Buried deep in the CHSRA's March 3rd Operations Sub-Committee meeting, in a progress report briefing prepared by the Program Management Team (Parsons Brinckerhoff), are the following little gems (boxed in red):
The acronyms ERTMS, ETCS and GSM-R refer to the European Railway Traffic Management System and its components (the European Train Control System and the GSM-Railway cell data standard). The completion levels for these documents suggest that ERTMS has already been selected as the train control technology for the California High Speed Rail System. Quite wisely, the project appears to have selected an off-the-shelf technology standard that was developed and debugged using billions of Euros of OPM (Other People's Money).
Meanwhile, spunky little Caltrain continues to believe it can single-handedly develop an entirely new train control technology known as CBOSS (Communications-Based Overlay Signal System), which is functionally redundant with ERTMS / ETCS. (For more background about these technologies, see Peninsula Train Control: PTC, CBOSS and ERTMS.)
The design, integration, testing, and deployment to commercial service of CBOSS is estimated to cost $231 million, before the cost overruns and schedule delays inevitably associated with this type of development effort. While some of this funding was expected to come from the $2.25 billion California HSR stimulus award, how likely is the CHSRA to fund the CBOSS project if it has already selected ERTMS for itself?
Caltrain needs to wake up and stop striving for compatibility with freight PTC. The correct solution is to abandon CBOSS, join forces with the CHSRA to bring ERTMS to the United States, and implement an integrated Caltrain / HSR train control system. Navigating the bureaucratic hurdles of importing ERTMS, ETCS and GSM-R is likely to be far quicker, easier and cheaper than trying to re-invent the wheel with CBOSS. That's especially important because Caltrain's fleet replacement effort cannot proceed until after a robust train control solution is in place. The clock is ticking as Caltrain's antiquated diesel trains fall further into obsolescence, and failure is not an option.
This appears to be the first nail in the CBOSS coffin.
01 March 2010
First Nail in the CBOSS Coffin
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This makes me happy. Has CalTrain said anything about CBOSS in the recent past?ReplyDelete
I'm thrilled that the Authority is making the right decisionReplyDelete
Time to start smashing some skulls together at Caltrain. I'm not sure their position is tenable if CHSRA goes this route
Amazingly, even the FRA is going to require something like ERTMS. In their proposed rule for PTC, it specifically states that only systems with proven 5-year operational record can be used for high-speed lines. Hard to see how an experimental CBOSS line would qualify for a HSR system.ReplyDelete
However, what impact does any of this have on Caltrain -- given that they seem determined to build two independent systems? All this really means is that Caltrain has to find another source of funding for its CBOSS experiment.
Caltrain probably won't find another source of funding if sugar-daddy HSR doesn't cough it up. On the outside chance that they do, CBOSS will run into the same buzz saw of software-hardware integration hell that every other train control system does (and did, in spades, in the case of ERTMS). After years of delay, Caltrain will wither on the vine, until some rocket scientist thinks up a brilliant solution: connect BART between Millbrae and Santa Clara.ReplyDelete
Or Caltrain could do the right thing. Pronto.
It's good that CHSRA is going with an off-the-shelf technology solution, but whether Caltrain sticks with CBOSS will be an important test of whether Caltrain is serious about actually running a modern passenger service. The dark shadow of "BART around the Bay" does indeed loom. It's MTC's "Plan X".ReplyDelete
Some special agency should exist called "Transit Protective Services" that can step in and take control of Caltrain if necessary: "You are not running your train operation and planning with due care for its future health and welfare, so we will run it properly for you."
Clem, I have been confused about the various statements around this for a while. Didn't Doty say they were not going to invent their own signaling system but get something off the shelf WAY back in Sept. 2009 at the PCC Palo Alto Teach-in?ReplyDelete
I was under the assumption that CBOSS would end up being a list of requirements that, "surprise!" ERTMS 2.x already met (or could be tweaked slightly to meet).
Was Doty just talking about CaHSRA back then? Has Caltrain really been following a different signaling system from HSR for the past 14 months? Despite being the sharing staff people? Or were they just not communicating clearly to the public?
It's perfectly possible to install more than one signaling technology in a driver cab. In Europe, Thalys trains have to support three, Eurostar even four different incompatible legacy signaling systems. The specially trained drivers have to switch between them at designated locations while traveling at high speed. Failure to comply would result in an automatic emergency brake maneuver since all of these technologies are fail-safe: a train will stop unless it has positive permission to proceed.ReplyDelete
However, complexity adds a lot of cost and kills reliability. This is precisely why Europe invested in ERTMS development, knowing full well that there would be substantial teething troubles (e.g. the HSL Zuid saga in Holland). Unfortunately, it will take decades to migrate the backbone portions of the continent's legacy rail grid to the new standard.
The US is a single nation, but its railroad grid is actually a mosaic of privately owned smaller networks. Canada and Mexico have their own operators within NAFTA area. All of these railroads have just as much incentive to keep operating as monopolies (or at least as an oligopoly) as state-owned European railways do. The EU had to force them to segregate their infrastructure and train operations components. Therefore, I would not be at all surprised if each of the major US railroads ended up implementing its own PTC solution.
