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  #1  
Old Posted Jul 30, 2012, 8:51 PM
twoNeurons twoNeurons is offline
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Is CA High Speed Rail a good idea? (broken off from the original CAHSR thread)

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Please use this thread to discuss the overall merits of the CAHSR proposal, its political implications, and potential alternatives to the concept as a whole.

The other thread shall be reserved for discussion of specific details as the project moves into and through construction.

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Quote:
Originally Posted by pesto View Post
Ok. I'll explain why HSR is ridiculous for California.

First you argue about freeways WITHIN LA and weigh them against HSR. Not relevant; HSR wants to run trains BETWEEN LA and the Bay Area, where there are no jams, and plenty of room for the future (5 already has the rights of way and room).
HSR competes with the airplane but has the added advantage of competing with the car in certain contexts.
Quote:
To use it will cost FAR more than cars or air, be much slower (the great majority of trains will make multiple stops and/or changes of train) or require getting to Union Station or DT SF, two areas which are proverbially jammed with traffic in the first place.
The majority of trains may make multiple stops... which is useful if you want to make that stop. With airplanes, people chose to fly direct if they're travelling long-distance. HSR will be no different. You choose which service you want to use.

If you've ridden the Japanese HSR, which has gotta be one of the more expensive systems in the world due to geological constraints, you would know that you choose which service you want to take. Since trains come every few minutes or so, it's no big deal to wait (or plan your trip). Prices are comparable with airplanes, perhaps a little cheaper, rarely are on sale, more expensive than the bus, and despite having good rail connections to the airport, comparable in travel time. Max speed along the Tokaido is 270km/h.

If it's more expensive than flying, no one will ride it... therefore, it won't be.

Last edited by Cirrus; Aug 18, 2012 at 1:37 AM.
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  #2  
Old Posted Aug 1, 2012, 7:27 PM
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I don't want to start another War of the Modes debate but here are the estimated costs of highway capacity projects in Southern California for comparison to high speed rail

Project Low High
I-5 widening (San Diego County) $3.3B $4.5B
405 widening (Orange County) $1.4B $1.7B
710 expanision/improvements (LA County) $7B $7B
605 freeway (OC/LA) $277M $277M
TOTAL $11.97B $13.47B


Sources:
1) http://www.utsandiego.com/news/2010/...ase-daily-i-5/
2) http://www.dailypilot.com/news/tn-dp...,5756521.story
3) http://californiawatch.org/dailyrepo...c-health-17300
4) http://www.nbclosangeles.com/news/lo...164472266.html
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  #3  
Old Posted Aug 16, 2012, 5:00 PM
jg6544 jg6544 is offline
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One day, perhaps Californians will have the freedom to choose, too.

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/16/bu...1&ref=business
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Old Posted Aug 16, 2012, 6:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jg6544 View Post
One day, perhaps Californians will have the freedom to choose, too.

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/16/bu...1&ref=business
Well, like the say "freedom ain't free"; in fact, it runs about 100B. A couple of comments since we haven't had much going on lately.

It takes Amtrak's "fastest train" 3 hrs 40 min to do the 200 miles from NY to Boston. That's the fastest train. The LA-SF route is 400 miles plus. And no trains will be non-stops.

NY, Boston and DC are proverbially jammed at their airports; I assume delays going to them. The 5 SoCal and 4 NorCal airports are rarely delayed. Of the 400 or so flights I've taken from them, I can honestly remember maybe 5 that were delayed in landing.

Roads from Bos-NY-DC are jammed constantly. Between LA and SF they are jammed never.
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Old Posted Aug 16, 2012, 6:46 PM
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pesto:
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NY, Boston and DC are proverbially jammed at their airports; I assume delays going to them. The 5 SoCal and 4 NorCal airports are rarely delayed. Of the 400 or so flights I've taken from them, I can honestly remember maybe 5 that were delayed in landing.
This is just false. SFO is always one of the most delayed airports in the nation and for the Jan-June 2012 period, it is 28 out of 29 for large-hub airports for on-time departures and 29 out of 29 for on-time arrivals.

http://www.bts.gov/programs/airline_.../table_03.html

The New York-region has five commercial airports. While JFK, Newark, and LaGuardia are often delayed, Westchester and Islip are considerably less delayed and equally convenient as Burbank or Santa Ana/John Wayne, yet as noted in the article, Amtrak still captures 75% of passengers for the air/rail mode-share.
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  #6  
Old Posted Aug 16, 2012, 7:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pesto View Post
It takes Amtrak's "fastest train" 3 hrs 40 min to do the 200 miles from NY to Boston. That's the fastest train. The LA-SF route is 400 miles plus. And no trains will be non-stops.
Too funny

My great-great-grandpa had several cars when he was young, including his "fastest car", which was a Ford Model A. It topped out at around 45-50 mph (for a speed that you'd want to drive for any distance), so it took him four hours to go around 180-200 miles. Later on in life, he bought a newer car (unsure which one) that had a much, much higher comfortable top speed, which gave him the ability to drive a longer route with stops (!!!) in less time than he used to be able to drive that 200 miles.

