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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 April 1st, 2012, 11:15 PM   #3061
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Queer how some clergyman gets in on the Act



"segregation" ... "jobs beyond the airport"
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Old April 1st, 2012, 11:18 PM   #3062
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Hark! me thinks Hollywood'd also like to have a go



"..uh.." ... "..uh.." ... "..uhh.." ... "..uh.."
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Old April 1st, 2012, 11:37 PM   #3063
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"...200MPH..."

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Old April 2nd, 2012, 12:22 PM   #3064
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About 4135mm gauge?
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Old April 2nd, 2012, 11:36 PM   #3065
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I can't tell whether it be the pipe or the dream you must be gauging.
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Old April 3rd, 2012, 07:48 AM   #3066
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sunfuns View Post
Probably someone up thread already commented on this (no time to read 144 pages), but being fairly familiar with HSR projects in Europe, I am amazed both about the unnaturally high price tag for this Californian scheme and even more about the choice of the first stretch. Merced to Bakersfield and no San Francisco till late 20-ties at best??? That's just brain-dead... Who is going to use that? HSR works best when connecting large cities with already a heavy traffic between them (Paris-Lyon-Marseille, Madrid-Barcelona, Paris-London etc)...

If I was a Californian official in charge of this and without enough money to go from LA to San Franciso (although 60 billion ought to be enough) then I would build LA-San Diego first. Two large cities, probably enough existing traffic between them and much closer. A well built HSR (paralleling I-5) would reach one city from the other in about 50 min with a single stop in Anaheim. Would be an excellent demonstration project for HSR in USA. I believe it takes at least 2 h to drive this route. Asking Californian government to be smart with taxpayers money is asking too much, I guess.
As someone in Europe, there may be several things you aren't aware of. First, you may know but I don't how many European HSR projects cross 2 mountain ranges like this one does. In both cases it will require extensive tunneling. That is much of the reason for the cost.

Here is a topographic map of California.


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geography_of_California

As you can see, one range must be crossed going from the Central Valley into the Bay Area and another (actually 2) going from the Valley into the Los Angeles basin.

As for the reason to start in the Central Valley, it is because that is the longest stretch that is both flat and rural so that costs per mile are low (meaning more miles can be built with the available money) and the project will be relatively free of the legal entanglements it is experiencing in urban areas.

That is one reason for the new plan near San Francisco. Formerly, the plan was to build new dedicated tracks in the right of way of CalTrain, the commuter line between San Francisco and San Jose. But that means building new tracks through one small, very wealthy town after another, each of which have filed suit to stop it on the basis it will be noisy or otherwise problematic for them. By using the existing CalTrain tracks, these suits may be largely avoided or mooted.

A similar situation pertains between Los Angeles and San Diego. My understanding is that lawsuits have also been filed in Orange County and other parts of that route.

By the way, as for the drive time from Anaheim to San Diego: I did it once. It took 7 hours on a Friday evening due to traffic. In the absence of any traffic (which never happens) it might take 2 hours.
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Old April 3rd, 2012, 07:54 AM   #3067
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Quote:
Originally Posted by trainrover View Post
Foolish how America's HSR discussions skirt restructuring its passé civil aviation practices ...
The relevance?
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Old April 3rd, 2012, 10:04 AM   #3068
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CAHSR is a mess, if Washington State isn't so broke the line between Seattle and Portland would be relatively easy to build. Judging from the traffic on I-5 there is certainly enough potential riders, and both cities, especially Portland has a very extensive public transportation network to facilitate the last mile transport.
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Old April 3rd, 2012, 05:46 PM   #3069
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Yeah, I keep looking for more information on the Cascades HSR project, but I don't think much has happened since it was proposed years ago, nothing more than very minor speed increases, anyhow.
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Old April 3rd, 2012, 10:04 PM   #3070
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Shifting sand would be more obstructive than exaggerated hilliness ... no matter how --uhm-- ambassadorial, no passé argument could ever belie either Japan's or China's feat at laying HSR through craggy territory ...
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Old April 3rd, 2012, 11:09 PM   #3071
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Long viaducts made of prefabricated girders is pretty cheap to build nowadays, the process is heavily mechanized and the girders are built at plants in assembly line style. It'll solve the curious animal problem too.
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Old April 3rd, 2012, 11:29 PM   #3072
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Makes sense ... or should I say, would make sense ...
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Old April 3rd, 2012, 11:36 PM   #3073
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Wealthy NIMBY's always win.
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Old April 4th, 2012, 12:25 AM   #3074
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Quote:
Originally Posted by trainrover View Post
Shifting sand would be more obstructive than exaggerated hilliness ... no matter how --uhm-- ambassadorial, no passé argument could ever belie either Japan's or China's feat at laying HSR through craggy territory ...
The issue is not being able to do it. The issue that was asked about was the cost. China, of course, has low cost labor (and seems to have done a slap-dash job judging by the problems they are having on the lines they have built). Japan has accomplished what it has in reference to infrastructure by accumulating a national debt that makes ours seem inconsequential.

Each country approaches these matters differently, but there are pros and cons of each approach. CA will muddle through. HSR will get built because it makes so much sense. The fact is that air capacity at airports serving travelers between the northern and southern halves of the state are near capacity and expansion is near impossible. CA HSR is not a matter of if but of when.

