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Caltrain should back away from HSR

Original post made by Morris Brown, Menlo Park, on Oct 23, 2015

Time moves on and it has become obvious that the memorandum of understanding (MOU) between the High-Speed Rail Authority and Caltrain is no longer viable.

Since the two systems agreed to the MOU, circumstances and conditions have changed dramatically. Back then, in exchange for Caltrain allowing the high-speed rail project to use Caltrain’s right-of-way, the rail authority was to fund and construct its own dedicated tracks. In exchange for access to this right-of-way, the authority was going to fund the electrification of Caltrain’s existing separate tracks. All the tracks would have all road crossings grade-separated, and this funding would also come from Proposition 1A bond funds.

With the huge cost escalation of the high-speed rail project, a new plan was conceived. No longer would Caltrain and the high-speed rail run on separate tracks. Rather, they would share a two-track roadbed — an idea dubbed the” blended plan.”

Funds for grade-separating the road crossings now are no longer available. The latest plan shows Caltrain would run six trains in each direction at peak times, and high-speed rail, four trains in each direction. Thus during peak travel times, a total of 20 times each hour, the crossing gates would come down. The gridlock and congestion to our cities thus produced is simply not acceptable.

Adding on to this is the major upsurge in passenger traffic on Caltrain. It is obvious that in the near future, six trains per hour in each direction for Caltrain will not be sufficient.

The Peninsula communities have been unanimous that four tracks along the Peninsula corridor are simply not acceptable. The blended plan is simply not adequate so long as high-speed rail is allowed on the corridor.

It is time for the Peninsula communities to step up and demand that Caltrain dissolve its alliance with the High- Speed Rail Authority. Caltrain will need the full passenger carrying capacity provided by the two-track “blended system” for its own use.

Yes, this will mean the loss of around $600 million that the high-speed rail project was going to provide to Caltrain for its electrification project. New sources for this funding must simply be found elsewhere.


Morris Brown is a longtime
resident of Stone Pine Lane in
Menlo Park.

(this opinion piece was included in the current (Oct 21 2015) print edition of the Almanac, page 18)


Comments (85)

22 people like this
Posted by resident 1
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Oct 23, 2015 at 12:19 pm

Morris - caught your opinion in the SJM today. I totally agree. On the other thread I noted that the city of San Jose has not taken a leadership role in the HSR debate - I think they have enough transportation issues and solutions - they don't need HSR. It is critical that they are involved since the HSR would enter the peninsula from that major city.

I suggested that the HSR can come through the valley and cross the bay on the Dumbarton Bridge rail line and go up to SF on the bay side of 101. That is to satisfy Gov. Brown - who will not be around by the time this happens. And it will give the HSR groupies an alternative plan. Meanwhile the San Mateo cities are doing a great job on their Caltrain tracks and are working on good solutions for the raised berm approach.


19 people like this
Posted by Robert
a resident of another community
on Oct 23, 2015 at 1:39 pm

It's honestly nothing to worry about... HSR is *never* going to make it north of San Jose - there'll be too much grousing and lawsuits and overhead to put it into place. Arguing the merits of HSR at all is one thing, but once the electrification of Caltrain takes place, the Peninsula simply won't need HSR going through our towns.


19 people like this
Posted by resident 1
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Oct 23, 2015 at 4:07 pm

Robert - I will take this one step further - HSR will never make it out of the central valley. The people there are fed up with it. If they can even get the train working between Fresno and Bakersfield it will be a miracle.


18 people like this
Posted by Crescent Park Dad
a resident of Crescent Park
on Oct 23, 2015 at 4:54 pm

CANSR was never going to pay for grade separation anyway. Kill it.


1 person likes this
Posted by southbayresident
a resident of another community
on Oct 23, 2015 at 8:21 pm

Here's an old story from 2010 for those that are not already familiar with Morris Brown and his motivations:

Web Link

[Portion removed.]


16 people like this
Posted by ODB
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Oct 23, 2015 at 8:25 pm

Palo Alto needs grade separation. Other peninsula communities have had it for over a decade.

Palo Alto can't get out of its own way.

Hopefully HSR will be re-voted and put to a merciful end next June.


12 people like this
Posted by ODB
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Oct 23, 2015 at 8:36 pm

From the SJM article of April, 2010:

"He said the legislation that created the bond requires the rail authority to gather all the costs of the $43 billion project before spending Prop. 1A money on construction."

Remember when the project was estimated to cost $43 billion way back when? Now that figure has doubled to $86 billion.


4 people like this
Posted by southbayresident
a resident of another community
on Oct 23, 2015 at 9:04 pm

ODB,

Palo Alto needs grade separation and Caltrain also needs passing tracks with or without HSR.

Logically the greatest need for those passing tracks is halfway between San Francisco and San Jose in the mid-Peninsula stretch between Palo Alto and Redwood City. [2-tracks + 1 passing track each direction = 4 tracks] Simple enough!!! We don't need to waste money building duplicate infrastructure like HSR along the 101 or 280 when one ROW can handle it all more efficiently and provide better service.

Basically the upgrades Caltrain requires to transform itself into a decent mass transit system are exactly the same as required for HSR. Call it "Railway Modernization" if you find the term HSR too polarizing.

Why not let the state pay for the same critical infrastructure improvements Caltrain and local tax payers would otherwise have to figure out how to fund themselves?

Be careful what you wish for if hoping for that re-vote to kill HSR. You will just as well be putting another nail in the coffin for Caltrain.


9 people like this
Posted by resident 1
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Oct 23, 2015 at 10:15 pm

SBR - go up to the Sequoia Station in Redwood City. Do you see room for four tracks? There is a new office building and apartments which are directly next to the tracks. Everyone has moved on in San Mateo County. They are not waiting around for HSR.

What do you propose they do at Sequoia Station? Tear out the giant super Safeway? What you are saying does not match the space available. So where is your logic here.

[Portion removed.]


15 people like this
Posted by ODB
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Oct 23, 2015 at 10:20 pm

Improvements to Caltrain are not sufficient justification for the white elephant HSR promises to be for the State of California. That's what the folks behind the "blended approach" want you to think. Improvements to Caltrain can be made for much, much less than the $68 billion HSR is estimated to cost and should be done with local money, not by plunging the state further into debt.

Caltrain is owned by three counties: San Francisco, San Mateo and Santa Clara. Let them pay for Caltrain improvements, not some poor state taxpayer in Yolo County.


6 people like this
Posted by resident 1
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Oct 23, 2015 at 10:28 pm

Since you bill yourself as a SBR have you noticed that the city of San Jose is consumed with other transportation issues and has no space or time for HSR?
They are the city which HSR has to enter the peninsula from if it goes that route. If they are the entry city and are not participating in this then that is telling you that it is not going to happen.

