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View Poll Results: Should the US build or improve it's HSR network?
Yes 249 89.57%
No 29 10.43%
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Old March 30th, 2011, 07:17 PM   #2401
sekelsenmat
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Valley rail line could expand to Merced, Bakersfield

Money from Florida could put Merced and Bakersfield on track to be included in construction of California's first section of high-speed rail.

The California High-Speed Rail Authority, at a meeting today in Sacramento, is expected to apply to the Federal Railroad Administration for some of the $2.4 billion spurned last month by Florida's Republican governor, Rick Scott.

Officials from Merced and Bakersfield complained long and loud about being left off the initial construction route when it was unveiled in late 2010. A successful application for more federal money could go a long way to soothe that disappointment and anxiety.

In a national competition for the funds, it's far from certain whether California's application will prevail. But just half of the Florida money -- combined with $540 million in state funds from Prop. 1A approved by voters in 2008 -- "could allow the Authority to complete the entire backbone of this statewide system from Merced to Bakersfield," said Rachel Wall, the authority's press secretary.

The current plans call for starting construction late next year on a 120-mile stretch of tracks from north of Fresno to the northeast fringe of Bakersfield, with a station in downtown Fresno. Extra money from Florida would extend that section by about 60 miles and add stations in downtown Merced and downtown Bakersfield.

"We're extremely pleased with this recommendation," said Lee Boese Jr., co-chairman of the Greater Merced High-Speed Rail Committee. "We're almost frantic here because our unemployment is climbing. We need jobs."

"This is the tonic that the Obama administration has been promising," Boese added.

Merced Mayor Bill Spriggs said bringing the line into his city is a matter of providing a gateway to the entire North Valley.

"Our contention has always been that it really cuts out access to a significant number of potential riders" for tracks to fall short of Merced, Spriggs said.

California's application includes additional options if even more money is awarded: to either begin building a connecting line from the Chowchilla area west toward Pacheco Pass and San Jose, or building southeast from Bakersfield toward the Tehachapi Mountains and Palmdale.

If the authority board approves the application today, the question becomes: Will California get the money?

California is just one of several states competing for Florida's spoils. Its ultimate plans call for linking San Francisco, Los Angeles and other major urban centers with trains capable of hauling passengers at up to 220 mph on dedicated tracks that won't be shared with freight trains or slower passenger trains.

"What California has going for it is that it's the nation's only dedicated high-speed rail project that is under way," said Petra Todorovich, director of America 2050, a project of the New York-based Regional Plan Association.

"It's seen by the federal government as a demonstration project, and that's why the [Obama] administration is eager to support its progress."

The Florida money -- a combination of federal stimulus funds and railroad grants -- originally was intended to build a high-speed train system between Tampa and Orlando.

After Scott killed that project, however, "the Obama administration lost its signature demonstration project," Todorovich said. "So now the pressure moves to California to have something to show, to complete segments of its project."

But, she added, other parts of the country may also be able to make a case for the Florida money, including the Northeast Corridor connecting Boston, New York and Washington, D.C.

"The Northeast is the busiest passenger rail corridor in the country," said Todorovich. "Given that the Northeast has not received a sizable chunk of funding yet, and some criticism in Congress over that, we may see some of this money go there instead."

California already has received more federal money than any other state for high-speed rail.

Nearly $3 billion in stimulus money has been committed to begin construction in the Valley. When state Prop. 1A bond funds are added in, the state has about $5.5 billion available to build the first segment.


Link: http://www.fresnobee.com/2011/03/29/...ld-expand.html
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Old March 30th, 2011, 07:20 PM   #2402
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The previous news item that I posted was somewhat confusing. This one explains better how things are developing and the plan is not building Sacramento-Backersfield first. It is only Merced-Backersfield. I supposed they would next go to Sacramento because Merced is more to the north then the exit to San Francisco, so logically it would make no sense to build Merced first if you really want to connect LA to SF first. Anyway, it's not really clear which segment will be built next.
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Old March 31st, 2011, 10:03 PM   #2403
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They are building what is easiest and cheapest, and the Central Valley is easiest and cheapest. But eventually--and I think that means next--they will have to explain how and when the Bay Area and the SoCal megalopolis are going to be linked up or else the political support from those areas will fade. The most politically and legally difficult stretch to build is probably San Jose to SF and through Orange County. The most expensive is probably across the mountains from the Central Valley into the LA basin. Therefore, to me it makes the most sense to hook up San Jose with the Merced-Bakersfield segment via Pacheco Pass. That is also consistent with the previously announced plan to build the SF to LA line first (before tying in Sacramento and San Diego).
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Old March 31st, 2011, 11:44 PM   #2404
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I found cost estimates here:



http://www.calhsr.com/wp-content/upl...mates-v1-2.pdf
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Old April 1st, 2011, 12:32 AM   #2405
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Originally Posted by sekelsenmat View Post
These cost estimates are by an organization that has NIMBY tendancies. The link they provided to the source for how they got their capital costs did not provide how they came up with the figures and unit costs etc.
If the Central Valley plan is amended to reduce the amount of ariel structures, that should significantly reduce the cost and bring the Central Valley segment to around $7 billion. If they are designing the structures for Amtrak standards, then the cost will be high, but if it designed for mostly at grade and for light weight HS trains, then the cost should be kept under control.
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Old April 1st, 2011, 04:50 AM   #2406
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High Speed Commuter Rail vs Fanner