Ideally, Congress would instead give FRA a mandate to define a single national PTC standard based on proven technology and, cough up enough cash/tax breaks to persuade the freight industry to go along with implementing that. Signaling is a perfect example of how penny-wise can end up pound-foolish in the long run.
Failing that, CHSRA would be well-advised to co-opt Caltrain's CBOSS advocates by integrating them into the ETRMS implementation team. If that means picking up 50% of the headcount cost, so be it. The delay and opportunity costs of trying to implement both CBOSS and ERTMS side-by-side would be far higher.
In addition, CHSRA should offer UPRR a small lump sum to fund the installation of ERTMS-compatible cab equipment in the handful of freight locos that will continue to operate between SF and SJ.
Final nail in the Caltrain service and coffin any local benefit for any local community coffin:ReplyDelete
Same document, in a section titled "CA HSRA Program Progress Report Executive Summary - December 2009" which is only available as a non-searchable, useless scan of images of text, page 11 (page 21 of the concatenated PDF file):
"7. San Francisco to San Jose section.
* Submitted Draft AA Evaluation report.
* Developed initial 4-track configuration plans (Caltrain-eastside/HSR-Westside) and draft 4-track cross sections (Caltrain/HSR)
* Submitted ROW areas at risk of potential development and existing structures inventory.
* Submitted five settings of the technical document for the EIR/EIS for PMT review."
Well, there you have it.
The Peninsula Rail Program, run in partnership with Caltrain, has completely screwed all Caltrain service and all peninsula communities, forever. Just like when Caltrain actively politicall and technically supported the BART line to Millbrae that fatally compromised Caltrain service while reaming its taxpayers and riders.
Same old story. Same old failure-at-every-step-on-every-project and infinite cost Bechtel and Parsons guys in charge. Same old outcome.
Lucky us to have such world class professionals right here in our midst!
There are some more points in favor of adopting ERTMS as USA-wide PTC apart from already mentioned:ReplyDelete
* its cab portion is designed to work with track portion of other train control systems (via Specific Transmission Modules), allowing for example smooth transiton from ASCES on NEC. It also means that if some RR chooses to use deliberately incompatible system, it's still possible to just develop STM for this system to run ETCS-enabled rolling stock on such tracks.
* it's alredy being implemented in North America, although not in USA or Canada: http://www.ertms.com/2007v2/projects_country.aspx?country=MX
For freight RRs, the ETCS L2 has another really big advantage: it can send real-time speed profile of track ahead, allowing big fuel savings by train speed optimizing:
What's to say thet Caltrain -- which is defined to be under the thumb of FRA, defined to run on freight tracks, defined to not share tracks OR stations with HSR, defined to operate on only two tracks with no express overtakes and no transfers, and defined to be as slow, archaic, and ripe for replacement in time (after the money has been spent) by BART as possible -- doesn't get to have its super-special $500 million CBOSS system, while HSR ALSO gets a separate ETCS system?ReplyDelete
Double the fun! Tripe (or more) the price! Triple the complexity and scope for redesign. Quadruple the profit. What's not to like. Who involved anywhere in the process would not actively seek such an outcome.
As I've said over and over: the moment CHSRA/BART killed Altamont they SHOUTED FROM THE ROOFTOPS that cost is no object and that providing service provision, if it figures at all, is a negligable concern. The contractor mafioso, being smart people, are responding in a perfectly natural way to these explicit political instructions and signals.
Why should the signal and control and and radio and military guys miss out on the gushing bonanza when the civil guys are driving away with dump trucks full of your cash?
Developed initial 4-track configuration plans (Caltrain-eastside/HSR-Westside) and draft 4-track cross sections (Caltrain/HSR)ReplyDelete
Submitted ROW areas at risk of potential development and existing structures inventory.
CHSRA in public statements insists such a document doesn't even exist.
"CHSRA in public statements insists such a document doesn't even exist."ReplyDelete
Q: How do you tell somebody from CHSRA (or its puppeteering consultancies) is lying?
A: His lips are moving.
Next thing you'll be telling us that Pacheco has larger environmental impacts, that there will never be demand for 9 high speed trains each hour in both directions, between San Jose and San Francisco, that LA Union and SJ Cahill stations don't need double decking, that 125mph in people's backyards between SJ and SF is nether desirable NOR necessary, that 60 foot high elevated structures through Fresno might not be the best way to serve the city, that Context Sensitive Solutions will result in anything but higher construction profits, or or that the project budget might exceed $40 billion.
Say it ain't so!
doesn't get to have its super-special $500 million CBOSS system, while HSR ALSO gets a separate ETCS system?ReplyDelete
Where is Caltrain going to come up with $500 million for its own signal system, independent of the HSR project and funds?
Anyone can draw up expensive plans in an afternoon. But you have to be realistic about how they're going to be funded in order to make any profit.
One slushy wallow. Multiple happy pigs.ReplyDelete
Public profit? From specification, design and construction? Hell-ooooooo!ReplyDelete
Submitted ROW areas at risk of potential development and existing structures inventory.ReplyDelete
CHSRA in public statements insists such a document doesn't even exist.