The better option is to bypass San Jose and come in from the central valley and cross over at the Dumbarton Bridge and come up 101 on the bay side east of 101. We can eliminate all of this hair pulling and still meet the goal of HSR - do you remember the goal? Go from LA to SF in X amount of time. That means no stopping to pick up everyone. If the state sold a specific goal then work to the goal. No money to do that? Gee - what a surprise.


17 people like this
Posted by common sense
a resident of Midtown
on Oct 23, 2015 at 10:44 pm

It's unfortunate that Governor Brown is backing HSR instead of solving the regional commute issues between

1) East Bay & Peninsula
2) LA/Orange County/San Fernando Valley/San Diego

If the $68 billion were spent instead on high speed transit the these two regions, it would solve congestion issues and the housing issues.


13 people like this
Posted by ODB
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Oct 23, 2015 at 10:58 pm

If built, HSR won't cost $68 billion or anywhere near it. It will cost at least double that amount, probably more. How far over estimates did the bay bridge cost?

That's just the capital construction cost. Add to it the ongoing operating subsidy needed to keep those (nearly empty) trains rolling.


1 person likes this
Posted by southbayresident
a resident of another community
on Oct 24, 2015 at 12:02 am

resident 1,

I am sure that person from Atherton could testify he and myself are not the same person. If you don't believe that I don't know what to tell you. I am definitely in favor of the hybrid above ground solutions for grade separations, not ridiculously expensive deep bore tunnels when cheaper alternatives are available.

Funny you mentioned Sequoia Station. That's where I happened to be standing when I read your message (waiting at the Caltrain station). Yes in fact there is plenty of room for 4 tracks here. In case you didn't know the long term plan is to tear Sequoia Station down (Safeway and all) and rebuild it in a more urban format. It will involve eliminating or teducing the large surface parking lot and reconnecting the streets it currently interrupts. I expect there will be a new Safeway similar to what was recently built in Mountain View on San Antonio but hopefully with better quality design.

The new Caltrain / HSR station would shift about a block to the north to allow more space for the station which will need to become much larger than the current shelter. It would be built over whats currently a Caltrain parking lot. If you go to Redwood City's website you can see some of the renderings from at least several years back.

Between Redwood City and Atherton there is plenty of room for 4 tracks as there is already 4 tracks there. Atherton's ROW is plenty wide enough for 4 tracks as well. Look at Google Earth.


Like this comment
Posted by southbayresident
a resident of another community
on Oct 24, 2015 at 3:27 am

resident 1,

(you said) "Since you bill yourself as a SBR have you noticed that the city of San Jose is consumed with other transportation issues and has no space or time for HSR?
They are the city which HSR has to enter the peninsula from if it goes that route. If they are the entry city and are not participating in this then that is telling you that it is not going to happen."

So are you saying that since San Jose is consumed with other transportation issues that include building a BRT line and BART extension directly connecting to the Diridon Caltrain / HSR / Light Rail Station they are ignoring HSR and consider it irrelevant to their future?

Sorry I don't get your logic. I thought transit was supposed to be organized as a sort of ecology where connectivity between different modes was considered a good thing.

What aspects of this 300+ page report did you find lacking?

Web Link

What advice would you of given to the participants in the various community meetings to take the issues more seriously? Was San Jose supposed to high more credible professional consultants? Do you consider Field Paoli, ARUP, Perkins + Will and AECOM amateurs on these subjects?

Are you saying that the City of San Jose which had a big role in influencing the CHSRA to select the Pacheco route over Altamont (because it wants to be on the mainline, not a branchline) is a disinterested participant in the whole process?

Please elaborate.


10 people like this
Posted by resident 1
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Oct 24, 2015 at 3:51 am

I am very familiar with the RWC station. I am usually there at the Friday night music events. And I shop at the Safeway there and Barnes & Noble. I go across those tracks. That shopping center is jam packed on Friday nights. The whole place is jam packed at commute hours. The parking lot next door is a transit center for the train and buses - it is not that big.

On a two track system you have to allow people be able to get on and off - 1 train northbound and 1 train southbound. People are standing there waiting for the train - need crowd space for that. If 4 tracks how do people get on and off the two middle tracks?

If you look at the Palo Alto station you need the same type space for people to stand there and get on and off. How do people get on and off the two middle tracks? Where is the crowd standing while people are waiting and getting on and off?

So you have this vision of tearing the whole RWC shopping center apart? And all stations in between? Are you tearing the PA depot apart? Where are people standing while they are waiting to get on and off in a four track system in the PA statton?

If you go on BART there is one train north and one train south. People are standing in the middle to get on and off. The Caltrain station in the city is set up for multiple tracks but that is a huge amount of space required. That is going to be replaced by the transportation center - a huge new building with multiple levels.

You are not just looking at how many tracks you can fit into the space - you also need to look at how people get on and off the two middle tracks. So you have a vision all along the route to tear all of the stations apart and everything in between?

So you just changed the amount of money required - it is not just the tracks it is also the access to the inner tracks that has to be calculated into the space. It is the eminent domain required to tear all of the houses and businesses out along the tracks to create that space.

Sorry - it is cheaper to run the train over the Dumbarton rail bridge and take it up the 101 - bay side so it is independent of the Caltrain tracks and stations. You cannot tear everything out for a four track system.



15 people like this
Posted by resident 1
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Oct 24, 2015 at 8:25 am

Someone needs to find out how the central valley start-up of this effort is coming along. If the total path is torn up and sitting there with no activity then you have ruined a whole productive swath of the cities. And highly unattractive.

My bet is that the whole empty swath of land will suffer greatly in El Nino. If no rain and no plants on the land then it will blow big time. Fresno is the asthma center for America.

Is this whole peninsula effort suppose to be a distraction from what is going on down there? Any one who has been to the circus knows how to stage manage the show.

My bet is that San Jose is focused on BART and all of the other transportation efforts that zero in on that city, including the Amtrak and Lite-Rail. They also have to figure out how to address the Apple complex.
They are not in a position to tear out existing and planned efforts - in process - for HSR.


9 people like this
Posted by resident 1
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Oct 24, 2015 at 9:32 am

I would just like to add that every discussion on this topic has focused on the net effect of traffic at the cross junctions - main intersections.

No one is talking about the stations - the people standing there to get on and off. The whole reason for the train is to transport people. Where is everyone when the HSR is zooming through at a high speed? Is there also a Caltrain there with people getting on and off? You could have a HSR going north and a Caltain going south at the same tome. Or is the presence of a HSR and Caltrain in a station mutually exclusive?

Who is stage managing this whole circus? You are now talking about a highly developed track management requirement that does not exist or is needed at this time.