Last edited by Cal_Escapee; April 4th, 2012 at 12:33 AM.
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Old April 4th, 2012, 12:28 AM   #3075
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To Cal_Escapee:

Thanks for an answer. Actually I am not completely unfamiliar with the west coast of USA. Lived in Oregon for 2 years and have been in California several times as well. I know it's quite hilly, but HSR in Italy and Spain are also going through hilly areas.

Anyway the argument about being easier to build in central valley is of course valid, but the question what arises is why build it at all if not possible to do it properly? There is a high risk of money and/or political will running out and the proverbial white elephant being left on the ground...

There are no true HSR lines in USA at the moment. To convince the public and lawmakers of future suitability of such schemes it is vital that the first one to be built is of the best possible quality both in terms of passenger numbers and costs. France started with Paris-Lyon, Italy with Rome-Naples, Spain with Madrid-Seville, Japan with Tokyo-Osaka. US also ought to start with a line of similar importance. Perhaps California is not the place to start at all and it would make more sense to start somewhere else with an easier geography? Chicago-Detroit or Houston-Dallas perhaps?

P.S. That 2 hour driving time was just from Google maps, since I've never driven south of LA myself.
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Old April 4th, 2012, 02:15 AM   #3076
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Cascades is waiting on the Port Defiance bypass project in order to allow up to six trains a day. The project is going slowly though and I agree that it needs to be significantly sped up. These improvements shouldn't take so much time.
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Old April 4th, 2012, 03:23 AM   #3077
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Quote:
"Should the US improve it's HSR network?"



Is there even one to improve? How about the US builds a HSR network first, then improves it
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Old April 4th, 2012, 10:32 AM   #3078
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cal_Escapee View Post
The issue is not being able to do it. The issue that was asked about was the cost. China, of course, has low cost labor (and seems to have done a slap-dash job judging by the problems they are having on the lines they have built). Japan has accomplished what it has in reference to infrastructure by accumulating a national debt that makes ours seem inconsequential.

Each country approaches these matters differently, but there are pros and cons of each approach. CA will muddle through. HSR will get built because it makes so much sense. The fact is that air capacity at airports serving travelers between the northern and southern halves of the state are near capacity and expansion is near impossible. CA HSR is not a matter of if but of when.
Chinese HSR is neither cheap nor poorly built, it's slightly cheaper mainly due to scale effect, and there is a perception of problems because it's a highly scrutinized topic and also due to the sheer size of the system. I'd argue the CRH system is one of the highest quality railway systems in the world. For CAHSR I agree that it's a necessity for CA but cost is everything, that's why I have suggested to build the line entirely on viaduct, it's probably the only way to utilize assembly line style offsite fabrication and minimize labor usage. Also they need to build the line in one shot (I know, naive) so materials etc can be purchased in larger bulk to lavage a better price.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sunfuns View Post
To Cal_Escapee:

Thanks for an answer. Actually I am not completely unfamiliar with the west coast of USA. Lived in Oregon for 2 years and have been in California several times as well. I know it's quite hilly, but HSR in Italy and Spain are also going through hilly areas.

Anyway the argument about being easier to build in central valley is of course valid, but the question what arises is why build it at all if not possible to do it properly? There is a high risk of money and/or political will running out and the proverbial white elephant being left on the ground...

There are no true HSR lines in USA at the moment. To convince the public and lawmakers of future suitability of such schemes it is vital that the first one to be built is of the best possible quality both in terms of passenger numbers and costs. France started with Paris-Lyon, Italy with Rome-Naples, Spain with Madrid-Seville, Japan with Tokyo-Osaka. US also ought to start with a line of similar importance. Perhaps California is not the place to start at all and it would make more sense to start somewhere else with an easier geography? Chicago-Detroit or Houston-Dallas perhaps?

P.S. That 2 hour driving time was just from Google maps, since I've never driven south of LA myself.
The hills of Western Washington isn't bad at all, at least compare to terrains in Europe and Asia. The current line parallel with I-5 is a good start for a dedicated HSR line. I'd prefer just upgrade the existing line to accommodate 125mph trains, but it seems that the consent is that freight operators are making it too difficult to accomplish. I agree with you that HSR here should start with two large cities that can be easily connected, I too think Houston-Dallas is a good choice, I'm not sure Detroit is economically strong enough to support the ridership.

Quote:
Originally Posted by G5man View Post
Cascades is waiting on the Port Defiance bypass project in order to allow up to six trains a day. The project is going slowly though and I agree that it needs to be significantly sped up. These improvements shouldn't take so much time.
WSDOT is completely useless regarding projects around the Tacoma area, just look at how long did it take them to fix the I-5 curve just before the Dome.
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Old April 5th, 2012, 01:50 AM   #3079
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hmmwv View Post
it seems that the consent is that freight operators are making it too difficult to accomplish
Adjusted regulations, legislation would resolve such stalemate ...



Quote:
Originally Posted by Cal_Escapee View Post
The fact is that air capacity at airports serving travelers between the northern and southern halves of the state are near capacity
I bet that fact is more dynamic than you think, such that those CA capacities were exceeded some time ago ... major N American airports seem to be in perpetual states of expansion.
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Last edited by trainrover; April 5th, 2012 at 02:00 AM.
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Old April 5th, 2012, 02:01 AM   #3080
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Or nationalizing the entire tracks on the basis the it was the fed gov who originally built the entire system.
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