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#1 johnny.menhennet

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Posted 17 November 2011 - 11:24 PM

I copied this from an article on the main Google News page, so obviously important:


From the LA Times:

The U.S. Senate approved a package of legislation Thursday night that eliminates future funding for high-speed rail projects, including the California bullet train. The vote, coming after a similar vote in the House of Representatives, leaves the future of the ambitious state project to create a new rail system from Southern California to the Bay Area uncertain. The state has less than 15% of the funds needed for the $98.5-billion project.


See link for the full text: LA Times

So without any federal funding, it is now unlikely that even the kind of nowhere to nowhere line in the Central Valley may be halted... not good news for high speed rail, but maybe it will force the corrupt CHSRA to step forward and actually do something useful and wastefu.

Moderator edit for compliance with copyright requirements

Amtrak: Pacific Surfliner (100000000000), Southwest Chief (5), California Zephyr (1), Coast Starlight (6), Capitol Corridor (1), Empire Builder (2), Acela Express (1), LSL (1), NE Regional (2)
Non-Amtrak: NCTD Coaster (at least 20), Metrolink (4), SD Trolley (at least 20), LACMTA Red Line (at least 50), Seattle Streetcar (1), Chicago 'L' (probably 13), NYC Subway (probably 15), WMATA Mass Transit (probably 20), LIRR (1), Las Vegas Monorail (at least 12), MBTA Mass Transit (16), NJ Transit commuter rail (3), I'm sure there are more that I can't think of right now

upcoming Amtrak: Pacific Surfliner (10000000000 more)
upcoming non-Amtrak: Coaster, Red Line/Expo Line in LA, NJ Transit (5-10)

Pretty good for a 16 year old :)


#2 Anderson

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Posted 18 November 2011 - 04:31 AM

...could you explain that sentence at the end (both the bit about CHSRA being corrupt as well as "do something useful and wasteful", which seems like an oxymoronic suggestion for reasons that I think are obvious).
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#3 George Harris

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Posted 18 November 2011 - 05:13 PM

The article is misleading in that it is talking about future funding, not money already appropriated. The funding to get the initial segmetn going is already appropriated.

Go here: www.cahighspeedrail.ca.gov/Business_Plan_reports.aspx
You will see the draft 2012 business plan and a number of other useful documents.
The document starts off with a 12 page executive summary and ends with 9 pages of information in the form of answers to "frequently asked questions" Would suggest starting there and then going deeper if you want to. AS yet I have only skimmed it.

There are a number of other documents to be found on this site as well for those that want to dig into things.

#4 Anderson

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Posted 18 November 2011 - 07:49 PM

George,
I've looked through the plan. I've actually got a serious question: Would it be plausible, absent future funding, for CA to use $5 billion of the $12 billion they have available ($3 billion federal, $9 billion in bonds) on the initial valley segment and then to use at least some of the rest to get some sort of passenger link from LA to Bakersfield? As things stand, with the new alignment in the valley and something going to LA, I'd think you could at least manage a substantially time-improved run (the initial segment is about 130 miles long), and I'm hard-pressed to see a conventional line eating up $7 billion since you could cut down on at least a portion of the gratuitous tunneling that HSR is likely to require.

Yes, I know this wouldn't be the project of everyone's dreams, but it would both be better than nothing and it would enable direct downtown-to-downtown service if you could manage a link with Caltrain (and you'd at least have direct service between the Bay Area and LA even without that).

Edited by Anderson, 18 November 2011 - 07:50 PM.

Capitol Limited (7), CA Zephyr (4) Lake Shore Limited (1), Acela (2), NE Regional (2), Sliver Meteor (4)
Upcoming: Silver Meteor (1), Lake Shore Limited (1), SW Chief (2), MO River Runner (1), Texas Eagle (1)
Possibly Upcoming: Either Texas Eagle (1), Capitol Limited (1), Silver Meteor (2) or Texas Eagle (1), Capitol Limited (1), Silver Meteor (1)

#5 johnny.menhennet

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Posted 19 November 2011 - 05:00 PM

...could you explain that sentence at the end (both the bit about CHSRA being corrupt as well as "do something useful and wasteful", which seems like an oxymoronic suggestion for reasons that I think are obvious).