You see how that works?
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Old Posted Aug 16, 2012, 7:40 PM
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I pulled this thread up on my iPhone and started reading the comment without seeing by whom it was posted. I immediately thought it must be from pesto and sure enough it is. Same old same old...
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Old Posted Aug 17, 2012, 4:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 202_Cyclist View Post
pesto:


This is just false. SFO is always one of the most delayed airports in the nation and for the Jan-June 2012 period, it is 28 out of 29 for large-hub airports for on-time departures and 29 out of 29 for on-time arrivals.

http://www.bts.gov/programs/airline_.../table_03.html

The New York-region has five commercial airports. While JFK, Newark, and LaGuardia are often delayed, Westchester and Islip are considerably less delayed and equally convenient as Burbank or Santa Ana/John Wayne, yet as noted in the article, Amtrak still captures 75% of passengers for the air/rail mode-share.
Gotta read more carefully. Delayed on landing. Delayed on take-off is a given, in fact it is assumed in making arrival schedules.

I'll give you Westchester and Islip.

Are you comparing the, say, 3-mile business and residential density around LA Union Station to that at Penn Station? Could this possibly be a factor in the use of trains in NY? LA and SF are so widely dispersed in their centers that trains become much slower and less convenient.
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  #9  
Old Posted Aug 17, 2012, 5:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OhioGuy View Post
I pulled this thread up on my iPhone and started reading the comment without seeing by whom it was posted. I immediately thought it must be from pesto and sure enough it is. Same old same old...
I'll take that as a compliment, since I assume you mean same old shooting holes the size of a truck into the HSR arguments.

If not, what part is not accurate? That HSR has been sent back to make revisions 2 times by the Dem. controlled Ca. legislature? That LA-Bay highways and air routes are extensive, modern and uncongested, and take you directly to where you're going, not to wherever the tracks go? That either of these modalities just beats the hell out of HSR price and time-wise? That 100B is the cost? That a vote taken today would vote down HSR by a ton (the HSR supporters breathed a huge sigh of relief when the initiative didn't have time to get on the ballot)?

Or, conversely, that I am a strong supporter of train: on the Bos-NY-DC and related routes; in much of Europe (centralized cities and closer distances between cities); and in the 3rd world (slower times offset by lower costs). But transit is place specific and makes much less sense between LA and the Bay and I need a stronger argument before springing for 100B.
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Old Posted Aug 17, 2012, 5:45 PM
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pesto:
Quote:
Or, conversely, that I am a strong supporter of train: on the Bos-NY-DC and related routes; in much of Europe (centralized cities and closer distances between cities); and in the 3rd world (slower times offset by lower costs). But transit is place specific and makes much less sense between LA and the Bay and I need a stronger argument before springing for 100B.
Highways are place specific and I need a stronger argument before springing for $13.5B in Southern California and $25B in the Central Valley.

Los Angeles is the densest urbanized area in the United States (http://articles.latimes.com/2005/oct...oe-bruegmann23). The second, third, and fifth busiest Amtrak lines are in California. The San Francisco area also has an established transit network and one of the highest transit mode-shares in the US. Los Angeles, when it builds its Measure R investments will have one of largest passenger rail networks of any metropolitan area in the United States.

Vehicle miles traveled have been declining by 1-2 percent for each of the last three or four years. In 2010, the LA/Long Beach/Santa Ana region had the nation's third-worst congestion and the Bay Area had the nation's sixth worst congestion, with people losing more than sixty hours every year due to highway congestion in Los Angeles (http://tti.tamu.edu/documents/mobility-report-2011.pdf)

I am a strong supporter of highways: for ATL, Dallas, and Houston but highways are place specific and makes much less sense in the densest urbanized area in the United States with plenty of transit options.
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  #11  
Old Posted Aug 20, 2012, 5:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pesto View Post
Well, like the say "freedom ain't free"; in fact, it runs about 100B.

The 5 SoCal and 4 NorCal airports are rarely delayed.