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Old April 1st, 2011, 07:40 AM   #2407
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Originally Posted by Cal_Escapee View Post
They are building what is easiest and cheapest, and the Central Valley is easiest and cheapest. But eventually--and I think that means next--they will have to explain how and when the Bay Area and the SoCal megalopolis are going to be linked up or else the political support from those areas will fade. The most politically and legally difficult stretch to build is probably San Jose to SF and through Orange County. The most expensive is probably across the mountains from the Central Valley into the LA basin. Therefore, to me it makes the most sense to hook up San Jose with the Merced-Bakersfield segment via Pacheco Pass. That is also consistent with the previously announced plan to build the SF to LA line first (before tying in Sacramento and San Diego).
Afaik, the original plan was not to go all the way to Merced initially, instead just building the SF-LA route, which goes east into the pass a couple of miles before that. However Merced went on the barricades against that, I believe not that much because they want the trains to stop there, but more because they want the heavy maintenance facility, and if they'd have to wait until the Sacramento link gets build to get connected to the HSR network, it wouldn't be feasable to build that thing in Merced. The HSR guys didn't really fight that and just included them.
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Old April 1st, 2011, 05:48 PM   #2408
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Originally Posted by Nexis View Post
High Speed Commuter Rail vs Fanner

How fast do you reckon it was going? At those speeds, with tall double decker coaches, low narrow platforms and no barriers, I'm pretty sure the vacuum effect must be really strong for people standing on the side. Do you know if there have been many accidents on the NEC where people have unfortunately fell onto the platform?

I infer that the stations are the a major limiting factor to increasing speeds on the NEC. Am I right?
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Old April 1st, 2011, 07:04 PM   #2409
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Originally Posted by stingstingsting View Post
How fast do you reckon it was going? At those speeds, with tall double decker coaches, low narrow platforms and no barriers, I'm pretty sure the vacuum effect must be really strong for people standing on the side. Do you know if there have been many accidents on the NEC where people have unfortunately fell onto the platform?

I infer that the stations are the a major limiting factor to increasing speeds on the NEC. Am I right?
Its says 100mph , the max is 125mph. There are rarely accidents along the NEC but there are over 120+ suicides yearly.... Amtrak wants all NEC stations to be High Level platforms by 2020.
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Old April 1st, 2011, 07:25 PM   #2410
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China handles that high-speed train vs. intermediate station platform thing by building their platforms along sidings that parallel the main tracks. This permits express trains to safely blow through those stations at full speed while allowing local/regional trains to make their normal station stops.

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Old April 2nd, 2011, 12:26 PM   #2411
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The limits on NEC speeds come from various factors such as curvature, catenary, track condition and maintenance, along with trying to fit all the trains onto the tracks. As in France, with various speed trains on mixed use lines, you reduce the capacity of the line. I am not sure about the fitting all the trains on part but the curvature and catenary play high roles. Also come to think of it, with some of the bridges being very old, their are limits on bridges which are not at track speed which causes some time penalties.
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Old April 5th, 2011, 04:19 AM   #2412
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Have to agree. They should start building the CA HSR in the place with the most people.....LA. You don't hear alot about the unholy traffic congestion between Bakersfield and Sacramento. Why? Because there isn't any. Just look ast Nexis' map up there. Build the first segment from LA and out in three directions. To Irvine one way, to Palmdale in another and to Riverside in the other. You've now tackled the most congested areas of the entire project, guaranteed full trains once it is running and shown everyone looking on that this thing can work, guaranteeing mooolah to keep buiilding. I know the first segments are easy to build but if those trains end up 30% full this won't be looked at as a success outside of the "we love HSR" community. It will be an easy target for a Congress or new President who will undoubtedly be running in 2012 on a platform to eliminate "wasteful" Government spending, which as we know, is all in the eye of the beholder.
All the sections around LA are in the very preliminary stages of design. They require very complicated tunnels and so the engineering on them is quite complex. The section in the valley, on the other hand, is almost completely designed already. All they really have to do now is some minor refinements.