I can see a HSR wizzing by at high speed and a regular Caltrain on the other track and there are people walking all over the place. We focus on people getting hit at East Meadow and Charleston but need to focus on people getting hit in the station. This whole game has changed up. And you are expecting us to pay for this?


14 people like this
Posted by resident 1
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Oct 24, 2015 at 11:00 am

I can tell that there is an intensive need to use eminent domain to finance this whole effort. So here is my best idea - at each end of the Caltrain tracks create a station with a turntable. When a train going south comes to the end it gets on the turntable so that it heads north with the engine at the front - with an engineer inside and other brakeman - at least two people - along with sophisticated technology that is looking at the tracks up from to make sure the tracks are clear. That used to be the case ages ago. this is where the engineers could change shifts and take a train off to rest.

At this juncture we are seeing trains with the engine in back that is driving the train from behind. That has caused jackknifing of cars in a disaster. The turntable is a good management tool - the train can be refueled and cleaned inside while on the turntable.

Side note: Dairies use a carousel for milking - the cows get on and are milked and fed as they go around on the carousel. The cows love this and are very happy with this process.

Why does the Caltrain bring this comparison to mind?


6 people like this
Posted by resident 1
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Oct 24, 2015 at 12:39 pm

There is a defunct former Southern Pacific train yard - the Bayshore Yard - Brisbane. Possibly this would be a good place for a repair yard or station. It is near the airport. Brisbane is in San Mateo County. If a massive station is need as an interim point to SF that this would be a good place to put it.


5 people like this
Posted by ODB
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Oct 24, 2015 at 1:25 pm

The notion that they would demolish and rebuild the recently-built Safeway on San Antonio is ridiculous. It is too far away from the ROW to do HSR any good and just think of the expense! There won't be an HSR station at San Antonio anyway, and probably not in Palo Alto, either. Maybe Redwood City. Therein lies another problem with HSR -- they're making a lot of it up as they go along.

Putting HSR out by the bay and getting it away from the Caltrain ROW is the best idea, but I have a feeling it won't happen if HSR is built. I think the back-room politicking, machinations and deal-making have ordained the Caltrain ROW as the eventual HSR route despite the expensive eminent-domain land takings required. So they demolish classroom buildings at Paly or parts of T&C Village to make room for HSR. Who's going to pay to build replacement structures? Or are they going to expand into already-congested Alma street?

More reasons HSR needs to be shot down and hopefully will be next June.


1 person likes this
Posted by southbayresident
a resident of another community
on Oct 24, 2015 at 3:01 pm

ODB,

You obviously misread my comment. I didn't say anything about tearing down the new Safeway in Mountain View. I was just saying that if the Safeway at Sequoia Station was torn down I imagine it would be replaced with a newer model Safeway similar to the Mountain View store on San Antonio (or even downtown Los Altos perhaps).

resident 1,

Engineers and architects tend to think about the circulation issues you mention when they design stations. I trust they will figure it out and as I said I believe the plan is to shift the station a bit to the north to allow more room. The tracks would be elevated and the platforms would straddle Broadway.

As far as I'm aware there have been no detailed plans released on this so we can either make alarmist speculation that no one involved knows what they are doing or try to make an educated guess based on what's been released so far. That's what I am trying to do.

It's not my suggestion to tear down or alter Sequoia Station. Its just what I saw in a planning study from the city. Remember that Sequoia Station including the Caltrain Station are not historic. The mall is 1980's strip mall architecture. The station shelter is a cheapish replica from about the same time. The circulation across platforms at that station is particularly bad. At the very least there should be grade separated pedestrian underpasses. I hate missing trains because another train is already at the station and you can't get across. If the station is elevated it also solves that problem.

From what I've read so far there is nothing to suggest Caltrain / HSR are proposing to tear down any of the historic stations. I believe the intent is to work around those constraints as much as possible.

I would guess that if a smaller station like Menlo Park's is in the way lifting it up and moving it back from the tracks is comparably a drop in the bucket compared to total project costs. It would probably be required anyways in the case of Menlo Park when Caltrain adopts level boarding.


4 people like this
Posted by resident 1
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Oct 24, 2015 at 3:33 pm

ODB - the Safeway in question is at the Sequoia Center in RWC. It is directly next to the tracks. It is not a primitive Safeway - it is a totally up-to-date Safeway comparable to Menlo Park. Any belief that it is out of date is wrong. The gold standard Safeway was developed in Honolulu and all new Safeways are based on that footprint. That is the uniform footprint you see at the San Antonio, Menlo, RWC stores.

I just returned from a tour of Caltrain stations. Some are newly reorganized - the Belmont station is on a raised Berm with an underpass for the highway. It has a beautiful station.

Atherton is a primitive station and barely there. No safety features. No organized building. Walk from one track to the other across black road cover. No wonder they want a tunnel. If HSR flew through there the whole place would fall apart and people would be killed.

The 4 rail system has to be adaptable to all stations it goes through no matter what stage of development they are in. The rails have to match the stations - that is where the people are. And from what I can see there is no room for 4 rails in the stations.

They cannot tear up every station out there - that is total nonsense. There is too much structural buildings and features around most of the stations.

So why don't you tell us how the Fresno to Bakersfield effort is coming along since you are such an insider and expert.


4 people like this
Posted by ODB
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Oct 24, 2015 at 4:07 pm

Unless they've been rebuilt recently, these stations were built by Southern Pacific decades ago using S.P.'s standard architecture templates. California Avenue was rebuilt fairly recently. Palo Alto was built by S.P. in the 1940's and is an historic landmark.

In most cases HSR wouldn't be able to simply demolish and rebuild a new structure on a different spot, or pick up a structure and move it. This gets back to the huge expense of eminent-domain acquisitions over the 50-mile ROW.


Like this comment
Posted by southbayresident
a resident of another community
on Oct 24, 2015 at 4:51 pm

resident 1,

Every complication you cite with providing a new 4 track ROW through Redwood City and new joint Caltrain / HSR station would still occur if HSR would be routed across Dumbarton through the Altamont Pass as you've been advocating.

With the Altamont option it may even be more complicated as it will also require grade separated "flyovers" so the trains can change tracks without crossing paths with trains approaching in the opposite direction. Accomodating that takes some real estate too.

Check the Fresno Bee if looking for status updates on HSR construction or Google the subject yourself like the rest of us do.


Like this comment
Posted by southbayresident
a resident of another community
on Oct 24, 2015 at 5:00 pm

ODB,

Structures the size of Menlo Park station and significantly larger are picked up and moved all the time. That's not a game changer at all.

