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Does anyone know or have a theory on why there's such a strong resistance to the construction of high speed rail system in California? I've heard one of the strong opponents is the freight train companies that own the current tracks on which Amtrak is leasing. It's all greed and low on vision, is it?

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Many people in California are opposed to the high cost for high speed rail to build a train on a route that won't be competitive with plane or even driving oneself.

 

Others do not like the rrain being routed theough their neighborhood, some of which might require taking of land with what some consider inadequate compensation.

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Many people in California are opposed to the high cost for high speed rail to build a train on a route that won't be competitive with plane or even driving oneself.

How in the world do you plan on driving between Los Angeles and San Francisco in under three hours?

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Many people in California are opposed to the high cost for high speed rail to build a train on a route that won't be competitive with plane or even driving oneself.

 

Others do not like the train being routed theough their neighborhood, some of which might require taking of land with what some consider inadequate compensation.

The NIMBYs are out in force, for sure.

 

Much of the opposition comes from people who built or bought homes alongside the tracks in the Peninsula between San Francisco and San Jose. Now they say they worry about noise, for example, tho HSR will probably be less noisy than the conventional trains running now, and that were running when the NIMBYs bought their rail-side properties.

 

But polling shows that California citizens continue to favor the CAHSR project despite the loud opposition. And in the recent election, one candidate for governor made anti-HSR a big part of his campaign, and he lost in a landslide.

 

The train will take what, 3 or 4 hours downtown L.A. to downtown S.F. Don't try that in a car. LOL. It would take twice the time.

 

HSR is quite competitive with flying when you consider getting to the airport from your downtown office, going thru security, waiting to board, then flying time is almost the least of it, before at the other end deboarding, renting a car or getting a taxi to get downtown to your business meeting. Never mind many, many European examples of successful HSR routes. Even Amtrak's slow boat Acelas taking 3 hours D.C.-NYC and the Regionals taking 4 hours together take more than 2/3rd of the combined air/train market.

 

+++++++++++++

 

As for the notion that the freight lines care at all whatsoever, No. Just No. CAHSR will not run on their tracks. Near or even beside their tracks for much of the way, but in no way will HSR interfere with the freight operations.

 

Heavy freight trains degrade and destroy the roadbed and tracks for HSR, and HSR can't safely run on ordinary tracks at high speed. So they will Not get in each other's way.

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@Woody: I think the idea that the OP had raised was that BNSF was somehow getting enough money in track access fees from CA that they'd lose from the HSR project that they were opposing it so as to keep Amtrak on their tracks. Considering most of the last 50 years' history this comes across as completely against everything we're used to (for the most part the issue is that Amtrak's access fees are locked in at a low enough level that the freights would prefer the trains gone, all else being equal, though things get a bit hazy if you have a line that Amtrak is a major customer on).

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Yeah, that thing about BNSF worrying about access fees paid to it by CalDOT (not Amtrak) directly or indirectly via Joint Powers Boards, is bogus, even though the fees negotiated between CalDOT and BNSF and UP in California is probably higher than the original Amtrak fees.

Edited by jis

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Would the Amtrak California San Joaquins go away? The service might change but I wonder, would there still be a need for a more "local" service than HSR would provide? If that does go away, Greyhound could fill the need.

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Many people in California are opposed to the high cost for high speed rail to build a train on a route that won't be competitive with plane or even driving oneself.

 

Others do not like the rrain being routed theough their neighborhood, some of which might require taking of land with what some consider inadequate compensation.

These people could be either shortsighted, greedy, or being manipulated by special interest groups like freight train companies, people who benefit from status quo, or all of the above. They're the reason why the US is on the decline.

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Many people in California are opposed to the high cost for high speed rail to build a train on a route that won't be competitive with plane or even driving oneself.

 

Others do not like the train being routed theough their neighborhood, some of which might require taking of land with what some consider inadequate compensation.

The NIMBYs are out in force, for sure.

 

Much of the opposition comes from people who built or bought homes alongside the tracks in the Peninsula between San Francisco and San Jose. Now they say they worry about noise, for example, tho HSR will probably be less noisy than the conventional trains running now, and that were running when the NIMBYs bought their rail-side properties.

 

But polling shows that California citizens continue to favor the CAHSR project despite the loud opposition. And in the recent election, one candidate for governor made anti-HSR a big part of his campaign, and he lost in a landslide.

 

The train will take what, 3 or 4 hours downtown L.A. to downtown S.F. Don't try that in a car. LOL. It would take twice the time.

 

HSR is quite competitive with flying when you consider getting to the airport from your downtown office, going thru security, waiting to board, then flying time is almost the least of it, before at the other end deboarding, renting a car or getting a taxi to get downtown to your business meeting. Never mind many, many European examples of successful HSR routes. Even Amtrak's slow boat Acelas taking 3 hours D.C.-NYC and the Regionals taking 4 hours together take more than 2/3rd of the combined air/train market.