I'm sorry... I meant to add a not wasteful, and when I said that, I was referrng to the plan to start in the Central Valley... I was implying that they don't have any thing to show so far for the hundreds of millions just spent on consulting... sorry that this post turned out sloppy too, first time "attempting" to post any news article... my apologies :unsure:

Amtrak: Pacific Surfliner (100000000000), Southwest Chief (5), California Zephyr (1), Coast Starlight (6), Capitol Corridor (1), Empire Builder (2), Acela Express (1), LSL (1), NE Regional (2)
Non-Amtrak: NCTD Coaster (at least 20), Metrolink (4), SD Trolley (at least 20), LACMTA Red Line (at least 50), Seattle Streetcar (1), Chicago 'L' (probably 13), NYC Subway (probably 15), WMATA Mass Transit (probably 20), LIRR (1), Las Vegas Monorail (at least 12), MBTA Mass Transit (16), NJ Transit commuter rail (3), I'm sure there are more that I can't think of right now

upcoming Amtrak: Pacific Surfliner (10000000000 more)
upcoming non-Amtrak: Coaster, Red Line/Expo Line in LA, NJ Transit (5-10)

Pretty good for a 16 year old :)


#6 leemell

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Posted 19 November 2011 - 05:44 PM

I copied this from an article on the main Google News page, so obviously important:


From the LA Times:

The U.S. Senate approved a package of legislation Thursday night that eliminates future funding for high-speed rail projects, including the California bullet train. The vote, coming after a similar vote in the House of Representatives, leaves the future of the ambitious state project to create a new rail system from Southern California to the Bay Area uncertain. The state has less than 15% of the funds needed for the $98.5-billion project.


See link for the full text: LA Times

So without any federal funding, it is now unlikely that even the kind of nowhere to nowhere line in the Central Valley may be halted... not good news for high speed rail, but maybe it will force the corrupt CHSRA to step forward and actually do something useful and wastefu.

Moderator edit for compliance with copyright requirements


You do know that to build a system you have to start somewhere and in case you didn't know it Fresno and Bakersfield are the 5th and 10th largest cities in California and do not take kindly to being called "nowhere". The Interstate HIghway system likewise began in "the middle of nowhere" to become 40,000 miles of highway.

Please supply details your accusation of the "corrupt CHSRA".

#7 George Harris

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Posted 19 November 2011 - 10:22 PM

George,
I've looked through the plan. I've actually got a serious question: Would it be plausible, absent future funding, for CA to use $5 billion of the $12 billion they have available ($3 billion federal, $9 billion in bonds) on the initial valley segment and then to use at least some of the rest to get some sort of passenger link from LA to Bakersfield? As things stand, with the new alignment in the valley and something going to LA, I'd think you could at least manage a substantially time-improved run (the initial segment is about 130 miles long), and I'm hard-pressed to see a conventional line eating up $7 billion since you could cut down on at least a portion of the gratuitous tunneling that HSR is likely to require.

Yes, I know this wouldn't be the project of everyone's dreams, but it would both be better than nothing and it would enable direct downtown-to-downtown service if you could manage a link with Caltrain (and you'd at least have direct service between the Bay Area and LA even without that).

The general thought of a lot of people in and around this project is that the logical next step after Fresno-Bakersfield is to go across the mountain to get to some point on the LA Basin side of the hill from Bakersfield. Unfortunately, getting a line good for 79, 90, or even 110 mph will cost far more than 1/2 of the cost of a line good for 220 mph. I have a sneaky suspicion that the cost would probably be somewhere in the 80% to 90% range of the cost of a 220 mph line, if any cheaper at all. Any line through the Tehachapis will have lots of bridges and tunnels if good for anything beyond very slow speeds. Then there is the issue of getting the EIS approvals and dealing with the NIMBY's. That will be the same for anything. Also, if we build it for diesel operation, it will either require a lot of power, or climb at slow speed. Reducing the grade is counterproductive if the elevation difference to be climbed is the same. Short and steep is better than longer and flatter in both energy and time, unless the steep is beyond the power necessary to climb at all.

