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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 June 8th, 2013, 09:55 PM   #4161
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Originally Posted by Nikonov_Ivan View Post
Why are they going to make Madeira- Fresno line? I think that San Francisco- LA will be more profitable, won't it?
This section is part of San Francisco-LA route. The cheapest and least complicated one, as I understand.
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Old June 14th, 2013, 04:30 AM   #4162
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Old June 15th, 2013, 06:34 PM   #4163
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Why are they going to make Madeira- Fresno line? I think that San Francisco- LA will be more profitable, won't it?
It is the first (and cheaper, on a per-km basis) segment of the California High Speed Rail link.
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Old June 16th, 2013, 01:53 AM   #4164
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But does that mean that Madera-Fresno will open sooner than the other sectors of LA-Frisco? Would that have any sense?
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Old June 16th, 2013, 06:41 AM   #4165
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But does that mean that Madera-Fresno will open sooner than the other sectors of LA-Frisco? Would that have any sense?
No it's not the best solution- the best solution would be to build the most technically difficult section between LA and Bakersfield first, and thus provide an imperfect but nonetheless complete all-rail link between LA and the SF Bay Area (currently buses link Los Angeles with Bakersfield-absurd I know, but this is the USA). But the Central Valley is economically depressed and politically valuable, and there is a perception that the technically easy stretch between Madera and Fresno is the best way to establish an initial route that would be less susceptible to political sabotage by anti-rail forces. Once this initial section is built, it seems existing Amtrak trains will use it until the true high speed trains are available.
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Old June 16th, 2013, 08:55 PM   #4166
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No it's not the best solution- the best solution would be to build the most technically difficult section between LA and Bakersfield first, and thus provide an imperfect but nonetheless complete all-rail link between LA and the SF Bay Area (currently buses link Los Angeles with Bakersfield-absurd I know, but this is the USA). But the Central Valley is economically depressed and politically valuable, and there is a perception that the technically easy stretch between Madera and Fresno is the best way to establish an initial route that would be less susceptible to political sabotage by anti-rail forces. Once this initial section is built, it seems existing Amtrak trains will use it until the true high speed trains are available.
But that would mean electrifying the section of the classic line between Oakland and Madera, and between Fresno and Bakersfield... because they wonīt build any hybrid trains, and Spain wonīt hire them (we need them, weīve got only 15 of them).

And ok, Fresno is a mid-size city, but Madera is a small city (only 56,000 inhab.).

I just donīt get it, I find it not reasonable, because if Oakland or LA canīt be reached by direct service, that just wonīt be profitable enough (speaking in rail terms of profitability, of course) to calm down the nymbys, and that, even if itīs the first phase. I agree with you that the first phase should have been LA to Bakersfield, that would have had a real impact.

But then again, weīre not talking of Europe nor Asia here, things work differently about rail in the Americas... letīs wait and see.

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Old June 16th, 2013, 10:13 PM   #4167
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It's a big screwup in my opinion, but we'll know for sure only in a decade or so... As for electrification, at least in the Bay area it is certainly in the plans. Due to political reason it won't be possible to build a dedicated track there anyway so the HS trains will have to use the current Caltrain route.
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Old June 16th, 2013, 11:11 PM   #4168
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The first phase will accelerate services in the Central Valley and allow them to have a better connection with the Bay Area.

The Bakersfield-Los Angeles sector is the most challenging one. The money they have right now is not enough to build a new set of long tunnels, simply put.
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Old June 16th, 2013, 11:13 PM   #4169
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But Los Angeles railway station does exist. Where do trains go from there?
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Old June 17th, 2013, 12:13 AM   #4170
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sunfuns View Post
It's a big screwup in my opinion, but we'll know for sure only in a decade or so... As for electrification, at least in the Bay area it is certainly in the plans. Due to political reason it won't be possible to build a dedicated track there anyway so the HS trains will have to use the current Caltrain route.
For now, the blended plan is a good way to get in there. Once the people see the benefit of HS rail, then it should be easier to swallow. However, when dealing with NIMBYs, I think the blended plan is a reasonable compromise.

I am not a big fan of the plans as they are currently due to the political hands. HSR is definitely more regional which makes it hard to obtain support unless spread over a wide geographical area. I do wonder if it would have been best to do what Illinois has done first with upgrading the current heavily used Capitol Corridor and Pacific Surfliner routes to higher-speed rail. I think a 2 hour travel time LA-SD and 90 minute LA-Santa Barbara would make people want more along with reducing SJ-Sac from 3 hours to 2 or less.

I will be over in Europe in 2 1/2 weeks and I am quite excited to take some HS trains there. I wish that politicians would actually spend some time looking into the European model of transportation. It works well for urban areas and increasing the supply of housing in the Bay Area might curb growth in the exurbs, increase the use of transit more, while reducing commutes and revitalizing communities.

