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  #3181  
Old Posted Jul 2, 2021, 6:19 PM
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Wut

The amount of money & time it will end up costing to build the very basic central valley portion alone is approximately equal to what voters were promised for THE ENTIRE THING. That is a delivering on your promises problem, not an image one. The project has been an abject failure and embarrassment, unfortunately.
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  #3182  
Old Posted Jul 2, 2021, 6:41 PM
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Originally Posted by jmecklenborg View Post
^The only real "fiasco" with CAHSR is how poorly managed the image of the project is. The public has no idea what is going and so opponents are able to shape it to their advantage. There is no face to the project.

Someone add to this list or correct me if I'm wrong, but pretty much the only other ways this thing could have played out by this point given available funding would have been:
1. Build SF/LA approaches first, which would only be usable by commuter rail until the major tunnels are built.
a) Caltrains between Transbay and Gilroy
b) Metrolink between Burbank and Anaheim
2. Build Central Valley first, but along I-5, which would have no intermediate stations and terminal stations near Los Benos in the north and tiny Wheeler Ridge where I-5 levels out north of Grapevine. No future access to Las Vegas.

Obviously, had Clinton won the White House in 2016 things would be further along. We likely would have avoided Gavin's ambiguous "halt", at the very least. I think when you consider a HSR line paralleling I-5 but with zero intermediate stations and no entrance into either LA or SF you better understand the decision to serve the various small Central Valley cities, which all grew in a straight line along the old railroad.
Starting to award design-build construction contracts with only 15% design completed, as opposed to 30% (some agencies now even do 60% for high risk sections) and awarding contracts before land acquisition was complete was a fiasco that did not involve a poorly managed image problem. A lot of the high spending for this project is paying contractors to be on standby because they were awarded the construction contract but the agency had not yet acquired the land for them to work on it.
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  #3183  
Old Posted Jul 6, 2021, 1:29 PM
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Originally Posted by Eightball View Post
Wut

The amount of money & time it will end up costing to build the very basic central valley portion alone is approximately equal to what voters were promised for THE ENTIRE THING. That is a delivering on your promises problem, not an image one. The project has been an abject failure and embarrassment, unfortunately.
There are all sorts of unfinished highway projects all over the country. Nobody really cares about "highways to nowhere" or "bridges to nowhere" until steel rails are involved - then, for whatever reason, the hair stands up and Americans flip the hell out.

West Virginia is full of highway fragments and bridges to nowhere:
https://www.wvnstv.com/news/west-vir...tructure-bill/

...but the Reason Foundation, Reason TV, etc., are nowhere to be seen.
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  #3184  
Old Posted Jul 6, 2021, 3:00 PM
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  #3185  
Old Posted Jul 6, 2021, 3:02 PM
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Originally Posted by jmecklenborg View Post
There are all sorts of unfinished highway projects all over the country. Nobody really cares about "highways to nowhere" or "bridges to nowhere" until steel rails are involved - then, for whatever reason, the hair stands up and Americans flip the hell out.

West Virginia is full of highway fragments and bridges to nowhere:
https://www.wvnstv.com/news/west-vir...tructure-bill/

...but the Reason Foundation, Reason TV, etc., are nowhere to be seen.
Well, it is not considered as much as a boondoggle because the price tag is far less. The 4 lane King Coal Expressway is around 100 miles in length, while costing around $2 billion to build. That’s around 20 million per mile. Few brand new railroad projects in brand new corridors cost that little.
How much has CHSR cost to date in the San Joaquin Valley?
171 miles initial operating segment is projected to cost over $20 billion, averaging $117 million per mile., almost 6 times more.

Because the West Virginia highway is so short and so cheap to build, few are worrying if the highway will not be completed. People worrying whether California could finish the over 800 mile promised CHSR system by themselves is valid.
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  #3186  
Old Posted Jul 6, 2021, 4:20 PM
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^The cost of a highway doesn't include the cost of the vehicles. The cost of a transit line or intercity rail line, by contrast, always includes the cost of the trains, the maintenance facility, training the staffs, etc. The overhead catenary system and substations for electric trains are very expensive.

Every passenger train wreck is national news. Meanwhile, so many people die every day on America's highways that individual incidents are hardly get local coverage.
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  #3187  
Old Posted Jul 14, 2021, 9:05 PM
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CHSRA, Palmdale announce partnership to advance Palmdale station planning

Antelope Valley Times
July 12, 2021

"The California High-Speed Rail Authority has entered into an agreement with the city of Palmdale to supply matching funds for a grant application to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity (RAISE) program. If awarded, the grant will support completion of the city’s Station Implementation Master Plan.

The Authority is requesting a $1.35 million RAISE grant to fund development of the Master Plan for the integrated, multimodal future Palmdale high-speed rail station. The RAISE funding would enable the Authority, in close collaboration with the city of Palmdale, to advance conceptual design of a world-class rail and transit center in downtown Palmdale.