Yes, leemell, you have to start somewhere. No matter where the line starts someone, or even lots of someones will think it is the wrong place. You have to take a balance between the ridership demand and the ability to get something done. It was not by accident that in general the rural sections of the interstates were built before the urban sections. In fact, under the current situation where the flood of reports and ease with which every little pressure group, legitamte or otherwise, can stop things, most of the interstate system and probably almost all of the urban portions would not have been built at all. If you have a better idea of where to start, don't keep it a secret, but be sure to bring a large checkbook, because in many ways this section is the "low hanging fruit" in both implementation time and cost.

#8 Trogdor

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Posted 19 November 2011 - 10:31 PM

In fact, under the current situation where the flood of reports and ease with which every little pressure group, legitamte or otherwise, can stop things, most of the interstate system and probably almost all of the urban portions would not have been built at all.


Ah, if only we had this kind of activism in the 1950s and 60s....but alas, a man can dream of what could have been.
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#9 Anderson

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Posted 20 November 2011 - 07:32 AM

George,
Thanks for the thoughts. I'd basically be assuming slow running in the 50 MPH range through at least some of the mountain portions to hold down the cost...basically, I'd be looking for something that is at least vaguely time-competitive with the bus connection (though you'd be able to make up some lost time in the mountains with the existing Metrolink tracks with some improvement, I think...those should be good for going at least 70 MPH in places, seeing as Metrolink is able to run express trains from Palmdale to LAX in just a hair under 90 minutes (and dropping the remaining stops would , and I'd be shocked if they can make some of the areas in the mountains southbound at full speed.

Of course, there's always the question of how much could be accomplished with some track work and so forth, but I do definitely see your point. I suspect the question does come down to a combination of what route you use, how much you're willing to spend to straighten the track out, and so forth.

By the way, two other questions:
1) How much is the link from San Jose to the Valley Line expected to cost, and is there existing RoW that a redirected San Joaquin could use to get to San Francisco?
2) Is there a way that a train could get from Bakersfield to LAX quicker than Antelope Valley would seem to allow?
Capitol Limited (7), CA Zephyr (4) Lake Shore Limited (1), Acela (2), NE Regional (2), Sliver Meteor (4)
Upcoming: Silver Meteor (1), Lake Shore Limited (1), SW Chief (2), MO River Runner (1), Texas Eagle (1)
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#10 afigg

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Posted 20 November 2011 - 12:17 PM

Of course, there's always the question of how much could be accomplished with some track work and so forth, but I do definitely see your point. I suspect the question does come down to a combination of what route you use, how much you're willing to spend to straighten the track out, and so forth.

By the way, two other questions:
1) How much is the link from San Jose to the Valley Line expected to cost, and is there existing RoW that a redirected San Joaquin could use to get to San Francisco?
2) Is there a way that a train could get from Bakersfield to LAX quicker than Antelope Valley would seem to allow?

I agree with Mr. Harris that the cost of building a slower but decent average speed diesel power line from Bakersfield to Palmdale and to LA may be a significant percentage of the cost of building a true HSR line. The route from Bakersfield to LA, whichever actual route is chosen, will have to go through some of the most challenging terrain, geography, and elevation changes of any prospective HSR or passenger train corridor in the US. Given the cost and the years it will take either way and the political challenges of building a new passenger corridor from Bakersfield to LA, might as well get it right the first time.

There may be cost compromises such as running the HSR trains at slower speeds through the tunnels to allow for smaller tunnel sizes or use steeper grades for shorter routes. The faster the speed the larger the tunnel diameter has to be to prevent pressure shockwaves from injuring the passengers. These sort of details and design issues are discussed in the many, many engineering and study documents on the CHSRA website. Here are the CHSRA Bakersfield to Palmdale studies, presentations, alternative route analysis, etc. Click on the Project Section, Library, Studies links on the right side for days and days of reading material if you are interested.