Huh? I thought CHSRA was saying that they didn't have a document that detailed all of the potential ED takings (i.e., expansions of the ROW onto other property).
The document described there sounds like the opposite: an enumeration of areas in which the current ROW is at risk of being developed for non-railroad purposes.
@Richard: What does any of this have to do with Altamont? You make valid points otherwise, but it doesn't seem likely that HSR's entry point into the peninsula corridor would make a difference as to how much it is integrated with CalTrainReplyDelete
Didn't Doty say they were not going to invent their own signaling systemReplyDelete
@Brian: he did indeed say that. Their plan is to piggyback CBOSS on the development of freight PTC architecture / components, which is anticipated to result in a cheaper and better product than the fancy European approach. As I've already laid out in detail, I suspect reality won't turn out quite as rosy.
CHSRA in public statements insists such a document doesn't even exist.
@anon: Of course it exists. The Caltrain east / HSR west option is the first alternative that HNTB fleshed out, and they're also working on the Caltrain west / HSR east option. The latter, from all my latest understanding, is the alternative that will ultimately be carried forward. The integrated FSSF architecture is already off the table, as best as I can tell, mostly due to freight access and separation requirements.
We'll find out for sure on April 1st. Decide, Announce, Defend.
Altamont was where CHSRA first, most explicitly, and completely unambiguously telegraphed that maximizing cost was more important that minimizing environmental impact, maximizing ridership, minimizing construction risk, or maximizing public benefit.
Now that's nothing unusual, and nothing at all unprecedented, especially here in the Bay Area, but up until that point it was possible for the willfully naïve (me!) to entertain the remote possibility that building a functioning public transportation system was anywhere in the top 20 positions on the priority list.
The total and monomaniacal focus on the BART extension Fremont-San Jose, which would be superfluous under an Altamont-Fremont-SJ conventional rail routing, will end up costing the public an extra $30 to $40 billion, even disregarding the permanent destruction of regional Caltrain peninsula service which is now coming as a bonus.
(Consider the back of this envelope: $10+ billion for BART Fremont-SJ-Santa Clara. Pacheco tunnelling, lower ridership, and higher operating cost. Billions extra for duplicate stations in SJ and SF. Billions extra for Altamont "overlay". Billions extra for Dumbarton. Many billions extra for SF-Sacramento via the hopelessly UPRR-captive Amtrak Capitol steam trains. Billions more to build four tracks all the way SF-SJ on an active rail corridor than to build Redwood City-Tracy in far easier circumstances. A billion or two to separate Caltrain from HSR and force Caltrain to mix with freight. And more. It all adds up. To a lot. Really rapidly.)
Engineering and politics are all about trade-offs, and PBQD determined for us all that maximizing cost would always be the sole criterion against which everything else would always be traded off. Not one single "engineering" decision since then has done anything except maximize cost. You've got to hand it to them for consistency and focus and diligence in the pursuit of their chosen goal. Quite admirable, in its own way.
The thing to keep in mind is that these people aren't in the public service business or in the project delivery business: they're in the profit maximization business and in the self aggrandizement (those Yurrupeens know nothing!) business. Just as you'd expect of Legitimate Businessmen running a racket anywhere, and of wannabe big fish in the very small ponds of US public transportation agencies.
The FFSS/SSFF alignment is what they're very publicly pursuing down in LA as well, so it's not outrageous to think they're leaning that way up north.ReplyDelete
It seems it all comes down to the freight issue. I suppose the CHSRA would rather fight for more money than start a fight over freight abandonment.
Well are they pushing FFSS/SSFF or totally segregated HSR-HSR-CT-CT / CT-CT-HSR-HSR ?ReplyDelete
@ Richard -ReplyDelete
There you go ranting and raving again. Unfortunately, your link to the "same document" is broken.
Which is a shame, since your diligence has apparently unearthed an important development:
CHSRA is now apparently looking at a FFSS track order (west to east) rather than SFFS as previously advertised. Residential homes immediately west of the corridor would therefore be exposed to higher noise levels.
FFSS would minimize the number of track crossings required to accommodate UPRR traffic, but Caltrain is anyhow asking FRA to let it restrict that to nighttime hours.
The change in preferred track order also means maintaining Caltrain baby bullet service would require track sections or Caltrain stations with a total of six tracks in the corridor. Considering the capacity bottleneck in the present design is the DTX tunnel and station throat in SF, that's overkill even where PCJPB already owns enough land.
It's also possible the FFSS track order is now being looked at because CHSRA could not or did not want to persuade Caltrain to abandon its CBOSS project in favor of an ERTMS implementation for the entire corridor.
It's not immediately clear to me that this is a case of CHSRA screwing Caltrain. It's entirely possible Caltrain is simply shooting itself in the foot (and reloading quickly).
Well are they pushing FFSS/SSFF or totally segregated HSR-HSR-CT-CT / CT-CT-HSR-HSR ?ReplyDelete
In LA it's HSR-HSR-FRA-FRA/FRA-FRA-HSR-HSR. FRA being Amtrak/Metrolink/Freight.