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I'm trying to find the renderings of proposed Bakersfield station online... I can't find anywhere. Only one rendering I found in Bakersfield: cool suspension bridge over Kern River. Anyone has the rendering of proposed Bakersfield station?
I don't think anyone has done a rendering yet. Probably there will be a design competition for the station designs. Bakersfield's will be the only aerial station in the valley so it might get a pretty neat one.
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Old April 5th, 2011, 09:21 AM   #2413
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China handles that high-speed train vs. intermediate station platform thing by building their platforms along sidings that parallel the main tracks. This permits express trains to safely blow through those stations at full speed while allowing local/regional trains to make their normal station stops.
It's the same in Europe. But high speed means 200kph and more. In Europe it's not uncommon for trains to pass platforms at 160kph (100mph) or even 200 kph. The maximum is along the Berlin - Hamburg line, where trains pass at 230 kph. The solution there looks like this:

(Think this has been posted here already however)
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Old April 5th, 2011, 03:20 PM   #2414
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All the sections around LA are in the very preliminary stages of design. They require very complicated tunnels and so the engineering on them is quite complex. The section in the valley, on the other hand, is almost completely designed already. All they really have to do now is some minor refinements.
So, do the complex engineering and drill the complicated tunnels.......then build the easy part later when the train will have somewhere to go. LA isn't going to get less congested. The longer you wait the more complex it will all be. The Japanese didn't start their line in the middle of nowhere, they started where the people were. We're back to doing this just for the sake of doing it. Wait, get your money together, build it where the people are and watch the success. I really fear a line in the central valley will end up being just another monument to Government excess.
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Old April 5th, 2011, 07:08 PM   #2415
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So, do the complex engineering and drill the complicated tunnels.......then build the easy part later when the train will have somewhere to go. LA isn't going to get less congested. The longer you wait the more complex it will all be. The Japanese didn't start their line in the middle of nowhere, they started where the people were. We're back to doing this just for the sake of doing it. Wait, get your money together, build it where the people are and watch the success. I really fear a line in the central valley will end up being just another monument to Government excess.
First of all, the line they build is San Francisco-LA and not Fresno-Bakersfield, that's just the first segment. There is no single segment on the whole route that would be viable for HSR on its own. I would like to see a source for which segment of the Tokaido Shinkansen was the first to get constructed, I haven't found anything in a quick google search, but I'd think they didn't start in Tokyo or Osaka either. I know for certain that they started construction on the first French HSR line in the middle of nowhere and not in Paris or Lyon, not to mention that Fresno is actually about as big as Lyon.

Then, they like to have the high speed part of the route build early to be able to test trainsets. They can't do that in urban areas because the trains won't use their max speed there.

BTW, the part of the line I'd have focused on first is the Tehachapi pass... very much in the middle of nowhere and probably one of the more difficult and expensive parts to construct, but currently, the line that exists is the most used single-track freight line of the world... A new double track line would allow the San Joaqin to start in LA and bring massive improvements for the LA-northern California freight rail connections, so you could probably convince people to build it even without the rest of the HSR line (though arguing for all the tunnels and bridges needed for 200mph capacity would probably be difficult if it weren't build specifically for HSR ).

Last edited by Cirdan; April 5th, 2011 at 07:14 PM.
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Old April 6th, 2011, 12:41 AM   #2416
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That looks way too expensive.
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Old April 6th, 2011, 01:33 AM   #2417
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That looks way too expensive.
Compared to what?
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Old April 6th, 2011, 02:32 AM   #2418
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First of all, the line they build is San Francisco-LA and not Fresno-Bakersfield, that's just the first segment. There is no single segment on the whole route that would be viable for HSR on its own. I would like to see a source for which segment of the Tokaido Shinkansen was the first to get constructed, I haven't found anything in a quick google search, but I'd think they didn't start in Tokyo or Osaka either.
The first part of the Tokaido was some where between Odawara and Samukawa, Kanagawa. It was built as a test track for the the Shinkansen project which was later incorporated into the Tokaido line much the same as the Yamanashi test track for Maglev in Yamanashi which is planned to be incorporated into the Chuo Shinkansen line. Recycle & Reuse.
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Old April 6th, 2011, 03:36 AM   #2419
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Old April 6th, 2011, 03:18 PM   #2420
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BTW, the part of the line I'd have focused on first is the Tehachapi pass... very much in the middle of nowhere and probably one of the more difficult and expensive parts to construct, but currently, the line that exists is the most used single-track freight line of the world... A new double track line would allow the San Joaqin to start in LA and bring massive improvements for the LA-northern California freight rail connections, so you could probably convince people to build it even without the rest of the HSR line (though arguing for all the tunnels and bridges needed for 200mph capacity would probably be difficult if it weren't build specifically for HSR ).
How cool would it be to see a HSR loop on the Tehachapi just like the famous frieght line there. It would be pretty neat to see a train zip around a closed loop like that at 150+ mph. Probably require seat belts for the passengers though.
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