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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%
Voters: 278. You may not vote on this poll

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Old May 18th, 2011, 04:55 AM   #2521
Cirdan
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Originally Posted by slipperydog View Post
Whatever, you can keep bringing up politics, but I personally don't really care about the politics of it. But it should be done right. California is already a national laughingstock. This train to nowhere would take it to another level.
I'll make myself unpopular by commenting on this as a European:

The idea that they should have started a HSR line in an urban area sounds ridiculous to me. You need a test track. To test equipment at full speed. Unless you want untested bullet trains at 220 mph racing through LA, that means you start somewhere in the middle. That's standard procedure with these things, pretty much EVERY new HSR line (at least those that are first in a network) start with something like what American HSR critics dubbed as a "train to nowhere" in California - here in Germany, they hardly ever build the HSR tracks into urban areas at all and use existing lines instead (though that's definitely NOT something I'd recommend, even if it were possible in the US, which it is not, afaik)

Whether the central valley is a good idea to start, I don't know, I'd have pressed for the passes, where they'd benefit most even before the whole line is finished (though that might have taken too long to complete, too expensive for initial grants or not ready in time), but the alternative usually given - the urban areas - is simply not a good place to start a HSR line. Not if you want a HSR line instead of an overly expensive commuter and freight railway. And in Californias case, even that idea is bullcrap, since both throughout the peninsula (Caltrain) and the LA metro area (metrolink) already have or are planned to include 2 tracks for commuter rail in addition to the 2 HSR tracks, if the complete HSR line doesn't get finished, I don't see how the tracks in urban areas would be much more useful than those in the central valley in the event that the whole system does not get finished.
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Old May 18th, 2011, 05:45 AM   #2522
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cirdan View Post
The idea that they should have started a HSR line in an urban area sounds ridiculous to me. You need a test track. To test equipment at full speed. Unless you want untested bullet trains at 220 mph racing through LA, that means you start somewhere in the middle. That's standard procedure with these things, pretty much EVERY new HSR line (at least those that are first in a network) start with something like what American HSR critics dubbed as a "train to nowhere" in California - here in Germany, they hardly ever build the HSR tracks into urban areas at all and use existing lines instead (though that's definitely NOT something I'd recommend, even if it were possible in the US, which it is not, afaik)
There are some NGOs in the Bay Area proposing that HSR, if built, run over an "improved" corridor on current ROW of Caltrain. As the bay is rather deep and has a tectonic fault running through it, the option (a tunnel under the bay) is rather implausible.

However, as you mentioned, mountain passes in both ends render any approach like Germany's unfeasible. Trains from LA to Bakersfield would have to negotiate a steep, curvy and freight-train-clogged railway that hasn't seen passenger service for more than 20 years (if I am not wrong).

Quote:
Whether the central valley is a good idea to start, I don't know, I'd have pressed for the passes, where they'd benefit most even before the whole line is finished (though that might have taken too long to complete, too expensive for initial grants or not ready in time), but the alternative usually given - the urban areas - is simply not a good place to start a HSR line. Not if you want a HSR line instead of an overly expensive commuter and freight railway. And in Californias case, even that idea is bullcrap, since both throughout the peninsula (Caltrain) and the LA metro area (metrolink) already have or are planned to include 2 tracks for commuter rail in addition to the 2 HSR tracks, if the complete HSR line doesn't get finished, I don't see how the tracks in urban areas would be much more useful than those in the central valley in the event that the whole system does not get finished.
The case is that the Valley is sparsely populated, and trains running through it, without good connectivity with both metropolis, don't stand a chance of attracting ridership. Valley-to-valley passenger traffic is not significant.
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Old May 18th, 2011, 05:47 AM   #2523
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cirdan View Post
To test equipment at full speed. Unless you want untested bullet trains at 220 mph racing through LA, that means you start somewhere in the middle.
That's the whole point. We don't need our trains to be going that fast, we need to upgrade our commuter rail and get more express/minimal stop trains into the cities. 110-125 would be more than fine.
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Old May 18th, 2011, 06:04 AM   #2524
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That's the whole point. We don't need our trains to be going that fast, we need to upgrade our commuter rail and get more express/minimal stop trains into the cities. 110-125 would be more than fine.
Good luck trying to speed up the Tehachapi Pass line.
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Old May 18th, 2011, 10:07 AM   #2525
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cirdan View Post
The idea that they should have started a HSR line in an urban area sounds ridiculous to me. You need a test track. To test equipment at full speed. Unless you want untested bullet trains at 220 mph racing through LA, that means you start somewhere in the middle. That's standard procedure with these things, pretty much EVERY new HSR line (at least those that are first in a network) start with something like what American HSR critics dubbed as a "train to nowhere" in California - here in Germany, they hardly ever build the HSR tracks into urban areas at all and use existing lines instead (though that's definitely NOT something I'd recommend, even if it were possible in the US, which it is not, afaik)
Makes sense, you need to learn to walk before you start to run.
Maintenance crew and traffic operation is a complete new ball game compared to anything else presently operated in the States.