There could be (and the pretty CHSRA 3d simulations show) metrolink-liveried HSR trains running on the HSR tracks. Similarly there could be caltrain-liveried HSR trains running on the HSR tracks on the peninsula. could.
Freight abandonment in LA isn't really an option, and Metrolink and Amtrak don't have any announced plans to replace their rolling stock with non-compliant equipment.
maintaining Caltrain baby bullet service would require track sections or Caltrain stations with a total of six tracks in the corridor
Another option would be more HSR stations that only caltrain-liveried/ticketed trains stop at. IE: the "baby" bullets run on the HSR tracks making the same stops they do now, while the HSR expresses pass on the outside tracks and locals run on the "caltrain" tracks.
FFSS also means you lose any chance of a cross-platform transfer between locals and expresses.
Another option would be more HSR stations that only caltrain-liveried/ticketed trains stop at.ReplyDelete
I realize of course that also means six tracks, my point is that those could be 4 HSR + 2 Caltrain instead of 2 HSR + 4 Caltrain at the baby bullet stations.
One more note to ETCS and freight RRs: american freight RRs already use key element of ETCS L3 - train integrity detection device (FRED). If they push L3 development, they could implement PTC without costly train detection systems.ReplyDelete
@ Andy Duncan -ReplyDelete
Well are they pushing FFSS/SSFF or totally segregated HSR-HSR-CT-CT / CT-CT-HSR-HSR ?
By definition, FFSS means HSR(SB)-HSR(NB)-CT(SB)-CT(NB).
SB = southbound
NB = northbound
For a baby bullet to cut over to HSR tracks, it would have to cross a track dedicated to traffic from the other direction. In a high-traffic environment, that's not a safe maneuver unless you're willing to sacrifice a lot of capacity.
Ergo, either of FFSS or SSFF would preclude all scheduled Caltrain Baby Bullets unless additional tracks were added on the Caltrain side.
Note that transfers between HSR and Caltrain locals in the same direction would not be cross-platform. You'd have to go up or down a level to cross the tracks. Hardly the end of the world, but definitely less convenient - especially if you're traveling with a lot of baggage, with kids, a bicycle or you happen to be in a wheelchair.
FSSF was never given any decent consideration. But has SFFS been eliminated?ReplyDelete
Rafael is correct, totally segregated operations are where this all seems headed. Caltrain is burdened with all these annoying freight compatibility issues (clearances, grades, platforms, PTC, etc) that force an artificial segregation from HSR. And HSR doesn't mind: they'd rather have their own train set to play with, without Caltrain to muck up their operations. That's apparently their idea of a "shared" corridor... separate but equal, if you will.ReplyDelete
And yes, the Baby Bullet is essentially dead... it is claimed that all Caltrain services will do SF-SJ in under one hour, but I just can't see how that will happen without nixing (or continuing to nix, in Baby Bullet fashion) any sort of rush-hour local service. They are perpetuating the trade-off between speed and frequency of service, rather than achieving both. Sorry Belmont, sorry Cal Ave, sorry Broadway Burlingame, you're shafted. Even after $5+ billion spent on the corridor.
@Joey: SFFS was eliminated early on because of operational considerations (Caltrain correctly prefers island platforms, and HSR doesn't want Caltrain in the way when "wrong way" commuter operations are needed.)
Do we have any hard data showing that Caltrain locals operated by EMUs can even achieve one hour run times? From the spreadsheet that Clem (I believe) created for timetable generation, the stats yielded run times in the 85m department (where they are now, basically)ReplyDelete
I suppose a 60m local wouldn't be the end of the world, but hardly optimal
Also, where's the freight-justification for segregating the HSR tracks from Caltrain tracks? I realize that freight causes wear and tear; presumably however, each of the four tracks will be engineered to similar standards of quality (they all will be supporting similar speeds; there hardly is justifiable reason to mandate that Caltrain's track takes the beating from freight trains when Caltrain's tracks will require a similar degree of precision as the HSR tracks)
Could some arrangement be created where freight spurs cross the easternmost HSR track without a point / junction? (e.g. a diamond)
Lastly, UPRR is full of crap when it makes noise about Plate H. I remember citing a section from the trackage-rights agreement a while back where UPRR (SPRR at the time) agreed to pay for the incremental cost of supporting greater clearances.
Why isn't anyone at Caltrain or the Authority calling bullshit on them now?
Things could be worse. Use Caltrain for locals, then use the HSR line for express. When I was in Munich in December, I took the ICE train to Nurnberg, then took an express local traveling at 120mph back to Munich that was on the same express tracks the ICE runs on. Caltrain just needs to buy a few sets of these and keep them on the express tracks and the locals on the slow ones. Or, just have some commute HSR sets for the Gilroy to SF portion.ReplyDelete
Just need to look at it a different way and if we get a lemon built, make lemonaide with it. Things are not always wrong, they are different and it will just take some adaptability. Like I said before, the track set up shouldn't be a problem.
@Anonymoose, I should caution the timetable spreadsheet included over 20 intermediate stops and the slow crawl into Transbay. Caltrain quotes 70 minutes for a 15-stop local, which seems about consistent once you account for the apples-vs-oranges factors.ReplyDelete
The bigger issue is that without overtakes, you can't have speed AND frequency. You can only have speed OR frequency. The people who make these decisions at Caltrain seem to have already settled for the latter. What we'll never know (how good commuter service could have been) can't hurt us.