Between LA and SF they are jammed never.
Infrastructure of any kind is expensive, yet I don't hear you calling for building no more highways, airports, or spending any more money maintaining the ATC system. The important thing for a modern, workable transportation system is that all three modes - highway, rail, air - be given equal support and emphasis and, face it, we've largely ignored rail for fifty years at least.

No delays at LAX? What planet do you live on. Flew to Colorado Springs Saturday; plane left the ground nearly an hour after scheduled departure time. Return flight landed early, then sat for 40 minutes on the tarmac because there wasn't a gate available.

The 5 through the SJV generally runs smoothly, but once you get into the LA or Bay areas, forget it.

CA needs high-speed rail to supplement the other modes and relieve congestion on the other two. I refuse to fly to SF and back now, but if there were a fast train, I probably wouldn't drive, alone, in my car the way I do now.
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  #12  
Old Posted Aug 20, 2012, 5:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pesto View Post
Gotta read more carefully. Delayed on landing. Delayed on take-off is a given, in fact it is assumed in making arrival schedules.
Oh really? Then why was the flight to CS on Saturday, which came in from Monterey, 20 minutes late in arriving and an hour late in taking off; the flight back on Sunday was 8 minutes late in arriving in CS, and I already told you about the horror show at LAX when we landed. Tell me, do you also believe in Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, and the Tooth Fairy?
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  #13  
Old Posted Aug 20, 2012, 5:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 202_Cyclist View Post
pesto:


Highways are place specific and I need a stronger argument before springing for $13.5B in Southern California and $25B in the Central Valley.

Los Angeles is the densest urbanized area in the United States (http://articles.latimes.com/2005/oct...oe-bruegmann23). The second, third, and fifth busiest Amtrak lines are in California. The San Francisco area also has an established transit network and one of the highest transit mode-shares in the US. Los Angeles, when it builds its Measure R investments will have one of largest passenger rail networks of any metropolitan area in the United States.

Vehicle miles traveled have been declining by 1-2 percent for each of the last three or four years. In 2010, the LA/Long Beach/Santa Ana region had the nation's third-worst congestion and the Bay Area had the nation's sixth worst congestion, with people losing more than sixty hours every year due to highway congestion in Los Angeles (http://tti.tamu.edu/documents/mobility-report-2011.pdf)

I am a strong supporter of highways: for ATL, Dallas, and Houston but highways are place specific and makes much less sense in the densest urbanized area in the United States with plenty of transit options.
Actually, I'm not in favor of spending one dime on highways other than to maintain them. If there's one place in the world that demonstrates the utter futility of trying to make freeways more efficient by enlarging them, it's L.A. There is no way to build freeways faster than the demand rises. Mass transit is the only feasible option and by mass transit, I mean rail mass transit - subways and light rail on dedicated rights of way.
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  #14  
Old Posted Aug 20, 2012, 5:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 202_Cyclist View Post
pesto:


Highways are place specific and I need a stronger argument before springing for $13.5B in Southern California and $25B in the Central Valley.

Los Angeles is the densest urbanized area in the United States (http://articles.latimes.com/2005/oct...oe-bruegmann23). The second, third, and fifth busiest Amtrak lines are in California. The San Francisco area also has an established transit network and one of the highest transit mode-shares in the US. Los Angeles, when it builds its Measure R investments will have one of largest passenger rail networks of any metropolitan area in the United States.

Vehicle miles traveled have been declining by 1-2 percent for each of the last three or four years. In 2010, the LA/Long Beach/Santa Ana region had the nation's third-worst congestion and the Bay Area had the nation's sixth worst congestion, with people losing more than sixty hours every year due to highway congestion in Los Angeles (http://tti.tamu.edu/documents/mobility-report-2011.pdf)

I am a strong supporter of highways: for ATL, Dallas, and Houston but highways are place specific and makes much less sense in the densest urbanized area in the United States with plenty of transit options.
Non sequitur: we spend too much money on highways; therefore we should spend more on useless trains.

Better: we spend too much on highways; therefore we should spend less on highways.
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Old Posted Aug 20, 2012, 5:52 PM
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Originally Posted by jg6544 View Post
Actually, I'm not in favor of spending one dime on highways other than to maintain them. If there's one place in the world that demonstrates the utter futility of trying to make freeways more efficient by enlarging them, it's L.A. There is no way to build freeways faster than the demand rises. Mass transit is the only feasible option and by mass transit, I mean rail mass transit - subways and light rail on dedicated rights of way.
Non sequitur seems to be the order of the day today. I am not denying that the LA and Bay areas are horribly congested; in fact, I make that point constantly and suggest that subway and rail transit within those areas is money well spent (not counting multi-stop LRT that goes for 30 miles through low-density suburbs, which is just ridiculous). Build HSR from Bako, Palmdale, Riverside or Irvine to Union Station and I'm a 100 percent supporter (assuming quality management, serious budgeting, competent oversight and such). Same for HSR, for example from Sactown to Oakland to SJ and SF.

