Discussion in 'High Speed and Other Non-Amtrak Intercity Rail' started by Amstruck, Jul 20, 2015.
Alternatively you can look at NJTs RiverLINE for proof that you need more than a rail line for TOD.
What is it with the RiverLINE? From a comfortable distance to be fully ignorant, I assume that a line connecting one ghetto rust bucket (Trenton) to another ghetto rust bucket (Camden) lacks the usual compelling business case for a commuter line -- reasonable housing to plenty jobs. Is there more or less to the problem?
(Wildly off-topic. LOL. If the answer is provocative, the mods will need to move the discussion.)
You got it. That is why I won't respond here If you wish to get a perspective on it, send me a PM.
It has 4 basic problems. The main one is that it is connecting Camden and Trenton, which are as you suggest, via the garden scape of such gems as Palmyra, Riverside, Willingboro, Burlington, and Bordentown (the only town I can think of on the line thats even remotely nice). Its second problem is that to use it to go to Philly, you have to get off the train in Camden at Walter Rand, or go way the heck out of your way heading to Trenton.
Its third problem is that the fare is so low, you can't argue the fare is too high, yet its farebox recovery is under 10%, which precludes any and all further investment in the thing.
Finally, service ends at 9:30, making it risky for commuting into New York City, and useless for excursions into NYC. It is so useless, though I live on the line- walking distance - I haven't rode it in years, and when I am heading into NYC, I park at Hamilton.
My point is that transit lines CAN produce TOD and urban revitalization. It has to be reasonably quick, frequent, properly priced, reliable, and operate a sufficiently appropriate number of hours. If you can justify the investment, it seems to help if it runs on steel rails. But it also has to go from a given place A to a given place B that has at some attraction on the line.
It doesn't work if you just connect one dead industrial city with another dead industrial city through a riverscape of superfund sites. (I live surrounded by one of them, which is how I got my house so cheap.)
Also, it helps if you serve locations that produce high ridership.
One of the new lines in New Orleans serves the Superdome. The first line in Houston served a hosital complex and two major university sites.
Many light rail lines that are built on the cheap utilize abandoned railroads. Of course that's much cheaper than building from scratch. But typically they thus serve only the type of place that you would find along an abandoned railroad.
In other words, build on the cheap and you will get something cheap. Get some proper funding and build something proper and the results will show.
Government doesn't get it. You buy up the vacant land or buy options on it in secret around where you are going to put up the stations and pay for the transit with the profits when selling/leasing the land. Government announces where they are putting things then after everyone has bought up the land, they pay the inflated price for it. And if they do happen to own the land, the politicians make them change the location so their buddies make the profits. Brightline is probably buying the land nowaround their future stations on the way to Orlando or selling the information to local community insiders in exchange for certain rights, easements, or other considerations. [Cynicism off]
[Cynicism on] Story is told that plans were released for a new airport NE of Austin. Soon after, due to the end of the Cold War, the Defense Dept offered the surplus Bergstrom Air Force Base to the city of Austin. It had long concrete runways, hangers and other facilities, everything but a new terminal building. All conveniently located SE of Austin. The talk was that a number of insiders took a big loss on land they'd acquired NE of the city. Just sayin'.
True story Woody! It was mostly Politicians and the Wealthy movers and shakers in Austin and Texas that took a bath on the rumoured Manor Location for the new Austin Airport.
That's generally the idea, and very often it works (look at the DC Metro or the Vancouver Skytrain for examples). In the LA area, however, no small part of the problem is that there's only so much you can really hope to condense into some of these areas...and then you get into "around your ASCII to get to your elbow" situations where you have two parallel lines but no way to get between them , at least for a long time . There's also the fact that unlike DC and some other cities, there's not a single "easy" downtown area to point to in the LA area on the (relative) scale of some other cities.
 In most cases, a high-frequency bus option would probably be the shorter-term winner, but that's probably not a permanent solution in many cases.
 e.g. the Sepulveda Pass project presently does have a connection to LAX coming...in 2059.
Actual HSR test operations are closer than we think. On a just released schedule is shows the Authority in the next quarter will begin procurement of Track and System and Trainsets for initial engineering tests. First track installation in about 24 months. The first actual train on rail tests in about late 2022.
The New York Times "teed-off" Today with a "not exactly" optimistic article on the state of CAHSR. In fact, with its biggest proponent, Gov. Brown, not standing for election, his successor - even the Democrat Lt. Gov - could well "cut losses" and scuttle the entire project:
Like I said in another post, if worst comes to worst, they will probably finish up the central valley portion and it becomes a very expensive but dedicated passenger rail line for the San Joaquin.
I do agree with the article. Get the central valley part finished and run trains on it wether it be the San Joaquin or HSR. The red/purple line was once considered a boondoggle and stopped but after years of use, people feelings change and now construction has begun on the west side extension. Even if the state purchases more Chargers Siemens railcars a la Brightline instead of ICE 3/TGV would be an improvement.
I know its a long shot, but even if they can get one train over the tehachapi loop and into LAUS would probably build lots of political capital towards finishing up the entire line. Maybe even with the diesel, get one or two over the Altamont Pass.
Well, since the state is already about to wind up with a fleet of those anyway (thanks to the N-S contract being transferred) this would make a lot of sense. As to getting over Tehachapi, I agree...but then again, Lancaster-Bakersfield (in a pinch, LA-Lancaster could have been covered by converting one of the nine Metrolink trains on the route...either the 1345 or the 1817 would work here; if you can patch through to Via Princessa, you go from 9x/day to 15x/day to pick from) should probably always have been the first segment since that's the "big hole" in the system.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom abandoning plan for high-speed train from Los Angeles to San Francisco, says too costly (Associated Press).
Article, albeit thin on details. He said he plans to finish building the Central Valley segment that's under construction already.
He backtracked immediately, saying he was going to build the whole system, just getting the current segment done before starting the next part.
I'm pretty good at reading politics. Despite all the shenanigans, Techachapi is going to get built, it's just delayed again (sigh). The Second Transbay Tunnel is gonna get built. Pacheco might never be built.
I also can't figure why they didn't get the bi-level version of the Siemens cars....
Some offense to Newsom, but he deserved to get skewered into a back track. His political career has kind of been played on easy mode. As a Californian, it was good to see someone getting held to account on this.
California sent letter to FRA about the project and it's funding on Monday.
So long as "the patient" remains on life support Journal columnists still have to find ways, even in largely unrelated pieces, to "rub it in":
Why are you quoting a dishonest right-wing scam rag? I'm a *professional investor* and I stopped reading the WSJ ten years ago.
Blaming the Journal for "rubbing it in" while at the same time quoting their partisan propaganda in your own post is a bit like blaming the dog after you tracked his dung all over the house.
Several posts were removed that only discussed the trustworthiness of the Wall Street Journal and had nothing to do with California High Speed Rail. Please take discussions like that to The Lounge.
To be clear, the current plan is to accelerate the construction of the line through the Valley, continue dither...I mean, planning the route from Bakersfield to Palmdale, and apparently wait for a magic transit fairy to drop money on his head before extending the line.
It's taking too long and costing too much, and his solution is to postpone further progress and wait for inflation to work it's magic.
So the next question is: who will build the first true HSR in America and demonstrate the value; Washington state, Colorado or Texas?
Actually the plan is as you stated, except all EIRs for the the entire Phase I are to be completed too, not just Bakersfield to Palmdale.
Separate names with a comma.