In case you were not aware at Menlo Park station the historic structure to the south of the station which used to be the baggage / freight room actually used to be much closer to the station building. In the 1980's it was picked up and moved to it's current location to accommodate the current parking layout.

All in all it's been done before and it can be done again.


5 people like this
Posted by ODB
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Oct 24, 2015 at 5:49 pm

"Structures the size of Menlo Park station and significantly larger are picked up and moved all the time. That's not a game changer at all."

California Avenue is pretty well boxed in. I don't know where you'd move it TO, which was my whole point. You need someplace to move it TO and acquire that land if need be. The Palo Alto station has Mitchell Lane in the back and Alma Street/The Circle on the opposite side. That's just Palo Alto. They'll be playing that chess game all up and down the ROW, not to mention the expenses involved in moving all these structures around, acquiring replacement land, etc.

That's why putting HSR out by the bay is a good idea. Better to not even bring HSR up the peninsula at all and stop at San Jose. Let the handful of business travelers take a Caltrain baby bullet to the city. It might add a half hour to the trip, another first-world problem.


3 people like this
Posted by resident 1
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Oct 24, 2015 at 7:14 pm

SBR - I am advocating that the HSR comes over the Dumbarton Bridge and goes up to SF via the 101 - bay side - No interactions with Caltrain. You can save a lot of money by doing that. Or if over the Altamont Pass no reason to come into the peninsula. If HSR ever makes it here then it can rest at the Bayshore Train Yard in Brisbane - you could build a mega station at that location.
I think what you are saying is that HSR is an excuse for what is planned and if it happens or doesn't happen so what. HSR is not the point - you all moving things around is the point here.


5 people like this
Posted by resident 1
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Oct 24, 2015 at 8:07 pm

I took SBR's advice and looked up the HSR - Fresno via the Fresno Bee. Lot of articles out there but the bottom lime is that they are having trouble getting funding. Is that s surprise? And Fresno County is now not for HSR because it was not what they originally voted for. So check it out everyone so you can see what we are dealing with here. They have to get off the ground in the central valley with a proven product before we get involved in any eminent domain issues.
Let's just focus on our issues - the three intersections which can be accommodated with underpasses.


Like this comment
Posted by southbayresident
a resident of another community
on Oct 24, 2015 at 9:31 pm

resident 1,

(you said) I am advocating that the HSR comes over the Dumbarton Bridge and goes up to SF via the 101 - bay side - No interactions with Caltrain. You can save a lot of money by doing that.

You might want to think that through a bit more. Have you looked at the width of the 101's median lately? Not very wide. Even an elevated two track HSR viaduct cannot be supported on piers as narrow as those intermediate overpass support columns that land in the median.

Lane reductions on the 101 would be considered a travesty by the entire Bay Area so I assume that's not what you are considering. Widening the freeway is not really an option either. Theres not much space on the edges either. In case you haven't noticed behind those sound walls and frontage roads there are plenty of homes and businesses too. Their property values may not be as high as in Palo Alto but that is 100% irrelevant to this discussion.

Routing HSR along the 101 would likely have a significantly greater impact to more people overall and cost significantly more as well. Do you propose the HSR viaduct will cross above the current overpasses? If so assume more space will be needed in the median as the support piers will be mighty tall. Do you instead assume HSR will stay at grade in the median with the overpasses replaced by underpasses? I don't even know how many overpasses are between Redwood City and Burlingame / South SF but that none of those options sound very cheap.

By the same rationale used to suggest routing HSR along the 101 or 280 one could suggest that if additional lanes are required for the 101 or 280 the best place to locate them would be on an elevated freeway directly above the existing Caltrain ROW. Sure it would not provide the same benefit as widening the existing freeways but neither does adding 2 tracks along the 101 or 280 provide the same service and operational benefits for Caltrain and HSR.

That's just the beginning of the problems. Then one has to think of the logistics of locating new transportation hubs miles away from their existing locations and duplicating all transit connections or make do with weak transit links in areas inhospitable to walking or bicycling. It would be like a glorified Park and Ride that repeats all the mistakes BART made in their suburban extensions with no lessons learned. Just a bad idea overall.


5 people like this
Posted by Paly Grad
a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on Oct 24, 2015 at 9:52 pm

Thank you Resident 1! I agree that we should focus on our issues - intersections that need underpasses. If you inlcude Alma, I think there are four intersections that need to be addressed


6 people like this
Posted by ODB
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Oct 25, 2015 at 2:58 am

Putting HSR AND ONLY HSR, not Calrain, underground in a single-bore tunnel seems the most practical option. Leave Caltrain and Union Pacific freight in place above ground and grade separate the crossings. Burrowing a tunnel may actually be no more expensive than all of that eminent-domain land acquisition. There may be room for two more tracks here and there along the ROW but I have a feeling space will be limited in a lot of places.

I really don't think the HSR people have done a detailed study of how they are going to fit HSR into the peninsula ROW, i.e. what places can accomodate two additional tracks, where there will be structures in the way, where they will have to take land trhough eminent domain, etc. Except at the HSR station, all of HSR will have to be fenced off from the public yet there will have to be room to board Caltrain.


5 people like this
Posted by ODB
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Oct 25, 2015 at 3:25 am

Web Link

It looks like they originally wanted to have four tracks but later figured out there isn't room for four tracks, and it would be cheaper to share tracks with Caltrain, which will have to be shunted aside onto passing tracks when a HSR train needs to get through. The plan has been amended several times, which tells me they're making it up as they go along, and that all of these improvements to Caltrain are really to facilitate HSR and "Caltrain improvements" are merely a ploy. Never mind that Prop 1A made no provision for improvements to Caltrain when it was passed in 2008. I call it fraud being perpetrated on the voters and taxpayers of California.


4 people like this
Posted by resident 1
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Oct 25, 2015 at 7:56 am

I agree. SBR's argument about 101 was not relevant - no one proposed putting HSR above 101. And taking a lane for 101 was not mentioned so why discuss it.

Reading Google - HSR Fresno articles suggests that they are making this up as they go along.

HSR was proposed to get people from LA to SF in two hours +. Now SBR is talking about all of the "Transit Centers" so the train is really stopping at a lot of places and is a replacement for Caltrain on the peninsula for this portion of it's route.

All of the tearing apart of the peninsula is not going to happen - too much has been invested in upgrading the current housing and commercial along the tracks for ABAG.

In reality ABAG competed with HSR and won. The area in RWC mentioned is not that large. Most other stations are bordered by housing and commercial. The other possible location would be the Bay Meadow development since they have a lot of land right now that is not under construction.

Maybe HSR should come up the east bay and cross under the bay in a tunnel like BART under the HWY 92 bridge. It could have a terminal at the Bayshore Yard in Brisbane a former Southern Pacific location. That is near the airport.

this really not an HSR from my perspective - it is just a fancy train that stops at a lot of places but is not going to get from LA to SF in 2+ hours - not going to happen.