But that in no way implies that it makes sense to connect those cities via train. That would NOT effect internal traffic within those regions in the slightest. Zero, zero, zero.
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Old Posted Aug 20, 2012, 7:40 PM
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This pretty much sums it up-

http://www.timnerenz.com/2012/07/dod...let-train.html

Refute away!
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Old Posted Aug 21, 2012, 3:35 PM
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High-speed rail officials rebuffed proposal from French railway

By Dan Weikel and Ralph Vartabedian, Los Angeles Times
July 9, 2012

Read More: http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la...921,full.story

Quote:
- "It's like California is trying to design and build a Boeing 747 instead of going out and buying one," said Dan McNamara, a civil engineer who worked for SNCF's U.S. affiliate. "There are lots of questions about the Parsons Brinckerhoff plan. The capital costs are way too high, and the route has been politically gerrymandered."

-SNCF built and operates the Train a Grande Vitesse system, or TGV, with 1,100 miles of track handling 800 high-speed trains a day. It carried about 114.5 million passengers in 2010 and has made an operating profit annually.

-In the French view, fast service between the state's mega-regions would provide most of the riders and lead to the system's ultimate success. The French contended that rail service to Fresno, Bakersfield and Palmdale could be accomplished with branch lines linked to the I-5 route and regional commuter service, such as Metrolink.
I thought this was a very interesting article. Amazing what California could have had without all the politics involved, as SNCF is a successful bullet train operator.
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Old Posted Aug 21, 2012, 4:36 PM
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Originally Posted by pesto View Post
Non sequitur seems to be the order of the day today. I am not denying that the LA and Bay areas are horribly congested; in fact, I make that point constantly and suggest that subway and rail transit within those areas is money well spent (not counting multi-stop LRT that goes for 30 miles through low-density suburbs, which is just ridiculous). Build HSR from Bako, Palmdale, Riverside or Irvine to Union Station and I'm a 100 percent supporter (assuming quality management, serious budgeting, competent oversight and such). Same for HSR, for example from Sactown to Oakland to SJ and SF.

But that in no way implies that it makes sense to connect those cities via train. That would NOT effect internal traffic within those regions in the slightest. Zero, zero, zero.
I haven't claimed that HSR would have the slightest effect on travel within LA. It will improve travel between the northern and southern parts of the state, though. As for travel in L.A. - not one dime more for freeways; take some relatively inexpensive steps like synchronizing stoplights; installing protect left-turn lights at every major intersection, and perhaps sharply increasing the price of curbside parking, but the ultimate solution is subway and light rail on dedicated rights of way that stops fairly frequently and is linked to nearby neighborhoods by small shuttle buses running on 5-10 minute schedules.
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Old Posted Aug 21, 2012, 4:41 PM
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Originally Posted by Steve2726 View Post
This pretty much sums it up-

http://www.timnerenz.com/2012/07/dod...let-train.html

Refute away!
Libertarian=nutcase. That's the first point.

The second is that HSR between LA and the Bay Area will very quickly capture a substantial % of the travel market (rapidly growing) because it will, for many travelers, be faster, cheaper, and far, far more convenient than either flying or driving. Its principal customers will be the same as the principal customers on the Acelas between DC and NY and between NY and Boston - business travelers looking to make a round trip in the space of, probably, about 14 hours. The drive takes 5 hours each way, so that's out. Flying can easily take that long if there are flight delays at LAX or SFO or if the flight is late (and they usually are). This man lives on some golf course or some damned thing like that in Florida. What the hell does he know about anything but heat, humidity, and mosquitoes?
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Old Posted Aug 21, 2012, 4:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Krases View Post
High-speed rail officials rebuffed proposal from French railway

By Dan Weikel and Ralph Vartabedian, Los Angeles Times
July 9, 2012

Read More: http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la...921,full.story



I thought this was a very interesting article. Amazing what California could have had without all the politics involved, as SNCF is a successful bullet train operator.
Yep. The other problem is the insistence on running the thing along the old SP right-of-way through the middle of the San Joaquin Valley. I understand why they did it politically, but it was just damned dumb in terms of HSR. Much, much smarter to have followed the I-5 and connecting freeways route.
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