@Eric M: That might be practical if Caltrain selected ERTMS. I'm not going to hold my breath: they will stick with CBOSS until the bitter end. These R&D projects take on a life of their own; good people's entire careers are invested in them.
Just trying, desperately, to save Caltrain from this stupid freight train-driven disaster of CBOSS and no shared track/signaling/platform infrastrucure with HSR. Is there some clever way, perhaps, to rescue Caltrain by reserving (wasting) one full non-electrified track exclusively for FRA "steam"/freight and have 3 co-equal high-quality electrified/ERTMS tracks for shared HSR and Caltrain use?ReplyDelete
Freight on the west, where most all of the spurs are. Two HSR/Caltrain tracks, center platform, and one HSR/Caltrain track. With enough clever scheduling, high-speed turnouts and bi-directional operation at the two platform tracks, could it be made to work somehow?
Most freight spurs are on the east. And it really shouldn't be such a big deal to use one of the HSR/CalTrain tracks for freight at night (or two, I guess)ReplyDelete
Eric M: yes, running trains this way is possible. The problems are,ReplyDelete
a) It's slow. The express regional trains between Munich and Nuremberg need to dwell 15 minutes in Ingolstadt to allow the ICEs to overtake them.
b) It robs HSR of flexibility with station design. With either SFFS or FSSF and two island platforms at every express station, HSR can in principle stop at any express station. This is useful if it turns out that the chosen Peninsula stop is suboptimal, which it will be. (RWC was chosen for no other reason other than to stick it to Palo Alto.)
This solution is really only for when there's no good way to make track sharing work. The commuter Kodamas, the Javelin, and the Munich-Nuremberg Express all serve fundamentally different trips from their countries' legacy commuter rail: longer, much faster, almost intercity. On SF-SJ, Caltrain is supposed to have nearly the same top speed of HSR; there's no reason to exclude it from the HSR tracks.
Therefore, I would not be at all surprised if each of the major US railroads ended up implementing its own PTC solution.ReplyDelete
Railroads have been designing to single standards for a very long time. Why do you think it's called "standard gauge"? How come a freight car from any North American railroad can be coupled to any other freight car from a North America railroad and be shipped cross country?
US freight railroads are run by people who want to make money. It's very efficient to have locomotives run all over North America. YouTube is fairly lousy with videos of East Coast locomotives running on West Coast track and vice versa. The railroads aren't going to give up that efficiency.
They are complaining vehemently that the locomotives don't need two displays, they aren't going to go for multiple sets of redundant control systems.
@Adirondacker, not sure what your point is? That Caltrain should end up with two displays in every cab, rather than the tiny sub-fleet of ancient freight locomotives (some still in D&RGW tiger stripes) that are captive to the peninsula?ReplyDelete
Another point I forgot to mention: one of Caltrain's arguments against ERTMS was the considerable expense of a GSM-R network. Well, here it is, it will get built on someone else's dime. Does that change anything at all? Anything?
Goodness gracious, the usual dense suspects are again certain that any deviation from their preference surely won't work or will add 15 minutes to schedules. But who has time to think through such things when one is spamming their profound insight on every possible transportation blog?ReplyDelete
CAHSR's design has 2 intermediate stops between SF and SJ. The baby bullets currently have 4. At 125mph 2 additional stops add 6 minutes (or less) to schedules, so basically a baby bullet would use roughly 2 HSR slots instead of 1. Twice an hour is thus no big deal that doesn't require overtakes if you do a little bit of schedule planning. You certainly don't need 2 minutes dwell times at these intermediate stations and the acceleration curve doesn't flatten much until above 125mph. Simply use HSR equipment for the baby bullets, you can rearrange the interior into a higher capacity commuter configuration. With 400m platforms 2 per hour should be sufficient, and the other HSR trains will have seats available as intercity riders exit at SJ, Palo Alto, and Millbrae.
Caltrain runs local service on its 2 tracks, baby bullet equivalents run on the HSR tracks in the standard HSR train shells as either CAHSR or Caltrain branded service.
Simply use HSR equipment for the baby bulletsReplyDelete
Riiiiight. And do groceries in the Lamborghini?
Well, that's just it: this rigged segregated track plan will enrich CHSRA's builders and service operator while screwing Caltrain. By keeping expensively-built, segregated express tracks all to itself, CHSRA hopes to assume the premium Baby Bullet express market on the Peninsula at the expense of Caltrain, eventually reduced to all-local service. The Baby Bullet is Caltrain's high-demand premium service and the source of its ridership growth. Caltrain could easily charge a premium fare for its high-demand Baby Bullet express service, but CHSRA's contract operator would rather reap those profits for itself. Caltrain is reduced to BART's all-local service pattern and placed under significant financial strain. Over time, BART boosters will claim that: "Transfers kill ridership! Since all-local Caltrain is now no faster than BART, BART should just run straight from Millbrae to Santa Clara to ring the Bay!!!" Caltrain gets replaced by BART at great cost, the riders get fleeced at every stage, and the contractors reap mega-billions in ill-gained profit from overbuilt construction and service cherry-picking.ReplyDelete
CHSRA needs to somehow justify its grossly inflated ridership and revenue estimates with the premium express commuter market, which is substantially bigger than the intercity passenger market.