5 people like this
Posted by resident 1
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Oct 25, 2015 at 8:44 am

No artist rendering of HSR shows any overhead electrical system. It has the appearance of a BART. So why are we electrifying Caltrain in preparation for HSR? Another oddity in this whole scenario that does not make sense.

Suggest that we get the great new Amtrak type engines - they are beautiful, fuel efficient, and are operating on some great technology that matches the latest in automation. We could save a bundle here and use some of the money to also get some new cars along with the engines. Since HSR was going to get engines and cars we could work a deal to cost share that portion of the total program.


2 people like this
Posted by Clem
a resident of another community
on Oct 25, 2015 at 10:25 am

This discussion is on the same rails as it was in 2009, based on the same misconceptions. Few people realize just how much land the railroad owns, and what a small cost any property acquisition will cost in the grand scheme.

Here is actual data on the width of the peninsula rail corridor:

Web Link


2 people like this
Posted by Clem
a resident of another community
on Oct 25, 2015 at 10:29 am

Shoot, link fail. Width of the rail corridor:

Web Link


6 people like this
Posted by morris brown
a resident of Menlo Park
on Oct 25, 2015 at 10:43 am

The LA Times has just printed a blockbuster report on the HSR project.

The online version of the special report is located at:

Web Link

You can view a scan of the front page article as it appears in the print edition of the LA Times Sunday paper (Oct 25 2015) by going to:

Web Link


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Posted by southbayresident
a resident of another community
on Oct 25, 2015 at 10:44 am

resident 1,

My argument about 101 is incredibly relevant especially since you and many others keep suggesting it. Not to forget your repeat suggestions for a 280 routing that would have a lot of similar issues.

What exactly did you mean when then you said "up to SF via the 101 - bayside"?

Unless you meant to say you would put it on piers in the bay paralleling the shoreline that sounds a lot like a 101 routing. Good luck getting the support of Save the Bay if a shoreline / wetlands routing is what you propose.

Also for the transit center design I am specifically referring to joint Caltrain/HSR stations like Redwood and Millbrae and how the goal is to help them conform to the basic principles considered best practices in urban planning and design. You can add Mountain View to that mix for those that propose a full SF to San Jose 101 routing.

[Portion removed.]


8 people like this
Posted by Ahem
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 25, 2015 at 10:55 am

Clem,

Wow, CA-HRS looks like a giant land grab. 20-25 years from now, when driver-less electric cars make rail obsolete, the railroad will close their failed rail operations, and builds high density housing in the rail blighted areas, under zoning rules secured for them by the high-density housing advocates.


"Stanford engineers unveil a self-driving, drifting, electric DeLorean"
PA Weekly ~ Oct 21, 2015 Web Link


3 people like this
Posted by resident 1
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Oct 25, 2015 at 11:28 am

I went to the original HSR meetings 100 years ago. This is before 2009. Nothing has changed since then - no progress - - no recognition that time has passed by and other alternatives have been put in place. You would like people to only focus on your message. The picture is much bigger than your message. The more you talk the worse it gets.

As to the 101 - BART works well on an elevated track - one next to 101 - not on 101 would take HSR up to the airport and SF - if the airport is a goal here. It does not need to interfere with any other transportation effort since it needs to meet it's goal of 2.5+ hours - LA to SF. Did you forget the goal - how do you plan on reaching the goal - that was the main selling point.
You can't meet the goal if you are on Caltrain tracks and Caltrain cannot meet it's goal - it is a lose-lose proposition. And since you are busy tearing everything up then it is lose-lose all up and down the peninsula.

You all need to figure out how to create a win-win situation.


7 people like this
Posted by Clem
a resident of another community
on Oct 25, 2015 at 11:45 am

Self-driving cars will still only drive at 70 mph, the drive to LA will still take 5 hours on a good day, and there will still be congestion from legions of single occupant vehicles. The idea that rail will be made obsolete in the next half century is laughable. The simultaneous capacity, efficiency and speed of rail cannot be touched by self-driving cars, hyperloops or whatever next thing you read about in Popular Mechanics.


4 people like this
Posted by ODB
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Oct 25, 2015 at 1:52 pm

HSR on the Caltrain tracks looks like a done deal so all this talk about routes along the 101 or the 280 or the Dumbarton bridge is so much fantasy.

Freeway congestion is freeway congestion -- too many vehicles on the road. This notion that self-driving cars putting Caltrain out of business is laughable indeed.

What concerns me is spending millions on all-new electric locomotives or EMUs for electric Caltrain. That was not part of the package approved by California voters in 2008. They're defrauding the voters and taxpayers.

They deliberately don't show the catenary in artist renderings because they don't want people to see the "ugly wires" that will be overhead. I haven't heard that HSR will have a third rail like BART.

I hear Stanford is working on a self-driving flying carpet -- or is that Google?


6 people like this
Posted by Ahem
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 25, 2015 at 4:17 pm

ODB,

Self-driving cars will be on the road in the next 20-25 years.

Google, Apple, Tesla, all of the major automobile companies, Stanford University, and many other Universities are all working on electric self-driving car technology. With the maturing of the smart phone market, most of the major silicon valley players see self-driving automotive technology as the next big opportunity for their technologies and services. You can walk into a Mercedes dealership today, and buy a car that drives itself at speeds below 10 mph.

The current development time for a new car is 3 years. in the time it takes to construct the already 50 year-old CA-HSR system, the automobile will evolve through 7-10 technological generations. The self-driving electric car is a disruptive technology that will destroy the timetabled, one-dimensional, passenger rail transport business.

The railroads know this. That is why CA-HSR is really a giant land grab disguised as a transportation system. The railroads know they have 20-25 years to completed their corporate transformation from passenger rail operator, to real-estate development company.

The people of California should be supporting the entrepreneurial companies of Silicon Valley who are developing a democratic, networked, on-demand, point-to-point, 21st century transportation technology.

The taxpayers of California should not be supporting a land grab disguised as a dead-end, one-dimensional, 19th century, passenger rail system that will inevitably be built by the state-owned industries of the Peoples Republic of China, who are the current leaders in this moribund technology.


4 people like this
Posted by Clem
a resident of another community
on Oct 25, 2015 at 5:14 pm

Yes. Single-occupant self-driving cars following each other at 10 mph in bumper-to-bumper traffic on 101. That is a visionary and disruptive technological leap that will allow us to progress from wasting time at the wheel of a steel cage to just wasting time in a steel cage. Bring it on!


