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Can Amtrak Directly Serve San Francisco?

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There are 3 or 4 staging tracks at 4th and King... There is room for a couple consists to park at the end of the yard, as well as under the freeway just outside the main yard (they used to store extra baseball trains there).

 

I'd love to see an SF to LA Amtrak train

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On 5/6/2017 at 10:50 PM, neroden said:

If you're building a new tube, build it standard gauge. Hook it to Caltrain. Design it as a superexpress. Underground station stops in San Francisco, West Oakland, MacArthur, possibly Ashby, and continue straight underground to Martinez, allowing the Capitol Corridor to run through to San Francisco and speeding it up a lot. Perhaps go via Walnut Creek and Pleasant Hill if it's easy enough construction.

Because practically any rail project is 1/5 the cost of a BART project, this would cost less than the latest BART extension plans.

All I have to say to this "ya what mate?" Electrifying the rail lines in the East Bay and adding capacity for hourly service to Sacramento with EMUs would be far cheaper than boring a 20 mile tunnel from Oakland to Concord. Not to mention doing so would come off as being colossally stupid to the tax payers who's property taxes are going to go up to pay for it. The second transbay tube is already estimated to cost between $6 and $12 billion. Hell even connecting Richmond to the NWP makes more financial sense than a 20 mile tunnel! Hell electrifying 3000 miles of track in the whole state would probably cost less than boring 20+ miles of tunnel! 

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If you're already boring a tunnel under hard rock, the cost is absolutely NOT propotional to the *length* of the tunnel: a lot of it is fixed setup / shutdown / access-portal / fit-out type stuff.  As such, a tunnel to Concord (well, Martinez) is a reasonable idea.  The real question is how many different types of soil/rock you're going through and the nature of the rock.  I don't know the geology, so I don't know whether it would be a "simple" hard rock tunnel, or a "hideously difficult" tunnel through a dozen different weak rock formations.

This would also get the Amtrak route away from the floodable coastline.

Edited by neroden

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The main issue BART faced when it was first built was the varying soil types. Like for instance digging through mud in San Francisco. Which would also be an issue in the East Bay near the bay. It turns into dirty eventually, but then you hit mountains and the Berkeley-Orinda tunnel was dug through rock. Not sure how far it extends, but that unknowing makes the cost prohibitively expensive. There is a reason why BART is largely above ground. Moving the existing line is going to need to happen, but a 20+ mile tunnel isn't going to get paid for. Transit bond measures require a 66.67% vote to get approved, I personally wouldn't vote for it unless there wasn't another option. The Silicon Valley extension is going to cost over $4 billion and that is the part that involves tunneling. Part of why rail could cost more in the US is that unlike highways, we don't put the force of the country behind it like China does. If you're only building 20 miles of tunnel, that is more a specialized industry than if you are building 2000 miles a year. Just like with rail electrification. If you only electrify 100 miles a decade, you are going to have more costs to internalized, which is why California should push for more electrification while CalTrain is doing theirs to hopefully lower the startup costs. 

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The lower level of the Oakland Bay Bridge was originally railroad until the tracks were pulled up and roads were put in. Unfortunately, taxes for rail get funded much quicker out here if its tied together with extra roads. Maybe a combo car/rail tunnel or another bridge with road and rail could probably get done much faster.

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4 hours ago, seat38a said:

The lower level of the Oakland Bay Bridge was originally railroad until the tracks were pulled up and roads were put in. Unfortunately, taxes for rail get funded much quicker out here if its tied together with extra roads. Maybe a combo car/rail tunnel or another bridge with road and rail could probably get done much faster.

Isn't the BART bay tunnel more or less a replacement for the old Key System tracks on the lower level of the bridge. Not a one on one replacemnet obviously, but broadly doing the same thing, only doing it better seeing the Key System finished at Transbay (as far as I know) wheras BART provides one seat journeys to many places beyond. . Wan't BART already being planned when the Key system shut down? 

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On ‎8‎/‎24‎/‎2017 at 10:42 AM, GiantsFan said:

There are 3 or 4 staging tracks at 4th and King... There is room for a couple consists to park at the end of the yard, as well as under the freeway just outside the main yard (they used to store extra baseball trains there).

But aren't there also plans to develop that land, once the Transbay extension is operational?

The lack of staging tracks could well turn out to  be a real barrier to any type of service expansion.

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4 hours ago, cirdan said:

But aren't there also plans to develop that land, once the Transbay extension is operational?

The lack of staging tracks could well turn out to  be a real barrier to any type of service expansion.

I’m not 100% sure on that, I know there wouldn’t be any staging AT the Transbay terminal, so any staging would have to be at 4th and king where it is now (theoretically)

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7 hours ago, cirdan said:

Isn't the BART bay tunnel more or less a replacement for the old Key System tracks on the lower level of the bridge. Not a one on one replacemnet obviously, but broadly doing the same thing, only doing it better seeing the Key System finished at Transbay (as far as I know) wheras BART provides one seat journeys to many places beyond. . Wan't BART already being planned when the Key system shut down? 

Well replacing it with track only BART could use was a bad idea.

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BART was partly a replacement for the Key system and used some of its right of way, but as originally designed (i.e. with Marin and San Mateo counties), and even as eventually built, it went beyond what the Key system did. The lower deck of the Bay Bridge was designed to support the Key system, which was essentially light rail. It wasn't for freight or other heavy rail uses.