I might add that CHSRA needs the express commute trains to fill all the enormous amounts of excess capacity left on its own segregated HSR tracks, otherwise mostly quiet and empty except for the rather rare long-distance train.ReplyDelete
not sure what your point is?ReplyDelete
That railroads don't operate the way Raphael thinks they do. They interchange locomotives all the time, just like they interchange cars. They will agree on one standard so they can continue to freely interchange locomotives.
one of Caltrain's arguments against ERTMS was the considerable expense of a GSM-R network.
Hmm. I thought the main argument for GSM-R was that it was off the shelf and therefore reliable and cheap. Hmm.
"Riiiiight. And do groceries in the Lamborghini?"ReplyDelete
Ridiculously false analogy, combined with cutting off my quote to misrepresent my position. At times some of you HSR foamers are similar to the NIMBY's in your methods and mentality.
I said they could use an HSR shell with a modified interior that provides more seats for commuters. Completely 2x2 seating with more rows per car and no food service areas. At 400 meters you approach the capacity of Caltrain's current baby bullet trains, and with a duplex you can basically match car for car capacity. The current CAHSR plan is to use HSR equipment for basically a commute pattern to SJ and the peninsula from Gilroy, Merced, and Fresno, but they couldn't possibly do the same for Gilroy, SJ, and the peninsula to SF?
But that is just using the extreme example of CAHSR insisting on allowing only one standard of HSR on their tracks, for uniform operating characteristics on all trains. A competent operator should be able to mix in a second type of equipment designed specifically for the commuter market, such as a 125mph max set. Done in Europe, doable here. Might add a minute or two to a few intercity schedules, the world won't collapse. Also doesn't preclude bypass tracks at a station or two for overtakes, thereby providing even more capacity. Lots of options.
BTW, this doesn't mean I prefer separate HSR tracks to FSSF or SFFS. I'm simply noting that separation of the HSR tracks is certainly possible, would function ok, and wouldn't in any way prevent a baby bullet type service from continuing. Despite that conflicting with the artificial constructs of some posters' HSR/Caltrain worldviews. There are many ways to provide a package of desired services.
"Well, that's just it: this rigged segregated track plan will enrich CHSRA's builders and service operator while screwing Caltrain. By keeping expensively-built, segregated express tracks all to itself, CHSRA hopes to assume the premium Baby Bullet express market on the Peninsula at the expense of Caltrain, eventually reduced to all-local service."ReplyDelete
Bingo, this is all about THE MAN trying to keep you down. (Insert defiant clenched fist icon here.) Fart the power!
(Never mind that Caltrain could supply the equipment, market the service, negotiate access fees, and collect all revenues for a baby bullet type service using the HSR tracks if they so choose...)
Riiiiight. And do groceries in the Lamborghini?ReplyDelete
In Alfa Romeo. Something like tiltless Pendolino (V <= 250 km/h) or Railjet-style push-pull trainsets (V <= 230 km/h).
"CAHSR's design has 2 intermediate stops between SF and SJ. The baby bullets currently have 4. At 125mph 2 additional stops add 6 minutes (or less) to schedules, so basically a baby bullet would use roughly 2 HSR slots instead of 1."
What you're doing here is (a) casting a service pattern in stone (these are the only express train stops, forever); (b) ignoring the collector-distributor pattern which characterizes both all successful transit service in the world and which also characterizes ridership on the peninsula; (c) maximizing the amount of infrastructure built at extremely high cost; and (d) minimizing the utilization of the infrastructure.
Now in fact I argue for the contrary of (a) all the time -- matching infrastructure to a service pattern, just the way successful systems designed and operated by grown-ups do it. But saying "we're going to build a 100% independent, segregated, parallel system on the same right of way, there are the stations, and that's it" you're guaranteeing failure. First I'll bet you real money they won't be building those intermediate stations at all (not part of the Sacred CHSRA Mission); secondly because this model ignores all transportation use that doesn't involve long-distance driving to a few, massive parking lots at a few, massive stations.
As for (b), the point of a shared corridor and transfers is that you can either (i) run trains matched to particular demand (e.g. local Transbay-Milbrae, express Palo Alto, local San Jose) or (ii) operate zero penalty transfer service patterns that do exactly the same thing. In contrast, in a model of stand-alone HSR stations somewhere in the vague neighbourhood of stand-alone slow-trains-only Caltrain stations, you never even have the option of doing (i) -- once the concrete is poured and the right of way filled up the wrong way, we're screwed, forever; and the penalty for (ii) becomes severe -- 3 or 4 minutes to exit express train, change levels, walk to vaguely adjacent local station (probably through two sets of ticket gates!), change levels, board. And remember that all this time the local train has to wait for its "connection", arriving 3-4 minutes before the all-important express, departing 3-4 minutes after it does in order to allow transfers.