#11 leemell

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Posted 20 November 2011 - 03:53 PM


George,
I've looked through the plan. I've actually got a serious question: Would it be plausible, absent future funding, for CA to use $5 billion of the $12 billion they have available ($3 billion federal, $9 billion in bonds) on the initial valley segment and then to use at least some of the rest to get some sort of passenger link from LA to Bakersfield? As things stand, with the new alignment in the valley and something going to LA, I'd think you could at least manage a substantially time-improved run (the initial segment is about 130 miles long), and I'm hard-pressed to see a conventional line eating up $7 billion since you could cut down on at least a portion of the gratuitous tunneling that HSR is likely to require.

Yes, I know this wouldn't be the project of everyone's dreams, but it would both be better than nothing and it would enable direct downtown-to-downtown service if you could manage a link with Caltrain (and you'd at least have direct service between the Bay Area and LA even without that).



Yes, leemell, you have to start somewhere. No matter where the line starts someone, or even lots of someones will think it is the wrong place. You have to take a balance between the ridership demand and the ability to get something done. It was not by accident that in general the rural sections of the interstates were built before the urban sections. In fact, under the current situation where the flood of reports and ease with which every little pressure group, legitamte or otherwise, can stop things, most of the interstate system and probably almost all of the urban portions would not have been built at all. If you have a better idea of where to start, don't keep it a secret, but be sure to bring a large checkbook, because in many ways this section is the "low hanging fruit" in both implementation time and cost.


That is exactly the point I was trying to make in very short simple sentences for the OP.

#12 Devil's Advocate

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Posted 20 November 2011 - 04:08 PM

Could some of the enormous cost estimates for CA's HSR have come from issues related to designing and building a system that can survive major earthquakes? This seems like a rather obvious engineering issue and money consideration, but for some reason I don't recall hearing anyone mention it in all the posts and threads I've read about it. Amazingly enough Japan's HSR infrastructure seems to have fared surprisingly well considering the circumstances. I only wish I could say the same for their infamous nuclear industry.

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Over 50,000 people just like you recently signed a petition to expand high speed passenger rail in the United States of America.

Long live The Coast Starlight, The California Zephyr, The Empire Builder, The Southwest Chief, and The Canadian.


#13 jis

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Posted 20 November 2011 - 05:12 PM

Amazingly enough Japan's HSR infrastructure seems to have fared surprisingly well considering the circumstances. I only wish I could say the same for their infamous nuclear industry.

The Japanese HSR control system is hooked in with the amazingly good early detection system that the Japanese operate island wide. That is what has been responsible for zero casualties on the HSR from earthquakes. I have no idea if California has anything remotely resembling that to hook into.

#14 George Harris

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Posted 20 November 2011 - 06:30 PM


Amazingly enough Japan's HSR infrastructure seems to have fared surprisingly well considering the circumstances. I only wish I could say the same for their infamous nuclear industry.

The Japanese HSR control system is hooked in with the amazingly good early detection system that the Japanese operate island wide. That is what has been responsible for zero casualties on the HSR from earthquakes. I have no idea if California has anything remotely resembling that to hook into.

The success of the Japanese lines in earthquakes due to one main factor: The nature of the Japanese concrete slab support under the rails allowed the derailed train in the one earthquake caused derailment to simply slide to a stop along the concrete. Some cars were tilted, but there was no overturning. Everybody literally walked off.

The value of earthquake detection systems is highly overrated. The warning time is measures in seconds, if that. Earthquake are not predicitble to any meaningful level of certainty with current technology.

#15 Anderson

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Posted 21 November 2011 - 04:10 PM



Amazingly enough Japan's HSR infrastructure seems to have fared surprisingly well considering the circumstances. I only wish I could say the same for their infamous nuclear industry.

The Japanese HSR control system is hooked in with the amazingly good early detection system that the Japanese operate island wide. That is what has been responsible for zero casualties on the HSR from earthquakes. I have no idea if California has anything remotely resembling that to hook into.

The success of the Japanese lines in earthquakes due to one main factor: The nature of the Japanese concrete slab support under the rails allowed the derailed train in the one earthquake caused derailment to simply slide to a stop along the concrete. Some cars were tilted, but there was no overturning. Everybody literally walked off.

