Port officials hope high-speed rail money can help with tunnel needsThat's $2.5 million, with an 'm', per year... for an agency that has earned a grand total of $2.6 million since 2001 from the import of bulk commodities. That's right, a piddly $400k per year. Now they propose the following:
Importing cars through San Francisco could earn $2.5 million a year for the Port, but the Caltrain tunnels through which car-carrying freight trains would need to pass are 6 inches too short
Expanding those tunnels could cost tens of millions of dollars (...) Some of the rail bonds could be used to expand the tunnels or bore new ones.Even if they did get those coveted six inches of tunnel clearance to run excess-height autorack freight cars, the tunnels will eventually be electrified with overhead wires, which require significant additional clearances. Let's imagine the costs associated with that:
- The cost of increasing the ceiling height of the tunnel itself, including high-voltage overhead contact system (OCS) clearances, in order to accommodate excess-height freight cars. This cost is acknowledged at several tens of millions of dollars
- The cost of increasing the vertical clearance of the OCS along the entire peninsula corridor to Santa Clara (where freight trains move off the corridor), to accommodate excess-height freight cars
- The cost of procuring electric rolling stock for HSR and Caltrain with non-standard pantographs that can reach to heights of 7 meters, a value unheard of in off-the-shelf European or Asian designs
UPDATE: a useful cross section drawing of the tunnel in question, and the various loading gauge dimensions (the relevant clearance for autoracks is AAR Plate H).