new airport gates and four new runways at a much higher cost than high speed rail.

"High speed rail makes sense no matter how you look at it."

The California Alliance for Jobs represents more than 2,000 heavy construction companies and 80,000 union construction workers from Kern County to the Oregon border. The Alliance advocates responsible investment in public infrastructure projects to help build a secure future for all Californians.

Media Contact: Hilda Martinez California Alliance for Jobs, 916 446-2259, hmartinez@rebuildca.org

News distributed by PR Newswire iReach: https://ireach.prnewswire.com


SOURCE California Alliance for Jobs


http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/no-two-ways-about-it-high-speed-rail-will-create-much-needed-jobs-and-makes-sense-for-california-136138118.html
« Last Edit: December 23, 2011, 01:23:45 PM by FayeforCure »
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Ocklawaha

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Yeah that famous incremental approach. BTW even the Republicans consider more than 125 mph true HSR.

Quote
So you propose that the trains become "inter-city" trains rather than true HSR.


Quote
Higher speed rail is considered from 90 mph to 125 mph, which is decidedly too slow to compete with air travel and require different trains instead of the electric multiple units.

Actually HSR trains are 'Intercity' trains, the very designation of Europes ICE Train stands for Inter City Express.

Yes, I DO think HrSR makes much more sense right now and here is why:

Without HrSR the national system under Amtrak is in a constant threat of extinction, if any one of the law makers ever succeeds in zeroing the Amtrak budget, well NEVER get our national network back. Nobody wants to fully fund Amtrak to the point where it's trains would have more relevance above its current 6% market share.

I fully suspect I know that the lip service being paid to HSR by the far right (including my friend Mica) is simply because they all realize that at the moment it's a pipe dream. They simply WILL NOT fund Amtrak properly yet people expect them to fund HSR. Sorry but the big bucks behind the stone wall in front of Amtrak, year in and out is coming from the highway lobby and to a lesser extent the airline lobby. I wouldn't be surprised to hear the 'Tea Party', suggest we build a 400 mph train network.... a safe request as they KNOW it will NEVER happen.

Your premise that anything less then the 186 mph +/- cannot compete with airlines is incorrect. Amtrak launched the Acela which only averages 75 mph, and reaches its top design speed of 150 in a few short segments of track. Nevertheless Amtrak which nationally only has 6% of the market controls 61% of the Washington - New York, and 37% on it's much slower New York - Boston route segment.  Almost all of this business has been taken from the airlines. It would be much more difficult for the wacko right to try and kill true high speed rail on select corridors if a HrSR system suddenly up and stole away with 60+% of the California, Midwest, Southeast, NEC or Florida markets.

The particulars are 456 miles for the NEC, and 483 miles for the LA-OAKLAND HrSR route, Washington DC is at mile 231 on the NEC, while Fresno is at mile 206 on the California Corridor, making the two routes very similar.

Lastly as I truly believe we are rapidly running out of energy resources it should be noted that Trains, like cars and aircraft are bound by the same laws of physics and when you double the speed to 160 mph+, air drag and energy use increase exponentially. It is doubtful true high-speed rail energy efficiency comes anywhere near that of conventional passenger rail.

OCKLAWAHA
« Last Edit: March 07, 2019, 07:23:36 PM by Ocklawaha »

buckethead

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I've heard it said that EROI is the most important factor for living organisms. Works in other areas as well.

Ocklawaha

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While I am a supporter of so-called true HSR, I am also a realist and a good part of the entire nations HSR plans are more fantasy then reality. Creating a straw man argument over American construction employment is pretty weak. Granted there would be many thousands employed building true HSR, but there would be EVEN MORE of these construction jobs if we'd quit trying to put all of our dollars into 2 or 3 short corridors and dedicated our monies to build the supporting mass transit infrastructure first. Streetcar, bus, HrSR, BRT, and Amtrak could be doubled or tripled for the amounts of monies we are talking about.

Imagine the impact if FDOT was suddenly flush with funding and a mandate to expand rail services throughout the state.

As for the job catastrophe painted by the HSR equipment lobby, and the idea that we are being buried on an international scale, when one considers The United States is by far the largest rail equipment market in the world. This is thanks to the nation's highly developed freight rail system. In the 1950s, the percentage of U.S. and European freight moved by rail was about equal (approximately 58 percent). By 2000, the share of U.S. freight transported by rail was 38 percent, while in Europe it was only 8 percent (Vassallo & Fagan, 2005). As of 2002, the
Americas accounted for roughly one-third of the world’s diesel locomotives and freight wagons (U.S.
PIRG Education Fund, 2010).

Granted we lag behind on passenger rail of all types, but if the steps mentioned in the first paragraph were followed we would surge to the top once again.

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Californians to Watch: Roelof van Ark builds toward high-speed rail start

 By David Siders dsiders@sacbee.com By David Siders
Published: Wednesday, Dec. 28, 2011 - 12:00 am | Page 3A Last Modified: Wednesday, Dec. 28, 2011 - 1:41 am

"For many Californians, it will be a hard sell. Voters who authorized the project in 2008 now oppose it by a wide margin, according to a recent Field Poll.Van Ark thinks many Californians just don't understand its significance."You've got to teach them what high-speed rail is really about," he said. "Yes, Americans are not that rail friendly. But you know what? Everywhere we in the United States have put rail systems in place – light-rail systems, the metro systems and everything – the ridership has been growing fast."He said, "For the future of my children, my grandchildren, our children, our grandchildren, we must see that we can get the state transportation infrastructure into the 21st century."

Read more here: http://www.sacbee.com/2011/12/28/4148361/californians-to-watch-roelof-van.html#storylink=cpy

He is right, but getting 'the state transportation infrastructure into the 21st century would involve most of the larger communities in the state, be it California or Florida. Mass transit INFRASTRUCTURE is woefully lacking across the United States.

This brings us to his first premise, ."You've got to teach them what high-speed rail is really about." Throughout the country from North Platte to North Miami people have lost the idea of what RAIL is really about. Skipping ahead of this common behavior and thinking HSR is a magic pill that will suddenly awaken the hidden rail rider in the public will be the downfall of HSR. Certainly it would be fun and convenient to hop the high speed between major cities, but if you can't easily get beyond the end point station, you are going nowhere but to the nearest automobile.

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« Last Edit: December 28, 2011, 09:22:13 AM by Ocklawaha »
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civil42806

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In case anyone here cares about HSR, that seems so 2010 now, here is the latest on californias boondoggle.  But I am sure many many consultants are making a fortune

http://www.latimes.com/local/california/la-me-bullet-train-cost-increase-20180309-story.html