 

+++++++++++++

 

As for the notion that the freight lines care at all whatsoever, No. Just No. CAHSR will not run on their tracks. Near or even beside their tracks for much of the way, but in no way will HSR interfere with the freight operations.

 

Heavy freight trains degrade and destroy the roadbed and tracks for HSR, and HSR can't safely run on ordinary tracks at high speed. So they will Not get in each other's way.

Well said!

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Would the Amtrak California San Joaquins go away? The service might change but I wonder, would there still be a need for a more "local" service than HSR would provide? If that does go away, Greyhound could fill the need.

While I am not sure if it is going to go away, I believe it needs a major overhaul in management and services. The trains are almost always late, the tracks are rough and uneven causing lots of rolling motion, the conductors are unfriendly, egotistical, and rude. Amtrack customer service is abysmally shameful. Amtrack is indeed a waste of taxpayers money under the current management.

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Amtrak. Not Amtrack. And the San Joaquins are now managed by a regional Joint Powers Board. And prior to that they had been managed by Caltrans (Amtrak California), not by Amtrak itself.

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Would the Amtrak California San Joaquins go away? The service might change but I wonder, would there still be a need for a more "local" service than HSR would provide? If that does go away, Greyhound could fill the need.

While I am not sure if it is going to go away, I believe it needs a major overhaul in management and services. The trains are almost always late, the tracks are rough and uneven causing lots of rolling motion, the conductors are unfriendly, egotistical, and rude. Amtrack customer service is abysmally shameful. Amtrack is indeed a waste of taxpayers money under the current management.

 

There's not going to be a day that you wake up one morning and the San Joaquin has vanished over night and in its place there is a high speed train.

 

On the contrary, California's high speed line is being developed and built over many many years in different phases with some phases being complete years before other are even begun. The existing San Joaquins will thus start using the new tracks as they become available and where it is viable to do so. Initially the existing equipment will be used and later high speed trains will replace it capable of using the line speed to its full capacity. So think of it more as a phased transition.

 

Whether some trains will continue using the old tracks will probably be decided closer to the time. I guess it will also depend on whether there will actually be sufficient passenger numbers to fill such trains.

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Many people in California are opposed to the high cost for high speed rail to build a train on a route that won't be competitive with plane or even driving oneself.

 

Others do not like the rrain being routed theough their neighborhood, some of which might require taking of land with what some consider inadequate compensation.

These people could be either shortsighted, greedy, or being manipulated by special interest groups like freight train companies, people who benefit from status quo, or all of the above. They're the reason why the US is on the decline.

 

What kind of work do you do?

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Hi,

URGENT ACTION NEEDED TO HELP California HSR

 

California High Speed Rail NEEDS everyone's support in sending an email to the US Forest Service BEFORE OCTOBER 23RD!!! The US Forest Service is asking for public opinion about whether or not they should allow the California High Speed Rail commission permission to perform 8 drill location on existing forest secure roads to study three route tunnel alternatives. One needs to send an email to Mr. George Farrah at gfarra@fs.fed.us.

 

 

Here's a link to the related newspaper article.

 

http://www.sgvtribune.com/general-news/20150925/high-speed-rail-authority-asks-permission-to-drill-under-angeles-national-forest

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I am a HSR advocate for my own country's South Eastern corridor of Melbourne > Canberra > Sydney > Brisbane. It will never happen in my lifetime, sadly. For those wondering if people will use it instead of planes look at China. I visited in 2012, my trip report is here: http://loraltravel.blogspot.com.au/2013/10/china-trains.html

 

I took G trains (300km/hr+ or 185mph+) from Hangzhou to Shanghai, Suzhou to Beijing and Zhengzhou to Xi'An. I took slightly slower D (200km/hr) anf K (140km/hr) trains on other legs. Using Suzhou to Beijing as an example the trip took just over five hours from the station 10km north of Suzhou to the heart of Beijing. The distance is equivalent to San Francisco to Seattle.

 

Waiting time, including security, at the station was about 30 minutes although many Chinese only turned up about ten minutes before departure. Time from our hotel in Suzhou to our hotel in Beijing was just over six hours. Flight time is two hours; allowing for cabs to out-of-town airports, check-in and security I doubt we would have saved much more than an hour, two at the most, if we had flown. All the trains were well patronised.

 

This is an example of a G train from Guangzhou, on China's south coast, to Beijing in the far north, noting rough equivalent distances to North American West Coast cities.

 

G66 http://www.cnvol.com/train-11/en-3049.htm

Station Arr. Dep. Elapsed km Miles Equivalent

Guangzhou South - 10:00 0 LA to SF, 380 miles, would be 2 hours.