3 people like this
Posted by Curmudgeon
a resident of Downtown North
on Oct 25, 2015 at 5:28 pm

"...progress from wasting time at the wheel of a steel cage to just wasting time in a steel cage."

You can waste time in an aluminum cage on Caltrain right now. Or you can read, do homework, or surf the. You will soon have the same choice in a custom steel cage of your own.


1 person likes this
Posted by Clem
a resident of another community
on Oct 25, 2015 at 6:05 pm

If anything, self-driving cars will make rail systems more effective by providing fast and convenient first- and last-mile connections. Those who choose to sit on El Camino in their gridlocked self-driving car can enjoy watching Caltrain pass them at high speed. Those who choose to drive SF-LA at 70 mph can do so in twice the time HSR takes.

Self-driving cars are rail's best friend!


1 person likes this
Posted by Ahem
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 25, 2015 at 6:34 pm

Clem,

Curmudgeon has got it right. Either way you are in a metal "cage", but who's cage would you rather be in? The state's or your own? At least the self-driving car is taking you where you want to go, instead of where the railroad wants to take you.

There are a lot of things you can do in the privacy of a chauffeured car, that you can't do on Caltrain. The smart money knows this, and is betting on the new American dream.

"The Big, Bright Green Pleasure Machine" Web Link


1 person likes this
Posted by Clem
a resident of another community
on Oct 25, 2015 at 7:21 pm

> who's cage would you rather be in?

The faster one!

Self-driving cars do not solve the congestion problem. They will marginally increase capacity through more efficient use of existing infrastructure, but this, like adding more freeway lanes, will only induce more demand and fail utterly to relieve congestion.


1 person likes this
Posted by Ahem
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 25, 2015 at 7:39 pm

Clem,

Point-to-point the self driving car will be faster to most destinations.

Trains don't solve the congestion problem either. They just exchange one form of congestion for another. Have you ever ridden the subways in Tokyo at rush hour? Now that's congestion... fortunately the Japanese are by and large clean and polite, except for the "chikan" (guys who grope woman on the trains).


3 people like this
Posted by Clem
a resident of another community
on Oct 25, 2015 at 8:10 pm

For a given infrastructure footprint, trains provide higher throughput capacity (people per hour) at higher speeds and better energy efficiency than cars, self-driving or not, electric or not, ever will. No matter how smart you make a car, it's still one person in a three thousand pound pod inching along congested roads. I'm not holding my breath for a transportation revolution, and if that passes as lack of vision in this valley were everything is possible and the future is now, then so be it.


1 person likes this
Posted by resident 1
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Oct 25, 2015 at 10:18 pm

The artist renderings for HSR do not show any overhead wires. Even the shot with it in the station has no overhead wires. That is because it does not need them. You cannot run that train from Los Angeles, through Central Valley, through tunnels, across the mountains on the expectation that their will be overhead wires on the whole route. The are using a modern engine to haul the train. We can get that same train engine without electrifying Caltrain. Electrification is a needless expense. the most modern Amtrak engines are a hybrid - best technology. We just need new engines and new cars.


1 person likes this
Posted by ODB
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Oct 25, 2015 at 10:32 pm

You're saying HSR will use diesel locomotives? Is there a diesel locomotive that can attain HSR speeds? Then why all this hoopla about electrifying Caltrain, not to mention the millions it will cost?


3 people like this
Posted by Residents do not matter
a resident of Mountain View
on Oct 26, 2015 at 12:39 am

Residents do not matter. HSR will run through your living rooms if special interests bribe enough politicians and bureaucrats.


1 person likes this
Posted by resident 1
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Oct 26, 2015 at 6:09 am

Modern hybrid autos use a combination of gas and self generated electricity.
The most modern engines are hybrids.

As to electricity by itself where in the mountains, tunnels, flat lands is all of the electricity coming from? If this is suppose to go from LA to SF in 2+ hours how is that suppose to happen?

The train has to have a tunnel to go through the Tehachapi's - it can't use the Amtrak because those are running freight with 100 cars. It would need it's own tunnel. that is where this hangs up. That is a huge cost.

Before the drought people just assumed electricity was available by some method. Now in the drought, forest fires, El Nino all bets are off. There will be flooding on the coast and in the valley, land slides like the ones that just happened in SOCAL on I-5 and other Highways.

I think we are the only game in town now - but we need a raised berm approach since we are in an earthquake fault area - multiple faults.


1 person likes this
Posted by resident 1
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Oct 26, 2015 at 6:36 am

In the SJM 10/26/15 front page article - "Tunnel digging may stall finish of bullet train". This article is about the funding issues and problems associated with the HSR. The REAL EXPERTS put their opinions out there.

So the HSR people desperately need money. And if they get it the whole project may still not be achievable. My opinion there are no real experts within the HSR organization only political people.

Keep this whole group out of the Caltrain system and forget electrification of the system. Just get the great new Amtrak type engines.


Like this comment
Posted by ODB
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Oct 26, 2015 at 1:52 pm

Diesel-electric train locomotives have always used a diesel engine to turn an electrical generator. The generator in turn powers an electric motor which actually moves the locomotive. The diesel engine does not directly drive the locomotive as it would in a semi-truck. This is similar to the way hybrid autos work and is how diesel locomotives have always worked from the very beginning. This technology is used on Caltrain and Amtrak today and every modern diesel train set. If that's what you mean by "hybrid", it's nothing new and has been done for decades.

It then becomes a legitimate question as to why catenary should be installed on the Caltrain ROW and the rolling stock replaced with new electric-only units, i.e. Caltrain "electrification". They could do everything Caltrain needs to do with the existing locomotives and rolling stock and save millions. Caltrain does not have to go at HSR speeds. The speed limit along the Caltrain ROW is 79 mph, well within the capability of the existing locomotives which are used for Baby Bullets.


Like this comment
Posted by resident 1
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Oct 26, 2015 at 5:02 pm

Check out Google - Amtrak Locomotives - the ACS 64 is new and replaces the diesel locomotive that have been in use for many years. This is being used on the east coast. If you go to that site they have many type locomotives depending on the intended use with videos of the various locomotoces..

The ACS 64 goes up to 125 MPH and is made in America - Siemens. We really need equipment made in America and uses standard gauge tracks.


Like this comment
Posted by resident 1
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Oct 26, 2015 at 5:17 pm

If you just go to Locomotives you can check out the Electro Motive F125 which is qualified for EPS Tier 4 qualifications. This goes up to 125 MPH.

There is also a NRE series. Looks like there is a lot of competition in the US for new locomotives which are EPA qualified. We have US companies producing new locomotives that are testing out well.