“We are committed to bringing clean, electrified high-speed rail to Southern California,” said Southern California Regional Director LaDonna DiCamillo. “We are actively working with our local partners on projects such as this, aimed at bringing short and long-term benefits to millions of Californians. High-speed rail service was always envisioned by voters to connect riders across Southern California and statewide – this partnership is another step in making that happen.”

https://theavtimes.com/2021/07/12/ch...tion-planning/
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  #3188  
Old Posted Jul 15, 2021, 6:37 PM
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This is so vague (plus they posted what I believe is a San Jose station rendering):

The Palmdale Station will serve as a connection point for California high-speed rail, Southern California Regional Rail Authority (Metrolink) and Brightline West, creating a seamless connection between California high-speed rail and Brightline’s planned high-speed rail service to Las Vegas via Palmdale.



How do they define "seamless connection"? Having to board a CAHSR train and then transfer to a Brightline/Virgin/Blue Origin/Pets.com train in Palmdale isn't "seamless", even if they build flying crossovers and you're able to walk across an island platform to a Las Vegas train that leaves 5 minutes after CAHSR arrives.

The LA>LV scheduling will be odd in any transfer scenario since CAHSR express trains, which will not stop in Palmdale or travel on any shared LVHSR track, will nevertheless influence the Las Vegas schedule.

Any HSR system like what is being built has 12 time slots, per direction, per hour. But a system as complex as CASHR will be at full build-out means express/skip-stop/local won't progress in the same order during differing hours with similar service levels. This means some Las Vegas-bound trains won't have enough room for everyone who seeks to transfer but another leaving just 10 minutes later might only be a quarter-full.
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  #3189  
Old Posted Jul 15, 2021, 7:09 PM
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Yeah that rendering is super old, probably not Palmdale and pretty lazy on the newspapers part. I'm not sure it ever said, but I always associated the rendering with Bakersfield.

EDIT: Actually it may be depicting SJ Diridon
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Last edited by Busy Bee; Jul 15, 2021 at 7:41 PM. Reason: whoops
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  #3190  
Old Posted Jul 15, 2021, 7:10 PM
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Seems like capacity issues are a good problem to have IMO…. I'm finding it hard to believe that you would encounter such problems, but I suppose it's possible in a few generations after the CAHSR system is completed.

Designing a true 3-legged station is very difficult, certainly if you want the station near downtown. You're always gonna have a right-way transfer (which can be through-routed) and a wrong-way transfer where people need to change trains. Or you can do a T-shaped station where all Vegas passengers need to change trains. Possibly you can address the issue of wrong-way transfers with a reversing move out of the station, but this would constrain the capacity of the system. Or a turning loop, but good luck finding that much real estate near downtown Palmdale. A lot will depend on the alignment of the High Desert Freeway and where it enters Palmdale... Brightline is just piggybacking on LA Metro's freeway alignment.

Also can someone explain to me why all the emphasis is on Palmdale and not Lancaster? Palmdale seems like a relative backwater, with no downtown to speak of. Lancaster has a mature downtown with a great, walkable main street. Palmdale has aerospace jobs, I guess?
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  #3191  
Old Posted Jul 15, 2021, 7:30 PM
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Aside from the impossible current politics, why isn't Brightline West just part of CHSR again? I have a sneaking suspicion that in 20 years it will be.
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  #3192  
Old Posted Jul 15, 2021, 8:06 PM
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Originally Posted by ardecila View Post
Also can someone explain to me why all the emphasis is on Palmdale and not Lancaster? Palmdale seems like a relative backwater, with no downtown to speak of. Lancaster has a mature downtown with a great, walkable main street. Palmdale has aerospace jobs, I guess?
I looked and Palmdale and Lancaster have approximately the same size population (my condolences to the 300,000 people who live in these two cities) and Palmdale is closer to the LA basin.

Additionally, LA World Airports (LAWA) owns the airport at Palmdale, which has three long runways. For decades LAWA has wanted to turn the Palmdale airport into another international airport for Southern California, with it served by high-speed rail. I guess dreams die hard.
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  #3193  
Old Posted Jul 15, 2021, 8:18 PM
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Originally Posted by ardecila View Post
Seems like capacity issues are a good problem to have IMO…. I'm finding it hard to believe that you would encounter such problems, but I suppose it's possible in a few generations after the CAHSR system is completed.

Designing a true 3-legged station is very difficult, certainly if you want the station near downtown.
In theory, the improved signaling enabled by various new technologies should enable HSR trains to operate closer to one-another. Depending on which article you read, HS2 in England will have 14-18 trains per hour. If we get well north of the old standard of 12 trains per hour, then there will be plenty of capacity for a few LA Union to Las Vegas trains per hour, even in the event of the full CAHSR Phase 1/2 build-out.