The value of earthquake detection systems is highly overrated. The warning time is measures in seconds, if that. Earthquake are not predicitble to any meaningful level of certainty with current technology.


True, but on a bullet train, seconds can mean a substantial difference in the speed you're going when the quake hits. You can't get to a complete stop, but I think cutting that speed back even by a small amount counts for something.
Capitol Limited (7), CA Zephyr (4) Lake Shore Limited (1), Acela (2), NE Regional (2), Sliver Meteor (4)
Upcoming: Silver Meteor (1), Lake Shore Limited (1), SW Chief (2), MO River Runner (1), Texas Eagle (1)
Possibly Upcoming: Either Texas Eagle (1), Capitol Limited (1), Silver Meteor (2) or Texas Eagle (1), Capitol Limited (1), Silver Meteor (1)

#16 johnny.menhennet

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Posted 21 November 2011 - 05:49 PM




Amazingly enough Japan's HSR infrastructure seems to have fared surprisingly well considering the circumstances. I only wish I could say the same for their infamous nuclear industry.

The Japanese HSR control system is hooked in with the amazingly good early detection system that the Japanese operate island wide. That is what has been responsible for zero casualties on the HSR from earthquakes. I have no idea if California has anything remotely resembling that to hook into.

The success of the Japanese lines in earthquakes due to one main factor: The nature of the Japanese concrete slab support under the rails allowed the derailed train in the one earthquake caused derailment to simply slide to a stop along the concrete. Some cars were tilted, but there was no overturning. Everybody literally walked off.

The value of earthquake detection systems is highly overrated. The warning time is measures in seconds, if that. Earthquake are not predicitble to any meaningful level of certainty with current technology.


True, but on a bullet train, seconds can mean a substantial difference in the speed you're going when the quake hits. You can't get to a complete stop, but I think cutting that speed back even by a small amount counts for something.


I absolutely agree... a derailment at 50 would be a lot less destructive than a derailment at 100... but I do know that only maybe 10 seconds could not be enough to come to a complete stop, but if yu could hook a detection system up to an emergency brake, it would make a very large difference, IMO

Amtrak: Pacific Surfliner (100000000000), Southwest Chief (5), California Zephyr (1), Coast Starlight (6), Capitol Corridor (1), Empire Builder (2), Acela Express (1), LSL (1), NE Regional (2)
Non-Amtrak: NCTD Coaster (at least 20), Metrolink (4), SD Trolley (at least 20), LACMTA Red Line (at least 50), Seattle Streetcar (1), Chicago 'L' (probably 13), NYC Subway (probably 15), WMATA Mass Transit (probably 20), LIRR (1), Las Vegas Monorail (at least 12), MBTA Mass Transit (16), NJ Transit commuter rail (3), I'm sure there are more that I can't think of right now

upcoming Amtrak: Pacific Surfliner (10000000000 more)
upcoming non-Amtrak: Coaster, Red Line/Expo Line in LA, NJ Transit (5-10)

Pretty good for a 16 year old :)


#17 leemell

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Posted 21 November 2011 - 06:33 PM





Amazingly enough Japan's HSR infrastructure seems to have fared surprisingly well considering the circumstances. I only wish I could say the same for their infamous nuclear industry.

The Japanese HSR control system is hooked in with the amazingly good early detection system that the Japanese operate island wide. That is what has been responsible for zero casualties on the HSR from earthquakes. I have no idea if California has anything remotely resembling that to hook into.

The success of the Japanese lines in earthquakes due to one main factor: The nature of the Japanese concrete slab support under the rails allowed the derailed train in the one earthquake caused derailment to simply slide to a stop along the concrete. Some cars were tilted, but there was no overturning. Everybody literally walked off.

The value of earthquake detection systems is highly overrated. The warning time is measures in seconds, if that. Earthquake are not predicitble to any meaningful level of certainty with current technology.


True, but on a bullet train, seconds can mean a substantial difference in the speed you're going when the quake hits. You can't get to a complete stop, but I think cutting that speed back even by a small amount counts for something.