The section between Ayase and Odawara on the Tokaido Shinkansen route is known as the Model section (AKA Kamonomiya Model route) that was the original test site for the Shinkansen system before it was officially launched in 1964 testing various equipment and methods. It was completely incorporated into the Tokaido shinkansen route when launched.

Last edited by SamuraiBlue; May 18th, 2011 at 10:17 AM.
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Old May 18th, 2011, 10:38 AM   #2526
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Quote:
The case is that the Valley is sparsely populated,
There is a popular misconception that the Valley (even among many Californians) is some place with more tumbleweeds and Tombstone-like towns than metropolises, but look at these figures:

Fresno MSA: 1 million population
Bakersfield MSA: 827,000
Modesto MSA: 500,000
Visalia MSA: 400,000
Merced MSA: 241,000

Granted, it's not the northeast corridor, but it 's a decent place to start, especially as it's the midway point between the Bay Area and SoCal.
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Old May 18th, 2011, 01:01 PM   #2527
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Quote:
Originally Posted by slipperydog View Post
That's the whole point. We don't need our trains to be going that fast, we need to upgrade our commuter rail and get more express/minimal stop trains into the cities. 110-125 would be more than fine.
Well, not living there, I wouldn't know about that, but your opinion on the necessity of HSR is obviously a minority opinion in California, looking at the various polls on that. It's certainly not an argument to start with HSR any different than they currently do.

Quote:
The case is that the Valley is sparsely populated, and trains running through it, without good connectivity with both metropolis, don't stand a chance of attracting ridership. Valley-to-valley passenger traffic is not significant.
They won't start HSR service between tinytown and tinierville, they'll start when the whole line is finished (maybe except for some test runs under operating conditions). Plus, with the possible exception of the mountain passes, in particular the Tehachapi, which could be used to extend San Joaquin to LA as well as take on freight rail, I'd be surprised if any segment is viable on its own, keeping in mind that (most) tracks in the Bay Area and Greater LA are planned as quadruple tracks with 2 tracks dedicated to commuter rail anyway.
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Old May 18th, 2011, 03:53 PM   #2528
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I this point I don't believe a HSR will ever be constructed in US.
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Old May 18th, 2011, 04:07 PM   #2529
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I this point I don't believe a HSR will ever be constructed in US.
That's a pretty grand assumption to make.
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Old May 18th, 2011, 05:43 PM   #2530
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Originally Posted by Smooth Indian View Post
And why do you want to bring the military and rich people into this?
Just to be a smarty pants, no real reason. That's always the left's solution to Government financial shortfalls.