Like this comment
Posted by ODB
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Oct 26, 2015 at 5:38 pm

The ACS-64 is 100% electric. It uses overhead catenary and gets power through a pantograph on top of the vehicle. There is nothing "hybrid" about it. There is no diesel engine on board. If that's what CA HSR will use, there will have to be catenary overhead all along the HSR route, through tunnels, etc., just like the streetcars in San Francisco. Catenary in a tunnel is nothing unusual. How do you think streetcars get through the Twin Peaks tunnel?

Web Link

I believe the only place Amtrak is all electric is the Northeast Corridor.

Again, anything Caltrain needs to do can be done with existing fleet of vehicles -- everything, including Baby Bullets. No need to throw millions at Caltrain for new electric rolling stock which isn't necessary and was never approved as part of Prop 1A.


Like this comment
Posted by ODB
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Oct 26, 2015 at 5:55 pm

The EMD F125 is a conventional diesel locomotive that works as I described earlier. It can go up to 125 mph, not fast enough for HSR which needs top speeds of 220 mph. For that matter, the ACS-64 can only do 125 - 135 tops, too slow for CA HSR.


Like this comment
Posted by resident 1
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Oct 26, 2015 at 6:07 pm

This is not about the HSR - this is about Caltrain. People want a replacement for the existing locomotive. We can get newer locomotives for Caltrain.

Personally I do not care about HSR - they are intent on getting a foreign made train. Japan wants on partner on a mag-lev train.


1 person likes this
Posted by Clem
a resident of another community
on Oct 26, 2015 at 6:13 pm

ODB, you've been overcome by events. Electrification of Caltrain is environmentally cleared, with the last lawsuit being mopped up. The overhead wire procurement is closed with all bids received, to be awarded in the next few months. The new electric train fleet (sixteen 6-car trains) is out for bid.


Like this comment
Posted by ODB
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Oct 26, 2015 at 6:22 pm

Just a few posts ago you were talking about HSR and referring us to a SJM article. Now you only want to talk about Caltrain.

Again, anything Caltrain needs to do can be done with the existing fleet. The locomotives have plenty of acceleration to run trains as frequently as you please, keeping in mind that Caltrain can go no faster than 79 mph. "Caltrain electrification" is but a carrot, the promise of shiny new trains and further gouging California taxpayers for unnecessary expenditures of millions.


1 person likes this
Posted by Robert
a resident of another community
on Oct 26, 2015 at 7:27 pm

@ODB

"Again, anything Caltrain needs to do can be done with the existing fleet."

I'm not sure how you expect to be taken seriously when you're that far off base, seeing as the 79mph speed limit is only a minor concern when it comes to capacity.


2 people like this
Posted by ODB
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Oct 26, 2015 at 8:07 pm

You add capacity with more cars, not electric locomotives.


Like this comment
Posted by resident 1
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Oct 26, 2015 at 8:29 pm

I apologize for that. The SJM article is important because we were consumed by tunnels on the other thread. The SJM article discusses the tunnels, problems digging the tunnels, financial problems, and forecasting for events. The article says that San Jose is the great terminal - so that has some relation to whether the other stations are also going to be great terminals - the degree to which they are torn apart - all is TBD.

Caltrain events are driven by HSR - or the excuse is HSR. So whatever happens to HSR is a blowback on Caltrain - yet to be determined.

Robert - I think that the HSR should go up the east bay and cross over the bay. This could be your train. How would you like that? They could tear up the east bay.

Clem - is there any discussion in the RFP as to what is happening at the depots to accommodate the electrification?


2 people like this
Posted by Clem
a resident of another community
on Oct 26, 2015 at 8:42 pm

@ODB: More cars weigh down the diesel locomotive, which is heavy and has limited power. Electric trains are far more powerful because they don't lug around a power plant. Score: Diesel 0, Electric 1. To add capacity without bogging down speeds, you need more cars that are preferably self-propelled. Score: Diesel 0, Electric 2. You also need more trains. To add more trains you need the preceding train to get out of the way of the following train, in a hurry. Score: Diesel 0, Electric 3. To attract more customers, you need to get them more quickly from point A to B by increasing average speed, which is not at all the same thing as a 79 mph speed limit. That requires high acceleration, which in turn requires not just high power but also many powered wheels to avoid slipping. Score: Diesel 0, Electric 4.

That in a nutshell, electrifying is how you increase capacity.

There are no high-capacity rail systems powered by diesel. They all run on electricity, like BART and hundreds of other examples worldwide.

@Resident 1, yes the RFP prescribes the placement of every electric pole. Palo Alto platforms already have the grounding network and cutouts for the pole foundations.


Like this comment
Posted by Robert
a resident of another community
on Oct 26, 2015 at 8:51 pm

@resident 1

Even if HSR was routed via Altamont/Dumbarton it wouldn't really serve the east bay directly, and I've never seen any serious proposals for a bay crossing further north. However, the long term plans for the Capitol Corridor include an increase of service and running at 110mph through increasing the number of tracks, removing grade crossings, and electrification. Generally those are considered "improvements" not "tearing up the east bay" or however else you'd want to describe it...


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Posted by resident 1
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Oct 26, 2015 at 9:12 pm

Robert - that is interesting - but the Capital Corridor is an Amtrak train. So not sure how you electrify that train. If you are electrifying an Amtrak train that runs from Sacramento to Great America / San Jose than that is a huge expense. Amtrak is not the same agency as Caltrain or HSR.
So that is a new wrinkle. It looks like that will be the HSR route to Sacramento. The plot thickens. You will get HSR via the capital corridor.
It would go from San Jose through the east bay up to Sacramento. Hello HSR Robert. You get to play now with HSR.


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Posted by Ahem
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 26, 2015 at 9:24 pm

ODB said,

"The generator in turn powers an electric motor which actually moves the locomotive. The diesel engine does not directly drive the locomotive as it would in a semi-truck. This is similar to the way hybrid autos work and is how diesel locomotives have always worked from the very beginning"

The way hybrid cars work is really very different from the way a diesel locomotive with electric "traction" motors works. In a hybrid car there is a large battery in between the traction motors and the engine. This is a very important difference. The battery in a hybrid car allows the cars engine to run at a near constant speed that is optimized for low emissions, and the electricity stored in the battery is used to provide power for acceleration. This is not how Caltrain locomotives work. When a Caltrain locomotive leaves the station the diesel engine accelerates, and belches huge amounts of pollution from its exhaust stacks.

However, there are true hybrid locomotives. Hybrid locomotives would have been the most cost effective way to electrify Caltrain, and it would not have required the ugly overhead wiring, but if the tax payer is paying... who cares?