Changsha South 12:17 12:20 02:17 707 440 LA to Sacramento via San Francisco

Wuhan 13:38 13:41 03:38 1069 665 San Francisco to Portland

Zhengzhou East 15:26 15:29 05:26 1605 998 Los Angeles to Portland

Shijiazhuang 16:50 16:53 06:50 2017 1254 San Diego to Seattle

Beijing West 18:00 - 08:00 2298 1429 San Diego to Whistler

Edited by alan_s

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Would the Amtrak California San Joaquins go away? The service might change but I wonder, would there still be a need for a more "local" service than HSR would provide? If that does go away, Greyhound could fill the need.

Once HSR runs over the full SFO-LAX route, the San Joaquins will likely be reduced to 2 round trips daily between Oakland and Bakersfield on the current route.

Edited by grover5995

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Would the Amtrak California San Joaquins go away? The service might change but I wonder, would there still be a need for a more "local" service than HSR would provide? If that does go away, Greyhound could fill the need.

Once HSR runs over the full SFO-LAX route, the San Joaquins will likely be reduced to 2 round trips daily between Oakland and Bakersfield on the current route.

 

I've long figured that there would be a reduction in "local" service but I suspect a lot will come down to stopping patterns, passenger behavior, and relative costs. Notwithstanding official estimates, if per-mile ticket costs behave like you see on the NEC, a yield-per-mile of $0.50 would translate into $190 one-way LAX-SFO*. FWIW, this is in line with the cheapest WAS-NYP Acela Saver ticket ($119 for a 225-mile trip). A similar ticket BFD-SFO would probably be...something like 280-300 miles, so you'd be looking at a $140-150 one-way ticket.

 

Going with lower levels, the cheapest regular ticket WAS-NYP on a Regional is $88 and the cheapest Saver ticket is $52. Those translate into $0.39/mile and $0.23/mile, respectively; the comparable prices for LAX-SFO and BFD-SFO would be $148/$109 at the higher price and $87/$64 at the lower price. For reference, prices on the San Joaquins tend to run $48-88 BFD-OKJ at present.

 

Basically, a lot depends on where the HSR trains are priced: There are a ton of passengers who won't pay $109, let alone $150, for a one-way bullet train ticket no matter how fast that train goes. Some of the damage might be controlled if return ticket prices were less than twice that of one-way prices ($300/person r/t is out of the range of plenty of families...$1200 r/t for a family of four would price out plenty of tourists, I suspect...even if that's the price for a weekend at Disneyland for them;)).

 

Of note, this has been one of my strongest criticisms of Amtrak's presumed revenue from a ramped-up Acela service: Their figures tend to indicate "present" per-passenger revenue levels (e.g. those occurring under a significant capacity squeeze) while massively increasing the amount of traffic on said trains (I seem to recall some estimates implying that HSR traffic would rise by 8-10x, Regional traffic would be close to flat, and that both trains would retain their present PPR levels (HSR being on par with the Acela). The issue as I tend to see it is that there are plenty of people who simply could not afford/would not opt for "Acela level" fares if they were for a teleporter.

 

Back to the situation in CA, I suspect that you'd probably see at least 3-5x daily trains continue on the San Joaquin route almost no matter what unless (and I think this is a fair caveat) there are either "cheap seats" (some "actual" coach equivalent or even a sort of "commuter class") or "cheap trains" (think OuiGo). Some of the pricing issues might be alleviated if CAHSR were to stick to plans to run lots and lots of trains, but based on history it seems like they'll opt to attempt to price in only slightly below airline pricing (subject to demand controls) and reduce frequencies to support higher prices unless there's some real political pressure not to do so...and as we all know, such pressure tends to "blow hot and cold" at random intervals.

 

I'll say that the solution I see most likely is for some trains (I'm thinking perhaps 1x/hr) to run LAX-BFD on the HSR tracks and then dump pax off for a transfer to a San Joaquin-esque service at BFD. I really see there being an impetus to keep the "fast" trains more expensive and, as they can't really run a "mixed" service without adding lots of tracks, that's the "best of both worlds" option to fall back on (not to mention, I suspect, likely accounting for some level of commuter service which I suspect will move over to the HSR lines in time...basically this "shuttle" would be with far more packed seating and a few added stops).

 

*Of course, this presumes the 380-mile number generally used.

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The Chinese use an elegant solution. The Shanghai-Beijing line is an example. There are many 300km/hr+ trains on the line each day, but each only stops at less than ten stations on a route 820 miles long which takes about 5 1/2 hours.

 

Each train has slightly different stops, with some minor stations only getting one train a day and major stations getting more. The only stations getting every train are Shanghai and Beijing. Every station in between has a through non-stop track; it is exhilarating being near that when an express passes through.

 

That allows service to every town along the line while maintaining a high speed service with minimal stops for each train. Some old local lines are retained, but many were not when they are effectively duplicated by the new HSR.