As for (c), with four tracks corridor long and zero connection between service and infrastructure we'll see massive under-use.
On the dedicated, segregated, independent express-only tracks at most 2 HSR per direction per hour for the first decade, perhaps maxing our at 4tph in the future, and per your optimistic claim maybe 2 regional expresses ("Baby Bullet", but even fewer stops). That's under 30% of line capacity.
On the locals-only BART-ready Caltrain milk-run tracks, perhaps 3-4tph of stopping service. Under 50% of line capacity.
All with the added bonus that if there's any service disruption on either side of the HS/local wall there's absolutely no redundancy and ability to flexibly reroute to recover.
All told that's a lot of concrete and a huge amount of neighborhood impact and a mas$$$$$$$ive amount of money that's going to be sitting around doing nothing but depreciating most of the time.
"Twice an hour is thus no big deal that doesn't require overtakes if you do a little bit of schedule planning."
Perfectly correct observation, applied with perfect sophistry to obscure the real point.
Now apply your observation to a shared corridor with shared tracks and shared stations and with limited, strategic sections of multi-tracking and you might be on to something!
I'm kind of sympathizing with Anonymous on this one. The two real losses in FFSS are:ReplyDelete
(1) No cross-platform transfers.
(2) Reduced operational flexibility if one track is blocked.
For sure, these are non-trivial losses. But all of this speculation about a hidden BART plot to ring the Bay seems like extreme extrapolation from the available data. It's not clear where even a fraction of the money would come from to fund such an expansion. San Francisco Co. would want no part of it, Santa Clara Co. is going to spend the next 30 years paying of BART to SJ, and San Mateo Co. isn't big enough to fund such a project on its own.
CHSRA needs to somehow justify its grossly inflated ridership and revenue estimates with the premium express commuter market
Realistically, the "premium express commuter market" isn't going to amount to a lot of revenue from CHSRA's perspective. A 3 zone monthly pass is $160/mo, or about $3.60/ride. Suppose that they charge a 50% premium and collect $5.50/ride. Even at 10 million riders/yr (Caltrain's total ridership), they are only pulling in $55 million. That is serious change from Caltrain's perspective, but it's rounding error compared to carrying, say, 20 million long-distance passengers at $50/pax average ($1 billion/yr).
Premium commuters would help CHSRA meet ridership forecasts (as well they should, since they are directly induced by the HSR system investment), but that's only for PR purposes. CHSRA can easily claim them in ridership numbers, even if those commuters are carried by Caltrain operated equipment that has a few CHSRA logos on it.
"You certainly don't need 2 minutes dwell times at these intermediate stations"ReplyDelete
If you buy into the 200kmh/125mph fairy tale for HS trains on your segregated fast tracks, and if you do the arithmetic, and if you look at real world operations today, you'll find the overall stop penalty (including dwell time) is several times this.
And that's ignoring the 6+ minute connecting train penalty on the ignored Caltrain side ... assuming you even make the effort of thinking about "transfers" at all.
"and the acceleration curve doesn't flatten much until above 125mph."
False. Not only that, but the capital cost curve rises rapidly above 100mph. (Look at real world procurement!)
"Simply use HSR equipment for the baby bullets, "
"... other HSR trains will have seats available as intercity riders exit at SJ, Palo Alto, and Millbrae."
A brilliant and completely original observation! So, building on that world class insight, why not run the excess-capacity HSR trains on the same tracks and serve the same stations on the same timetable and accept the same tickets as the trains labelled "Caltrain"? Or, equivalently (per a profound Noetherian underlying symmetry of the physical universe), why not carry passengers who have tickets with destinations like "Bakersfield"on one of those trains that, despite being labelled "Caltrain" in small print somewhere, makes just a few stops in 50 miles and arrives in San Jose right across the platform from another train that's just about to start its trip to lovely Los Banos and points south?
I think you might be on to something here!
And ... bear with me, because this is a truly radical step ... if somehow it turns out that not all seats are filled on all the 9 high speed trains per direction every hour that CHSRA claims will run to San Francisco then maybe ... I know, it's hard to conceive of, and really weird and blue sky thinking ... maybe just some of those partially-empty trains are just clogging up the system, requiring heroic infrastructure spending, driving up operating costs, and maybe ... maybe ... somebody might imagine that some of them needn't run all the way at all. Crazy ideas, I know!
But don't Deutsche Bahn and SNCF only plan on having trains 75% full, not 100?ReplyDelete
"... only plan on having trains 75% full, not 100?"ReplyDelete
PBQD-Soprano is striving for single digits.
Ever taken the BART ghost train ride south of Daly City? Visited haunted Millbrae station, the one predicted by those some lovable rogues at PB to see 33,000 daily riders? Lots of personal space to stretch out. But watch out for tumbleweeds.