Many are convinced that HSR works in the NEC and I am too. My belief is it could probably do as good as the Shinkansen given the right resources and time. However, we have lost our ability to think big in the United States. We look at the cost and say "we can't afford it". I am not sure if we had said that in the Great Depression if we would have had the infrastructure we needed in order to ramp up production for World War II.
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Old June 17th, 2013, 03:47 AM   #4171
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But Los Angeles railway station does exist. Where do trains go from there?
They go to San Francisco Bay Area through another route.
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Old June 17th, 2013, 06:40 AM   #4172
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But Los Angeles railway station does exist. Where do trains go from there?


Let me try to explain it.

The current AMTRAK service between Los Angeles and San Francisco go via the Coast Line, and old and slow line that follows the... coast!

California coast north of Santa Barbara up to the Bay Area is not really well populated and the coast is hilly.

There is an inland route via the flat Central Valley. However, let's take a look at the topography near Los Angeles:



As you can see, there is an L-shaped mountain range there. It is currently transposed by a freight railway that goes through the infamous Tehachapi Loop. That is one of the major freight links of US, and the railway that owns it doesn't allow any passenger train traffic there.

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Old June 17th, 2013, 08:44 AM   #4173
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Originally Posted by 437.001 View Post
But that would mean electrifying the section of the classic line between Oakland and Madera, and between Fresno and Bakersfield... because they wonīt build any hybrid trains, and Spain wonīt hire them (we need them, weīve got only 15 of them).

And ok, Fresno is a mid-size city, but Madera is a small city (only 56,000 inhab.).

I just donīt get it, I find it not reasonable, because if Oakland or LA canīt be reached by direct service, that just wonīt be profitable enough (speaking in rail terms of profitability, of course) to calm down the nymbys, and that, even if itīs the first phase. I agree with you that the first phase should have been LA to Bakersfield, that would have had a real impact.

But then again, weīre not talking of Europe nor Asia here, things work differently about rail in the Americas... letīs wait and see.

It's actually the same in Asia, too. When they were building Taiwan High Speed Rail, they built the line where it was easiest to build (unpopulated areas), and left the connection to Taipei out.

This was because there was a huge squabble about platform sharing in Taipei Main Station between TRA and THSR. In any case, THSR simply focused on getting the other segments done and opened the Taipei link later.

I have a question for the CHSRA though: why don't the authorities build the system on viaducts to make land acquisition easier and install sound walls? The only "land acquisition" they would need would be the cross-section area of the support pylons.
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Old June 17th, 2013, 08:54 AM   #4174
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I have a question for the CHSRA though: why don't the authorities build the system on viaducts to make land acquisition easier and install sound walls? The only "land acquisition" they would need would be the cross-section area of the support pylons.
It depends on property law but I believe CHSRA would still need to sign a lease contract with the land owners to utilize the air above any private property.
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Old June 17th, 2013, 11:03 AM   #4175
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There is also a lot of opposition to the concept of viaducts in general- that they are a blight on the scenery (if you consider the scenery in the central valley beautiful). You often see "reassuring" descriptions of the ROW being "mainly at grade with minimal elevated portions over highways and other obstacles". Of course, operationally viaducts are superior for hsr operation as they ensure a relatively flat grade profile and adjacent land owners can pass under the ROW easily, rather than having to depend on a finite number of tunnels/culverts that bore under grade level ROW or berm fill ROW (likewise with bridges).
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Old June 17th, 2013, 07:40 PM   #4176
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A blight on the scenery? In California?

Come on, if itīs done in Spain, itīs done in California... nymbys...
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Old June 17th, 2013, 08:30 PM   #4177
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A blight on the scenery? In California?
California is probably the most beautiful among US states, albeit Central Valley is not exactly the hotspot.
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Old June 17th, 2013, 10:23 PM   #4178
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California is probably the most beautiful among US states, albeit Central Valley is not exactly the hotspot.
There are lots of things that California really is, but certainly not the most beautiful US state (not that itīs ugly, mind you, itīs beautiful, but not the most beautiful).

If in Spain a viaduct is not a blight on the scenery, in California it shouldnīt be either, and for the very same reasons.

Of all the US states, California is the one that ressembles Spain the most.
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Last edited by 437.001; June 17th, 2013 at 10:30 PM.
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Old June 17th, 2013, 10:30 PM   #4179
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There are lots of things that California really is, but certainly not the most beautiful US state.
I've been to about 20 states and in my opinion is California among the most beautiful. Have you been there? If you ever get a chance take a coastal road from LA to Oregon border or cross the Sierra Nevada through Yosemite national park. Also San Francisco might be the best looking big city in US.

Of course all this is somewhat subjective. Where do you like better? Surely not somewhere East of Mississippi...
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Old June 17th, 2013, 10:32 PM   #4180
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If in Spain a viaduct is not a blight on the scenery, in California it shouldnīt be either, and for the very same reasons.
That I agree with.

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Of all the US states, California is the one that ressembles Spain the most.
Does it mean you don't think Spain is all that pretty?
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