Edited by alan_s

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The issue with CAHSR, if I'm recalling right, is that there was an arbitrary station count thrown in on the bond item (I want to say it was 28 stations). In the long run, this creates all sorts of questions on how infill stations might happen; what I was envisioning, in essence, would be that you'd retain the existing San Joaquin system to at least some extent (potentially having at least one transfer point aside from BFD) and then any other stations you'd need to add might nominally be the result of a regional authority adding them.

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The Chinese use an elegant solution. The Shanghai-Beijing line is an example. There are many 300km/hr+ trains on the line each day, but each only stops at less than ten stations on a route 820 miles long which takes about 5 1/2 hours.

 

Each train has slightly different stops, with some minor stations only getting one train a day and major stations getting more. The only stations getting every train are Shanghai and Beijing. Every station in between has a through non-stop track; it is exhilarating being near that when an express passes through.

 

That allows service to every town along the line while maintaining a high speed service with minimal stops for each train. Some old local lines are retained, but many were not when they are effectively duplicated by the new HSR.

That works well if you have a situation where end to end traffic plus end to interediate point traffic is far more significant than intermediate point to intermediate point traffic. If you can't get from one intermediate point to another without an extended wait in the middle, you effectively lose that traffic.

 

Personally I like the Spanish system where they alternate between very fast trains serving only the endpoints or maybe a very limited number of intermediate points, and then a lower teir of trains doing virtually all the stops and charging a slightly lower fare.

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Would the Amtrak California San Joaquins go away? The service might change but I wonder, would there still be a need for a more "local" service than HSR would provide? If that does go away, Greyhound could fill the need.

According to San Joaquin Corridor Agency, there are no plans to reduce service but actually increase service along with the CAHSR. Also, according to their business plan, if the CAHSR is delayed, then the San Joaquin may fill in temporarily by running on the dedicated HSR tracks in central valley. According to Wikipedia, the San Joaquin will share the tracks with HSR between Bakersfield and Fresno allowing the train to run at the max 125 MPH and shave about an hour off of the current sched.

 

I'm thinking in worst case, the San Joaquin will end up using whatever stretch of dedicated rail is built. Personally, I would take 125 MPH any day over the 79 MPH. If and when San Joaquin does run on the dedicated HSR, this train will beat the pants off Acela when it comes to speed.

Edited by seat38a

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The current cost estimate from the Calif governor's office is $68 billion to build the high speed rail systen -- about $2,000 per resident of California. Some other folks have suggested the cost will be triple that amount. So far, the citizens of Calif passed a $10 billion bond measure in 2008, and the federal govt has commited an additional $3 billion. I don't think the issue is NIMBYs -- I live in the Bay Area and I probably would ride it at least once to LA (even though i will be well into my 80's when it is completed between SF and LA and I will not likely have any particular reason to go to LA at that age. But I strongly question whether it will be worth my $2,000 - and the other residents' $67,999,998,000 - to build this system, given the already available plane, rail, bus and car alternatives. And since there is currently no commitment from anyone to provide the other $55 billion, is it even realistic to assume that the line will be completed in the next 20 years?

Edited by chakk

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The current cost estimate from the Calif governor's office is $68 billion to build the high speed rail systen -- about $2,000 per resident of California. Some other folks have suggested the cost will be triple that amount. So far, the citizens of Calif passed a $10 billion bond measure in 2008, and the federal govt has commited an additional $3 billion. I don't think the issue is NIMBYs -- I live in the Bay Area and I probably would ride it at least once to LA (even though i will be well into my 80's when it is completed between SF and LA and I will not likely have any particular reason to go to LA at that age. But I strongly question whether it will be worth my $2,000 - and the other residents' $67,999,998,000 - to build this system, given the already available plane, rail, bus and car alternatives. And since there is currently no commitment from anyone to provide the other $55 billion, is it even realistic to assume that the line will be completed in the next 20 years?

But those roads aren't getting any better, and the airports are at capacity at least the ones that people want to fly out of. The whole carmagedon 405 widening. We spent over 2 billion dollar for all that and now its even more crowded and the time to travel through it longer.

 

Just as with the drought of ours, we can't just conserve our way out, unless we stop anyone else from moving into this State or ban showers to once a week and flushing toilets to once a day. More and more people are projected to move here and the strain on our infrastructure will be greater and greater. As you mentioned, you will be 80 something when this thing is done. Its really not about YOU, but about an investment in the future of the State. The start of the 20 years or whatever timeframe for building any investment has to start somewhere. Going from LAX to SFO is already a GOOD 4 hour ordeal from start to finish, and that is IF the flight is on time and not delayed due to fog and or other weather related issues at SFO. With all the security crap and airlines shoving more flights into an already crowed airspace on smaller aircraft, total travel time will probably only get worse.

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