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  #3201  
Old Posted Aug 21, 2021, 4:06 AM
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CA High-Speed Rail Authority Approves Plan for Connection into L.A. County

Bakersfield to Palmdale EIR approved, readying the section to catch potential infrastructure funding

Joe Linton
Streetsblog California
Aug 20, 2021

Yesterday, the California High-Speed Rail Authority approved the final Environmental Impact Report/Environmental Impact Statement (EIR/EIS) for the 82-mile $19.7 billion Bakersfield to Palmdale section. That segment would bring high-speed rail into northern Los Angeles County.

The CAHSRA currently has 119 miles of high-speed rail under construction through California’s Central Valley. That initial Central Valley segment will operate between Bakersfield and Merced, with conventional-speed rail connections to San Francisco, Oakland, and San Jose. HSR will reach San Francisco directly some years after that.

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From Bakersfield, building south requires crossing the Tehachapi Mountains, which isn’t easy or cheap. The plan calls for nine tunnels, totaling over ten miles, and fifteen miles of aerial structures. See SBCA’s 2020 interview for more Bakersfield to Palmdale rail details.
. . .
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  #3202  
Old Posted Aug 21, 2021, 6:09 AM
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I'm surprised no stop closer to Mojave since that's where the space port is.
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  #3203  
Old Posted Sep 13, 2021, 7:30 PM
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it's time for our annual update from John at The Four Foot! (who should be on the CHSR PR payroll . . .). This one is an overview of the progress in the last 10 months and he also has a link to a google spreadsheet listing all the projects in CP 1-4 and giving a status update from last year.


Video Link

Last edited by curt-pdx; Sep 13, 2021 at 7:32 PM. Reason: fix link
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  #3204  
Old Posted Sep 13, 2021, 8:29 PM
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California's obnoxious governor recall provision is going to be an ongoing hurdle to the completion of this project. Assuming that Newsom keeps his office, he's going to have to lay low until his second term to back this project - as will all future governors.
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  #3205  
Old Posted Sep 13, 2021, 9:08 PM
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Originally Posted by jmecklenborg View Post
California's obnoxious governor recall provision is going to be an ongoing hurdle to the completion of this project. Assuming that Newsom keeps his office, he's going to have to lay low until his second term to back this project - as will all future governors.
Depends on his margin. Sleepy Dems appear to have woken up in recent weeks and Elder is claiming the election is rigged already because his odds have soured. With the spending bills on the front burner in DC if Newsom pulls out a handy win I don't think that's a recipe for timidity.
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  #3206  
Old Posted Sep 13, 2021, 9:58 PM
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Originally Posted by curt-pdx View Post
it's time for our annual update from John at The Four Foot! (who should be on the CHSR PR payroll . . .). This one is an overview of the progress in the last 10 months and he also has a link to a google spreadsheet listing all the projects in CP 1-4 and giving a status update from last year.


Video Link
This video is depressing, imo. There is still SO much to do to even get phase 1 open, which basically connects nowhere to nowhere. How do we have so little to show for this project that's been underway for so goddamn long?

I know the environmental clearance and subsequent BS lawsuits slowed it down considerably, but even still, it seems absurd to have such a little amount done. This in a flat, rural part of the line. Getting it to SF or LA seems to be a pipe dream given the current project progress and budget. Ridiculous.
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  #3207  
Old Posted Sep 13, 2021, 11:21 PM
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Whats with the blip towards the beginning of the video showing new rail and concrete ties?? Thats got to be for a bnsf shoefly or something right?
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  #3208  
Old Posted Sep 14, 2021, 3:14 PM
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Originally Posted by edale View Post
There is still SO much to do to even get phase 1 open, which basically connects nowhere to nowhere. How do we have so little to show for this project that's been underway for so goddamn long?
They're looking at 21-22 years between the passage of Prop 1A and the opening of the IOS. I assume that it'll take 4 years to manufacture the first group of trains (I seem to recall that they plan to order 16 trains) and then likely 2 years to test and train the crews. So they'll have to place the orders for the trains by about 2023, so after that happens then they'll let the contracts to lay the track and build the electric system.
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  #3209  
Old Posted Sep 14, 2021, 5:05 PM
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HS2 will pretty much have a similar timeline from legal passage to completion. I dont know why so many people think CHSR is so unusual in this regard. Compared to China? Sure. But thats not how the western democratic world works. Cut them some slack... Things are just getting good.
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  #3210  
Old Posted Sep 14, 2021, 6:43 PM
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Originally Posted by Busy Bee View Post
HS2 will pretty much have a similar timeline from legal passage to completion. I dont know why so many people think CHSR is so unusual in this regard. Compared to China? Sure. But thats not how the western democratic world works. Cut them some slack... Things are just getting good.