I disagree that there will never be any HSR in the US. I'm hopefull that at some point common sense and need will win out over politics and greed and some improved rail service will be built in the NEC and in Central and Southern California. It may never be the true HSR like in Japan but some sort of faster passenger service will eventually be built.
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Old May 18th, 2011, 06:29 PM   #2531
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cirdan View Post
Well, not living there, I wouldn't know about that, but your opinion on the necessity of HSR is obviously a minority opinion in California, looking at the various polls on that. It's certainly not an argument to start with HSR any different than they currently do.
Which polls? Everyone I talk to that lives around here wants a better way to get to work without being stuck in traffic. Nobody cares about taking a train to San Francisco.
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Old May 19th, 2011, 06:33 PM   #2532
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I found really neat video of proposed HSR in Australia but this video has many good points. Hope HSR in USA will become reality soon. I don't know how to post the video on here so here is the link:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8ONzb...layer_embedded
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Old May 19th, 2011, 08:48 PM   #2533
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CrazyAboutCities View Post
I found really neat video of proposed HSR in Australia but this video has many good points. Hope HSR in USA will become reality soon. I don't know how to post the video on here so here is the link:

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Old May 20th, 2011, 03:07 AM   #2534
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Which polls? Everyone I talk to that lives around here wants a better way to get to work without being stuck in traffic. Nobody cares about taking a train to San Francisco.
First and foremost, Proposition 1a, which was close, but not only pro-HSR, but pro-making-10-bio-debts-for-HSR, in direct Democracy. That was 3 years ago, and the topic is obviously getting hotter, but while you can read about NIMBYs, the so-called "train to nowhere", possible mismanagement by the authority etc pp, but every actual poll I've seen still shows support, usually with better numbers than the prop vote:

70% pro state funding, 21% opposed, 73% pro fed funding, 18% opposed: http://www.harrisinteractive.com/New...t/Default.aspx
34% want HSR, 42% like it but have questions, 11% opposed: http://www.scribd.com/doc/34947561/H...-Research-Memo
60% in favour, 33% opposed: (same source as above, with question phrased differently)
70% of the 21st district (SF Bay Peninsula) in favour http://www.cahsrblog.com/2010/08/pol...the-peninsula/

Obviously, the results you get depend A LOT on how you ask the question, and some of those results are probably pretty skewed (the first one is Harris intiative, somehow related to financial times, I don't know where they fit in in left/right/democrat/republican/libertarian-and-whatnot-propaganda, the second and third come from the HSR authorities own poll, the last from a peninsula newspaper, unfortunately, the original source is down and I know just the second-hand one from the blatantly one-sided pro-HSR blog), but again, I've not seen anything more reliable than those that the opinion actually changed to oppose the HSR project since Prop 1a, which I take as solid evidence for support.
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Old May 20th, 2011, 05:25 AM   #2535
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Obviously, the results you get depend A LOT on how you ask the question
Exactly, polls are by and large pretty useless for these types of projects. Who knows who is being polled, what kind of background knowledge they have on transit, etc. They likely don't know anything about the route, the time, or the fare cost. Many of them are EXACTLY LIKE ME when I first heard about it. When I first heard about HSR in California, I said "Cool, that sounds great." Then once I started studying the finer details of it, I realized it was a pretty useless idea for THIS region, where there is little precedent for long-haul train use. You could phrase "pro-HSR/anti-HSR" questions a million ways. If you polled the average person here in LA and asked the following the questions, these would be your most common responses:

Q: "Should the federal government fund high speed rail in California?"
A: "Sure, why not."

Q: "How often do you travel to San Francisco?"
A: "Hardly ever."

Q: "Would you travel to San Francisco more with a high-speed rail line?"
A: "Maybe/Probably."

Q: "What if I told you the high-speed rail line would take longer and was more expensive than taking a plane?"
A: "Wait, what? Then what's the point?"