Hybrid trains: Web Link


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Posted by Ahem
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 26, 2015 at 9:35 pm

Clem said:

"Electric trains are far more powerful because they don't lug around a power plant"

Not true. All steel wheel on rail trains need to be heavy to produce friction for traction. If the train gets too light the wheels just slip, so they add scrap metal and concrete underneath to make it heavy enough.

diesel locomotive 0, electric train 0, automobile 1.


1 person likes this
Posted by engineer
a resident of College Terrace
on Oct 26, 2015 at 10:09 pm

When all wheels are drive-wheels, mass drops out of the equation.


5 people like this
Posted by Everything Changes
a resident of Green Acres
on Oct 26, 2015 at 10:16 pm

The reason we should hit the pause button on HSR is self-driving car technology.

HSR was conceived when the landscape of what was possible, and thus the ideas of what was best for our future infrastructure, was quite different.


Like this comment
Posted by resident 1
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Oct 26, 2015 at 10:25 pm

I looked at a map on the HSR site that said "subject to change, March 2015. The HSR map assumes that the train crosses below the bay to Gilroy, up to San Jose. There is no existing rail line in that area.

If you look an AAA map the existing rail line from Fresno goes up to Tracy then comes over the Altamont Pass to Oakland then down to San Jose for the capital corridor.

I am wondering if the problem of tunneling through the mountains from the central valley to Gilroy is cost prohibitive. There is a major dam there and HWY 152 is a problem highway.

Maybe they will switch to the Altamont Pass since there is an existing right of way. I think then they would cross from Oakland to SF via a tube in the bay.

Interesting to see how this turns out.


11 people like this
Posted by Jim H.
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Oct 27, 2015 at 10:36 am

How is the current HSR plan anything close to what the voters voted on?


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Posted by ODB
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Oct 27, 2015 at 3:49 pm

There is no disputing the superiority of an all-electric Caltrain.

"How is the current HSR plan anything close to what the voters voted on?"

There are 58 counties in the State of California. Caltrain serves three of them. If they want to electrify Caltrain, those three counties should pay for it. Prop 1A was passed by all 58 counties in 2008. As passed by the voters, it made no provision whatsoever for Caltrain, not one red cent for electrification, new locomotives or rolling stock, etc. The funds to improve Caltrain would be hijacked from the HSR project. This is not what the voters approved in 2008. It is fraud pure and simple -- the voters never approved it! The PCJPB or the counties that comprise it should find another funding source if they want to improve/electrify Caltrain, rather than bilking 55 other California counties.

I think the "blended approach" is too far along politically to consider other routes at this point. A route which bypasses San Jose is probably politically infeasible. There is a valid argument to be made that dual rail services up the peninsula are unnecessarily duplicative.


2 people like this
Posted by ODB
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Oct 27, 2015 at 4:08 pm

"How is the current HSR plan anything close to what the voters voted on?"

There are plenty of similarities. It is extremely expensive and a boondoggle which will require taxpayer subsidies for generations to come. No formal study has ever been undertaken to determine if there is any demand for this mode of transportation or how it will compete against air and highway travel. They cooked up fanciful ridership estimates on a computer and have foisted those on naive and gullible voters. Those things are all just as true today as they were seven years ago in 2008.


1 person likes this
Posted by Robert
a resident of another community
on Oct 27, 2015 at 4:32 pm

ODB, you're making statements that are flat out untrue:

"As passed by the voters, it made no provision whatsoever for Caltrain, not one red cent for electrification, new locomotives or rolling stock, etc."

Copied and pasted directly from the ballot proposition:

"2704.095. (a) (1) Of the proceeds of bonds authorized pursuant to
this chapter, nine hundred fifty million dollars ($950,000,000) shall be
allocated to eligible recipients for capital improvements to intercity and
commuter rail lines and urban rail systems to provide connectivity to the
high-speed train system as that system is described in subdivision (b) of
Section 2704.04 and to provide capacity enhancements and safety
improvements. Funds under this section shall be available upon
appropriation by the Legislature in the Annual Budget act for the eligible
purposes described in subdivision (d)."


Like this comment
Posted by ODB
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Oct 27, 2015 at 4:47 pm

Robert: Thank you for correcting me on that point.


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Posted by resident 1
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Oct 27, 2015 at 9:48 pm

The Amtrak train goes directly through the Jack London Square main road. The train station is on that thoroughfare. It is very interesting when a passenger train is going through and you are at a festivity at the square,

So that is an interesting wrinkle if they are electrifying the capitol Corridor train. I think that they have to update what they are doing so we all understand what is going on since that train comes into San Jose.

I am talking to the passenger aspect of Amtrak - not the freight trains.

Robert - have you seen any plans for that area?


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Posted by Robert
a resident of another community
on Oct 27, 2015 at 11:17 pm

@resident 1

The capitol corridor vision plan (i.e. very long term) has several alternative routes through Oakland including aerial structures as well as a deep tunnel under downtown Oakland, presumably connecting to BART:

Web Link


Like this comment
Posted by ODB
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Oct 28, 2015 at 12:15 am

Resident 1: There is no freight service associated with Amtrak. Amtrak is all passengers. Freight is handled by Union Pacific.

The eventual plan is to extend CA HSR to Sacramento. That may factor into any plans to electrify the Capitol Corridor.


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Posted by resident 1
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Oct 28, 2015 at 10:22 am

If you go to the HSR Official Site the project is reflected as Phase 1 and Phase 2.

Phase 1 is Fresno to Merced to Gilroy to San Jose and up the peninsula to SF.
Problem with the Merced to Gilroy is that there is no existing right of way for tracks and this whole area is a watershed with a number of major/minor dams. The crossover from the valley is one of the worst highways due to mountain conditions. Tunnel may be required and we already know that a tunnel / tunnel machine is very problematical.

Phase 2 is Fresno to Merced to Modesto to Stockton to Sacramento. All of this is on existing right of way tracks. There is no interlink here with Oakland to San Jose or San Francisco.

The fact that Amtrak would be electrified on the capitol corridor to connect Sacramento through Oakland to San Jose is not on the chart at this time. However Oakland is a growing power house and the UC location needs to be supported.

If SF is suppose to connect to Sacramento then the path is very convoluted and not worth the time.

There is an old railroad bridge on the Dumbarton section that speaks to a time when people had this planned out better. HSR and the powers that be need to be more forthcoming as to how this is all planned out.

Side note: In RWC the high school is directly across the ECR from the Sequoia Station. The station and shopping center is not Santana Row but it serves the purpose with a major market, CVS drug store, assorted shops for students - Old Navy, Pet store, and a See's candy store, Barnes and Noble.

So how does that translate in into a suitable place to tear apart? All of those people in the new apartments are shopping at the Safeway and drug store. That was the purpose of ABAG and they met that goal.


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Posted by ODB
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Oct 28, 2015 at 11:15 am

Web Link


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