The part of the equation that couldn't be foreseen back in 2008, or even as recently as 2015, are the monstrous California budget surpluses that have occurred back-to-back-to-back since 2018. Prudently, the initial surpluses were used to shore up the state pension fund. Irrationally, Newsom wants to give the 2021 surpluses back to citizens in the form of no-strings-attached checks in a year when ordinary citizens have gotten one stimulus check after another.

The state now has so much cash it doesn't know what to do with it, yet maintains the dog and pony show with regards to funding major capital improvements like public transportation and CAHSR. The state quite literally has the cash coming in to pay cash in real time to complete CAHSR Phase 1 in the next 10 years. I wouldn't suggest doing so - since the feds usually match state/local dollars, but the fact is that HSR's funding crisis isn't for a lack of available dollars.
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  #3211  
Old Posted Sep 14, 2021, 6:45 PM
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Originally Posted by jmecklenborg View Post
They're looking at 21-22 years between the passage of Prop 1A and the opening of the IOS. I assume that it'll take 4 years to manufacture the first group of trains (I seem to recall that they plan to order 16 trains) and then likely 2 years to test and train the crews. So they'll have to place the orders for the trains by about 2023, so after that happens then they'll let the contracts to lay the track and build the electric system.
This is just to go from not-quite-Bakersfield to Merced, right? 20 years to build a train through farms and Fresno. Absurd.

It's pointless to compare the US timetables for projects to those of China, but it's also totally fair to note that 20 years to build 120 miles of high speed rail that goes essentially nowhere useful is patently ridiculous and unacceptable.
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  #3212  
Old Posted Sep 14, 2021, 8:05 PM
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Originally Posted by edale View Post
This is just to go from not-quite-Bakersfield to Merced, right? 20 years to build a train through farms and Fresno. Absurd.
Correct, plus electrification of Caltrains between SF and San Jose. Also, many UP grade crossings have been eliminated.

Another issue that hasn't been given much attention is that the IOS doesn't include the Bakersfield-Palmdale link through the Tehachapi Pass. This prevents a high-frequency one-seat diesel service between the East Bay and LA Union.

A one-seat diesel service between the East Bay (ACE) and Bakersfield is possible. An idea to build one track on the new HSR line was introduced 1-2 years ago. This would enable a service similar to Brightline in Florida. There would be no electrical system cost, reduced rail cost, and no fencing.

The problem with doing that is that the service would probably have to be cut for 1-2 years to transition over to electric HSR since there would be a lengthy testing and training period. Alternatively, the line could be built out as an electric railway, and duel-mode locomotives could provide a one-seat ride between the East Bay and Bakersfield. This service could probably be retained if the Pacheco Pass Tunnel is built but not the LA approach tunnels, since there would be plenty of track capacity.
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  #3213  
Old Posted Sep 14, 2021, 10:48 PM
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I'm surprised no stop closer to Mojave since that's where the space port is.
Building spaceports in the middle of nowhere is, and always has been, an incontrovertibly asinine idea. As of right now, the price of getting to and from an isolated spaceport is negligible in comparison to the price of spaceflight, but that will not always be the case. When the space economy really takes off, launches will be commonplace near major cities. No company will tolerate having to ship their materials and products to and from random locations in the desert, none of which are even directly served by rail lines. And when space mining and manufacturing companies can fly in and out of cities, the tourism industries wont tolerate random desert ports either.
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  #3214  
Old Posted Sep 14, 2021, 11:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Busy Bee View Post
HS2 will pretty much have a similar timeline from legal passage to completion. I dont know why so many people think CHSR is so unusual in this regard. Compared to China? Sure. But thats not how the western democratic world works. Cut them some slack... Things are just getting good.
Really? HSR 2 Wiki
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/High_Speed_2
Timeline:
2009 Labour government proposes HSR2
2010 Conservative–Liberal Democrat coalition opens public consultation
2012 Secretary of State for Transport HS2 would go ahead in two phases
2017 High Speed Rail (London–West Midlands) Act 2017 authorising the construction of Phase 1
2017 Phase 2a High Speed Rail (West Midlands–Crewe) bill, seeking the power to construct Phase 2 as far as Crewe and make decisions on the remainder of the Phase 2b route, was introduced in 2017.
2020
The main stages of construction officially began on 4 September 2020
2021 Phase 2a received royal assent in 2021.

Planned Completion Dates:
Phase 1 target date: 2029–2033
Phase 2a target date: 2029–2033
Phase 2b target date: 2035
2035 - 2929 = 15 years
2033 - 2020 = 13 years
2029 - 2020 = 9 years
2029 - 2009 = 20 years
Legal passage date was 2017, therefore 2029 - 2017 = 12 years

Whether or not Network Rail will complete the construction on time and on budget is unknown.