In retrospect, using a different gauge was probably a mistake, but it made sense at the time. BART was envisioned to be a space age replacement for commuter trains – computer controlled (drivers would only have an emergency stop button) and with 90 second headways, which is why the original cars didn't have straps or grab bars – there would be so many trains that everyone would have a seat. At the time, making BART tracks compatible with legacy rail made as much sense as designing the cars to be able to run on highways.

BART was the Hyperloop of its day. We can only hope things turn out better for Elon. :D

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45 minutes ago, TiBike said:

In retrospect, using a different gauge was probably a mistake, but it made sense at the time.

Using Indian gauge was seen as being better able to hold up to winds on the Golden Gate Bridge. Originally BART was planned to go over a to be built lower deck of the Golden Gate. The figured wide base=more stable trains. Marin county pulled out late in the design process that they kept the gauge. Not to mention subway systems don't generally directly connect with heavy or light rail anyways. The only place where this can happen in the US is one of Boston's subway lines and even it doesn't interchange with them. And from what I understand, that one line needs FRA compliant equipment which makes it more expensive to run compared to the other lines. 

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In the US they don't connect. But it is not that unusual in Japan. And of course, the District and Metropolitan lines of London Underground do share tracks with London Overground in places AFAIR.

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54 minutes ago, jis said:

In the US they don't connect. But it is not that unusual in Japan. And of course, the District and Metropolitan lines of London Underground do share tracks with London Overground in places AFAIR.

Do they connect with each other or do they just run next to each other? I haven't been able to get a straight answer about that. Also Japan is just weird when it comes to rail. 

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They run on the same physical track one following the other alternately.

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42 minutes ago, sttom said:

Do they connect with each other or do they just run next to each other? I haven't been able to get a straight answer about that. Also Japan is just weird when it comes to rail. 

They do it something like this. This is in Switzerland where many local trains are narrow guage and the rest not.

21449826249_9b6cc3f1cc_b.jpg

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15 hours ago, seat38a said:

Well replacing it with track only BART could use was a bad idea.

The Key System tracks could only be used by Key System trains, so you could say they were perpetuating an old concept.

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11 hours ago, sttom said:

Do they connect with each other or do they just run next to each other? I haven't been able to get a straight answer about that.

It's a bit complicated (the history of London Underground that is). Some of the outer bits of the London Ungerground were originally just regular rail lines. Steam engines pulled the trains in the early days (engines could be changed over at the limits of the electrified sections) and there was even a considerable amount of freight on the outer sections until circa the 1950s. By the 1920s, some such lines were jointly exploited by the main line rail companies and the Underground. For example there were a number of 1938-stock tube trains that were actually owned by LNER, and many sections of track in the outer area were shared (and still are today to a lesser extent, although some of the more rural lines have been cut back over the years). The Great Western similarly allowed the Underground to electrify the branch from Paddington to Hammersmith but chose not to get involved in the actual operations, but instead continued running a small number of their own steam trains on that line until the 1950s. It was mostly freight but also the occasional excursion train for football matches and such. South of the Thames there are sections of line, for example at Wimbledon, shared by very intensive services alternating between third rail electrified main line trains and 4th rail electrified Underground trains.  

Interestingly, although British rail stop using steam in 1968, London Underground didn't shut down its last steam engiune until 1971.

There are no longer any commercial freight trains on the Underground, but there are still considerable movements of main-line freight cars for engineering and maintenance work. Battery locomotives are used in the tunnel sections (seeing power is typically cut off for works) but on the outer sections you can sometimes see main line locomotives such as classes 66 or 20. Besides the shared track sections in regular use as described above, there are one or two other places where Underground and main line tracks connect and are used principally for transferring engineering trains, but also for delivering new trains etc.

Edited by cirdan

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On 2/12/2019 at 2:44 PM, TiBike said:

BART was partly a replacement for the Key system and used some of its right of way, but as originally designed (i.e. with Marin and San Mateo counties), and even as eventually built, it went beyond what the Key system did. The lower deck of the Bay Bridge was designed to support the Key system, which was essentially light rail. It wasn't for freight or other heavy rail uses.

In retrospect, using a different gauge was probably a mistake, but it made sense at the time. BART was envisioned to be a space age replacement for commuter trains – computer controlled (drivers would only have an emergency stop button) and with 90 second headways, which is why the original cars didn't have straps or grab bars – there would be so many trains that everyone would have a seat. At the time, making BART tracks compatible with legacy rail made as much sense as designing the cars to be able to run on highways.

BART was the Hyperloop of its day. We can only hope things turn out better for Elon. :D

They won't.  Reinventing the wheel is never a good idea.  BART ended up having to be redesigned to be more like traditional trains, because the aircraft engineers who designed BART were arrogant idiots.  They didn't even understand why conical wheels were necessary and idiotically used cylindrical wheels (something only being fixed today with the most recent car order).

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On 2/12/2019 at 3:33 PM, sttom said:

Using Indian gauge was seen as being better able to hold up to winds on the Golden Gate Bridge. Originally BART was planned to go over a to be built lower deck of the Golden Gate. The figured wide base=more stable trains. Marin county pulled out late in the design process that they kept the gauge. Not to mention subway systems don't generally directly connect with heavy or light rail anyways. The only place where this can happen in the US is one of Boston's subway lines and even it doesn't interchange with them. And from what I understand, that one line needs FRA compliant equipment which makes it more expensive to run compared to the other lines. 

Newark City Subway, RiverLine, PATH, and the NYC Subway all have interchanges with mainline rail.  In NYC, it's generally only used for deliveries of subway cars though.  Newark City Subway has freight activity, and RiverLine has *substantial* freight activity.

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