Most people here frankly don't care enough about transportation to the Bay Area to make the numbers work (it's not like San Diego or Vegas where people in LA frequently take weekend trips). To the vast majority of people here, San Francisco might as well be Seattle or Denver. And without doing a lot of research on the details of the project and having a good understanding of the success/failure history of HSR in other places, the average person being polled is completely clueless. When it comes down to it, we will still drive or fly. Drive if we're taking our whole family. Fly if we're going by ourselves on business.
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Old May 20th, 2011, 07:58 AM   #2536
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Why not think about a Las Vegas - Los Angeles high-speed rail then? It has just one mountain ridge to cross, few communities in the desert to deal with, and so on.
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Old May 20th, 2011, 08:45 AM   #2537
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Why not think about a Las Vegas - Los Angeles high-speed rail then? It has just one mountain ridge to cross, few communities in the desert to deal with, and so on.
Its about to break ground...
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Old May 20th, 2011, 01:52 PM   #2538
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Most people here frankly don't care enough about transportation to the Bay Area to make the numbers work (it's not like San Diego or Vegas where people in LA frequently take weekend trips). To the vast majority of people here, San Francisco might as well be Seattle or Denver. And without doing a lot of research on the details of the project and having a good understanding of the success/failure history of HSR in other places, the average person being polled is completely clueless. When it comes down to it, we will still drive or fly. Drive if we're taking our whole family. Fly if we're going by ourselves on business.
No, you won't. HSR WILL take a huge percentage away from the planes, and a much smaller one from the drivers, that's been experienced everywhere it got build in a comparable corridor, including the NE, where the Acela express takes much longer between NY and DC than CAHSR will take from LA to San Francisco and it still took a fair percentage of air travel. I'm also fairly certain I've seen a poll that confirms Californians will chose HSR over plane, though I'm too lazy to search for that now.

And don't tell me you don't have the public transportation necessary for HSR, the Bay Area has one of the better networks in the States and in absolute numbers, even LAs network is fairly big and growing. As a comparison, Seville (which isn't much bigger than Fresno, by the way) opened its first metro line 17 years after HSR, and noone used the train between Seville and Madrid before 1992 either, but HSR was still a gigantic success. California and Spain are not the same, but with 2 cities that large, with that much air travel between them, HSR is going to get used, and they'd have to screw up royally for it not to have operating profits.

As for the money-should-go-to-commuter-rail argument: While I have my opinion on that, I think it's really none of my business to argue about how California and the US should spend its money.
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Old May 20th, 2011, 03:12 PM   #2539
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California and Spain are not the same, but with 2 cities that large, with that much air travel between them, HSR is going to get used, and they'd have to screw up royally for it not to have operating profits.
I agree with Slipperydog, about .5% of the people actually care, if even that many. if you ask the poll question correctly of course folks will say they support it, but who cares what a guy who lives in LA, works in LA and has never even been to SFC says? Thrt trouble is that if that guy is willing to take the poll his opinion is then used to indicate support for something he'll likely never even see, let alone use. Polls are useless. If you want to use this money for the benefit of the most LA and Bay Area people you will spend it on local infrastructure. Commuter rail and yes, heaven forbid, better highway access. Travel point to point is handled by the airlines, the local stuff is the mess.

As to what I quoted above. Someone do some labor and tell us just how many people fly between these cities every day. Not some consultant's projections, those are about as usefull as the poll numbers. I'm curious about what the pool of end to end potential customers is as of right now. Drivers from end to end really won't be reduced much IMO. if you can't afford to fly you won't be able to afford the train either.
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Old May 20th, 2011, 04:46 PM   #2540
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In Europe the basic experience with HSR is that a majority(!) of air passangers did change to train while only a slight minority of car drivers changed to train.
But we must consider the fact that HSR is basically a right choice for distances where people usually do not choose the car so that people that take a car surely have some special reason for it and will probably not change to any public vehicle any way.
LA - SF is about 400 miles which is basically a very good choice for a HSR. A train having 4-5 stops could take this distance in 3-4 hours which is almost equal related to flight (if you check city to city travels, including transfers from and to the airport/train station and check in time). I assume this line could easily maintain 1-2 trains per hour whole day and hourly 1-2 additional trains in rush hours.
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