Anon, the Baby Bullet runs skip-stop service, which is how it gets 4 intermediate stops. This works if you want to get from SJ or Palo Alto to SF, but if you want to take intermediate trips, you need to transfer. SSFF service would make that even worse than it is today - nowadays it's a same-platform transfer.ReplyDelete
So SSFF would force the Baby Bullet to have 7 intermediate stops, 5 more than all-local HSR trains and 7 more than express HSR trains. Unlike with SFFS or FSSF, there would be no way of doing this with switching back and forth between the local and express tracks. CAHSR is assuming a station penalty of 3 minutes on the Peninsula at 200 km/h, so we're talking 15-21 minutes extra time, not 6. Suddenly, this isn't just 2 HSR slots.
"One more note to ETCS and freight RRs: american freight RRs already use key element of ETCS L3 - train integrity detection device (FRED). If they push L3 development, they could implement PTC without costly train detection systems."ReplyDelete
Doesn't need to be pushed that hard, it's almost there.
Here i a link to a brochure:
and here is a link to a small movie, subtitled in english.
Unfortunately, the Banverket L3 project is a special case. It's a low traffic route with a fixed set of trains. Under those circumstances it is possibly cheaper to put most of the PTC functionality into the trains themselves (i.e. what L3 does). The train integrity devices used in North America are only suitable for lowly or moderately trafficked routes because they rely on GPS measurements and therefore need some time to detect faults. In a high volume traffic environment those devices have only a few seconds to alert the system. For integrated trainsets that have an eletronic data bus (e.g. high-speed trains) fast integrity detection is not a problem. But for assembled freight trains this problem is yet to be solved on a commercial level.
There's exactly the same distribution of PTC functionality between onboard on all L1/L2/L3. The train knows its position via balises and odometry, the trackside equipment (L1) or RBC (L2, L3) issues Movement Authority and the onboard unit (OBU) forces any movements to be within movement authority and in compliance with speed profile.ReplyDelete
The train integrity devices used in North America are only suitable for lowly or moderately trafficked routes because they rely on GPS measurements and therefore need some time to detect faults.
IIRC, the primary means of train integrity detection is brake pipe pressure monitoring.
I agree it needs research and testing to put it in commercial operation. That is what I meant by pushing its development.
Off topic ---I hope you don't object.ReplyDelete
Just leaked out is the true story on Morshed’s sudden departure.
Rather than the announced reason, being Morshed wanted to retire, what happened is the following:
Pringle after being blasted by the LAO at the Jan. committee meeting over the business plan, was so upset that he want back and got the board to immediately have Morshed fired. It became a done deal right away.
Pringle and his So. Cal. members now fully control the board.
Barker, the deputy director, has had close ties with Pringle on many issues in the past, and as you now note, he is doing all the talking now.
So there you have it.
This has become pretty widely known now in Sacramento; I’m surprised that Cruickshank, with all his inside info didn’t know this, or perhaps didn’t want to disclose this over on his blog.
Unless you have any official sources verifying it, it's still just a rumor.ReplyDelete
"* Developed initial 4-track configuration plans (Caltrain-eastside/HSR-Westside) and draft 4-track cross sections (Caltrain/HSR)"ReplyDelete
Richard, that is actually going to work out OK.
You know how this will work?
- Eastside tracks will carry Caltrain locals and UP freights;
- Westside tracks will carry HSR *and Caltrain expresses*. That's what's going to happen -- Caltrain will simply subcontract to run trains on the fast tracks. There will be substantially more platforms built on the fast tracks than HSR needs.
The absence of cross-platform transfer and the impossibility of semi-expresses will be very annoying, but it will allow the entire system to work even with the current FRA rules problem.
Richard Mxyzptlkx wrote:ReplyDelete
"As I've said over and over: the moment CHSRA/BART killed Altamont they"
... demonstrated that some people are completely obsessed with a fatally flawed alignment which can't be constructed for environmental reasons.
"@anon: Of course it exists. The Caltrain east / HSR west option is the first alternative that HNTB fleshed out, and they're also working on the Caltrain west / HSR east option. The latter, from all my latest understanding, is the alternative that will ultimately be carried forward."
But *all the freight spurs are on the east side*. It makes *absolutely no sense* to put the line with freight service on the west side. Now *that* is a clear cut example of slushing money to contractors for unnecessary flyovers!
Caltrain will simply subcontract to run trains on the fast tracks.ReplyDelete
With an incompatible sub-fleet of expensive, overly-capable trains using a different floor height, different boarding height, different train control system, and what else? Total lack of operational flexibility, perhaps? What an idiotic idea.
You hit the head right on the nail: what is needed is (a) one fleet, (b) cross-platform transfers, (c) track capacity that can be dynamically re-allocated based on actual demand patterns, not some guess a quarter-century in the future.
it will allow the entire system to work even with the current FRA rules problem.
The FRA rules problem is totally blown out of proportion if there is a temporal separation (i.e. a Caltrain / HSR curfew)... I understand that post-midnight HSR arrivals in SF are causing all sorts of additional layers of FRA complexity over and above the fairly simple concept of temporal separation. I'm also led to believe that in these situations, solutions that rely on inexpensive operational tricks are not sought out.
all the freight spurs are on the east side
Yeah, I wondered too. But then it was pointed out to me that all the passengers are on the west side... but the only advantage I could see to that was saving each passenger, what, 30 feet on each trip through the pedestrian underpass?
I've stopped seeking the logic.