Meanwhile, here is the CHSR Wiki.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Califo...igh-Speed_Rail
Timeline:
1996 California High-Speed Rail Authority (CHSRA) was established
2008 Proposition 1A passes approving the issuance of $9 billion in bonds
2010 Federal government grants CHSR $6.25 Billion
2010 The Authority Board of Directors voted to begin construction on the first section of the system from Madera to Fresno.
2012 California legislature and Gov. Jerry Brown approved construction of the high-speed system
2015 Fresno hosted a groundbreaking ceremony to mark the commencement of sustained construction activities.
2019 Parts of the project not already under construction were postponed for a number of reasons

Planned Completion Dates
2029 (Central Valley Segment) otherwise known as the initial operation segment.
No completion date listed in the Wiki article for the entire system.

2029 - 2015 = 14 years
2029 - 1996 - 33 years

What even should be used for the legal passage date, when the CHSR Authority was formed, when Proposition 1A passed, or when the Legislature approved construction?
2029 - 1996 = 33 years (CHSR Authority established)
2029 - 2008 = 21 years (Proposition 1A passed)
2029 - 2012 = 17 years (Legislature approves construction of IOS)



Please do not suggest that HSR2 is advancing as slowly as CHSR.

Last edited by electricron; Sep 14, 2021 at 11:30 PM.
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  #3215  
Old Posted Sep 15, 2021, 12:35 AM
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1996? Are you seriously suggesting that is the starting year? Get outta here with that. Thats bad faith and you know it.
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  #3216  
Old Posted Sep 15, 2021, 2:11 AM
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1996? Are you seriously suggesting that is the starting year? Get outta here with that. Thats bad faith and you know it.
I included other dates as well. You can choose the one you prefer best.
Never-the-less, the CHSR Authority was established in 1996 with the purpose to study, design, build, and operate CHSR trains....
Per the Wiki article linked earlier,
"The CAHSRA was established by an act of the California State Legislature and tasked with presenting a high-speed rail plan to the voters. This plan, Proposition 1A, was approved by voters in 2008 after the presentation and was assigned a $9 billion bond to begin construction on the initial leg of the network."

Note, the CAHSRA was not tasked with presenting higher frequency intercity passenger rail plan. They were tasked with presenting a HSR plan that voters would approve. The results of all their studies were predetermined to be in favor of HSR. They have been blind political activists ever since.

Last edited by electricron; Sep 15, 2021 at 2:24 AM.
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  #3217  
Old Posted Sep 15, 2021, 2:35 PM
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Originally Posted by jmecklenborg View Post
Alternatively, the line could be built out as an electric railway, and duel-mode locomotives could provide a one-seat ride between the East Bay and Bakersfield. This service could probably be retained if the Pacheco Pass Tunnel is built but not the LA approach tunnels, since there would be plenty of track capacity.
I know I argued otherwise in an earlier post, but I'm not sure this works. The new mountain crossings are designed with relatively steep grades to minimize tunneling or open cuts, but the grades require the light/distributed weight and high adhesion/braking power of EMU trainsets. I don't think a loco-hauled train, even with electric power, will cut it.

There's also the issue that the lightweight trains optimized for the new HSL won't be FRA-compliant to mix with freight on the legacy tracks into the Bay Area or LA basin. However, it's possible that they could run heavyweight trains on the HSL and simply avoid the new mountain crossings. That allows Bakersfield-Oakland or Bakersfield-SJ via the existing Altamont Pass line that ACE uses.
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  #3218  
Old Posted Sep 15, 2021, 3:02 PM
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Note, the CAHSRA was not tasked with presenting higher frequency intercity passenger rail plan.
So you're suggesting more diesel passenger trains traveling at a max 79mph on the existing Union Pacific mainline's Class 4 tracks? On new tracks paralleling the UP? On an all-new rail corridor paralleling I-5 (possibly Class 6, enabling 125mph)? You need to be specific.

We see tons of classic concern trolling with CAHSR. It's too big. It's too small. There was too much planning. There wasn't enough. Why does it go to this small city and not that small city?
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  #3219  
Old Posted Sep 15, 2021, 3:09 PM
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I know I argued otherwise in an earlier post, but I'm not sure this works. The new mountain crossings are designed with relatively steep grades to minimize tunneling or open cuts, but the grades require the light/distributed weight and high adhesion/braking power of EMU trainsets. I don't think a loco-hauled train, even with electric power, will cut it.
I imagine that they could safely operate locomotive-powered trains of either type at a lower speed on the climbs/descents, but that would defeat some of the time advantage of the new line as compared to the existing lines.

I'm not advocating for any of this. I think that they need to go all-in from the get-go with high speed trains. If they screw around with compromises then opponents will be able to start all sorts of rumors. They'll make up stuff like the curves are too sharp for high speed trains.
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  #3220  
Old Posted Yesterday, 9:38 AM
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Not to add fuel to the fire, but the longer construction time for CHSR relative to HS2 (Phase 1) is curious when you consider that HS2 involves 51km of dual-bore tunnel and significant station works in the centre of London and Birmingham.
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