I absolutely agree... a derailment at 50 would be a lot less destructive than a derailment at 100... but I do know that only maybe 10 seconds could not be enough to come to a complete stop, but if yu could hook a detection system up to an emergency brake, it would make a very large difference, IMO


To get 10 seconds warning you'd have to be more that 90 kM from the epicenter. The S-Wave propagates at about 9 kM/Sec.

Edited by leemell, 21 November 2011 - 06:34 PM.


#18 George Harris

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Posted 22 November 2011 - 01:31 PM




The success of the Japanese lines in earthquakes due to one main factor: The nature of the Japanese concrete slab support under the rails allowed the derailed train in the one earthquake caused derailment to simply slide to a stop along the concrete. Some cars were tilted, but there was no overturning. Everybody literally walked off.

The value of earthquake detection systems is highly overrated. The warning time is measures in seconds, if that. Earthquake are not predicitble to any meaningful level of certainty with current technology.

True, but on a bullet train, seconds can mean a substantial difference in the speed you're going when the quake hits. You can't get to a complete stop, but I think cutting that speed back even by a small amount counts for something.

I absolutely agree... a derailment at 50 would be a lot less destructive than a derailment at 100... but I do know that only maybe 10 seconds could not be enough to come to a complete stop, but if yu could hook a detection system up to an emergency brake, it would make a very large difference, IMO

To get 10 seconds warning you'd have to be more that 90 kM from the epicenter. The S-Wave propagates at about 9 kM/Sec.

This is exactly my point. 10 seconds does not give you any meaningful reduction in speed. for the two earthquake derailments that we have had (oen in Japan and one in Taiwan) the speeds were well above 200 km/h in both.

For some information on derailment in Japan, go to www.jreast.co.jp/e/press/20080202/index.html

The magnitude of the earthquake was 6.8 and the train was 9.8 km from the epicenter.

The derailment stages given in the article. When reading it, understand that car No. 10 was the front car of the train and car No. 1 was the last car. When looking at the pictures, the car that is seen leaned in toward the center is the last car of the train. (Japanese railways run left-handed.) The front car and most of the rest of the train remained well centered on the track, even though off the rails.

(1) 11 axles derailed due to seismic motion.
At 17:56:06, the fourth axle of car No. 10 derailed first. Subsequently, 4 derailments occurred during large lateral movements in a 4 - 5 second interval. 11 out of 40 axles derailed.

(2) Additionally, 11 axles derailed when the track was broken by derailed wheels.
After the fourth derailment, the second, third, and fourth axles of the No. 4 car fell to the track. Continued running while pushing apart the left and right rails. The eight axles of the No. 1 and No. 2 cars then also derailed. A total of 11 axles out of 40 axles derailed.

(3) Breakage of the IJ part.
The last railcar (No. 1 car) angled into the central return channel because a glued insulated joint (IJ) broke.

(4) The train was guided by the rails even after derailment and the attitude of the train was maintained until it came to a stop.
Since the train traveled along the rails with the rails pinched between the wheels and the bogie parts, the attitude of the train was properly maintained until it came to a stop.

I know I have seen the exact speed of the train somewhere, but it was not in the article and I do not have time to hunt it up right now.

Another little factoid from another discussion on this earthquake:
In the perid of 1994 to 2003, there were 960 earthquakes of magntude 6.0 or larger. 220 of these were in Japan.
Based on this, who do you think we should talk to when discussing dealing with seismic issues?

#19 jis

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Posted 22 November 2011 - 01:38 PM

Are all JR control centers connected to the earthquake warning system for automatic shutdown or is it just the Shinkansen ones.

Of course if the thing is only 10km from the epicenter nothing can be done, but it seems to me that as the location gets further and further away from the epicenter there could be an incremental increase in survivability from derailments, no? Of course nothing is absolute panacea, but each factor counts a bit towards overall safety of the system. Whether it is over or underrated is a judgement regarding whether one believes it plays a significant role or not. Currently I have no basis for forming an overall opinion on that based on information available to me.



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