Another thing I just thought of is that having trains travel from Las Vegas to NoCal via a wye north of the station is possible, but having them stop at the Palmdale station would require extravagant trackwork to the south to avoid a backing movement. More likely I'd expect any train on this route to simply skip the Palmdale location. But like so much about Xpress West/Brightline/Virgin, we don't hear specifics.

Last edited by jmecklenborg; Jul 16, 2021 at 4:44 PM.
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  #3194  
Old Posted Jul 15, 2021, 8:52 PM
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Aside from the impossible current politics, why isn't Brightline West just part of CHSR again? I have a sneaking suspicion that in 20 years it will be.
Brightline has previously completed construction and actually run trains (on a much smaller budget!)
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  #3195  
Old Posted Jul 16, 2021, 12:51 AM
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Originally Posted by jmecklenborg View Post
Another thing I just thought of is that having trains travel from Las Vegas to NoCal via a wye north of the station is possible, but having them stop at the Palmdale station would require extravagant trackwork to the south to avoid a backing movement. More likely I'd expect any train on this route to simply skip the Palmdale location. But like so much about Xpress West/Brightline/Virgin, we don't hear specifics.
It looks like this is the plan, yes:
https://hsr.ca.gov/wp-content/upload...le_Station.pdf

The High Desert Corridor will link to the HSR mainline north of downtown Palmdale, with a connection pointing south only. A north connection is contemplated as well but seems to be a lower priority - its inclusion in the EIS means it can be built without additional environmental work in the future.

The more recent plans in the Final EIS confirm that the downtown Palmdale section will be 6 tracks of HSR, with express HSR in the middle, local HSR platform tracks outside of that, and High Desert Corridor tracks on the outside with a cross-platform connection to the local HSR trains. Plus two tracks for Metrolink to the east of that, so 8 tracks total.

I will repeat that it is absurd to place such a huge transit hub less than 1 mile from this:
https://goo.gl/maps/sboekZwDSKCX6kkn7
I sure hope there are some highrises included in that station plan.
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  #3196  
Old Posted Jul 16, 2021, 5:23 PM
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Originally Posted by ardecila View Post
It looks like this is the plan, yes:
https://hsr.ca.gov/wp-content/upload...le_Station.pdf
Thanks for the link.

Various online sources peg the Palmdale/Lancaster/Antelope Valley combined population at 475,000-500,000. This puts it at the same level as Fresno - so while not a big area, a bit more significant than most assume.

The full build-out of CAHSR and LVHSR will make this a much more practical area to live in the future than it is now. What's crazy to think about is if it becomes too big there will be a push to have CAHSR express trains stop there in order to shorten the travel time to/from San Jose and San Francisco, to the detriment of LA<>SF travelers.

Last edited by jmecklenborg; Jul 16, 2021 at 7:22 PM.
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  #3197  
Old Posted Jul 16, 2021, 5:30 PM
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I'm not arguing the need for a station in the Antelope Valley somewhere, I just don't get why you'd choose Palmdale over Lancaster. The whole region is a sprawly mess, but Lancaster is the most established center and the only area that even remotely resembles urbanism.

Downtown Lancaster:
https://goo.gl/maps/D9E4fEPHf74Bibqo6

"Downtown" Palmdale:
https://goo.gl/maps/vY586djnyDfgVNCy5
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  #3198  
Old Posted Jul 16, 2021, 6:01 PM
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Originally Posted by ardecila View Post
I'm not arguing the need for a station in the Antelope Valley somewhere, I just don't get why you'd choose Palmdale over Lancaster. The whole region is a sprawly mess, but Lancaster is the most established center and the only area that even remotely resembles urbanism.

Downtown Lancaster:
https://goo.gl/maps/D9E4fEPHf74Bibqo6

"Downtown" Palmdale:
https://goo.gl/maps/vY586djnyDfgVNCy5
Fair enough. Lancaster has a far more significant downtown than I thought it did. When I grew up in Southern California 20 - 30 years ago, both Lancaster and Palmdale were mostly tumbleweed and either mobile homes or planned communities.
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  #3199  
Old Posted Jul 16, 2021, 6:17 PM
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It seems to me the driving force behind the Palmdale station choice is the fact that at least some Las Vegas HSR trains (who knows what it will eventually be called, and furthermore who will be operating it) will eventually be routed to LAUS. A LV bound train would be going that much out of it's way to reach Lancaster(if it was the CHSR station instead of Palmdale) and north of the designated High Desert Corridor.
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  #3200  
Old Posted Jul 16, 2021, 6:49 PM
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Fair enough. Lancaster has a far more significant downtown than I thought it did. When I grew up in Southern California 20 - 30 years ago, both Lancaster and Palmdale were mostly tumbleweed and either mobile homes or planned communities.
Lancaster actually won design awards for their downtown... a lot of the denser development is newish.

https://www.cnu.org/what-we-do/build...ster-boulevard

So there is hope for Palmdale, but they have to WANT a downtown like this or it won't happen. I'm not optimistic.
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