25 May 2011

The Root of the Problem, Visualized

All of the engineering design work for HSR on the peninsula is predicated on a future service plan described in Appendix K of the Alternatives Analysis, featuring 10 commuter trains per hour per direction and 8 high-speed trains per hour per direction, with no timetable coordination whatsoever. The service pattern generator can now display this for you graphically, showing where four tracks would be needed to operate this particular service pattern. We already knew the answer: four tracks everywhere along the entire length of the peninsula.


  1. Works fine over here. Maybe your browser or antivirus or ISP disallows very long URL query strings.

  2. so let's start building up the corridor. Damn the NIMBYs, full speed ahead!

  3. Yikes. I'm pretty sure 6 Caltrain tph and 4 HSR tph is all you'll ever need.

  4. Caltrain First26 May, 2011 08:55

    Agreed. 6 Caltrain tph and 4 HSR tph represent the peak capacity this single-line, closed-ended corridor will ever need.

    For at least the first decade of full HSR operation, expect only 1-2 HSR tph.

    The name of the game for PB, HNTB, and friends is to build as much concrete and design complexity as they can get away with.

  5. Is anyone even listening to the experts' grim analysis of HSR's finances? This thing is a fiscal nightmare looming over California's budgetary future. Put a halt to it now, for heaven's sake. It's a clear and obvious disaster that should be killed off immediately.

  6. Apparently, it was IE8 being dumb

  7. @Anon: you've come to the wrong place to argue against HSR in principle. This thing need not be any more of a fiscal nightmare than more freeway widening and more airport runways. I will concede that there is a major difference: we don't demand an investment grade business plan for more freeway lanes, because, uh, they're "free" and stuff.

    What is being debated here is the proper and cost-effective implementation of HSR. There are right ways to do it and wrong ways to do it. Everybody wants HSR "done right", and maybe if you stick around you might form your own opinion of what that means. If you don't like that there are other blogs where the merits of HSR can be debated ad nauseum.

  8. Clem, you had asked earlier how best to convince planners of your ideas through the environmental review process. I forget who it was, I think it was an HSR opponent from the Peninsula, had mentioned that you have to point out the environmental consequences of implementing a certain design. I think that this post would be a very strong basis for submitting a comment as part of the environmental review process to point out that the best way to mitigate the environmental consequences of implementing HSR on the Peninsula is schedule and platform height harmonization. Also in the comment you should suggest exactly how it could be done with the least amount of environmental impact. I think that might be a very convincing argument that would be very difficult for the planners to simply knock down.

  9. OK, for reference, what are all the other railroads doing for the PTCIPs?

    Is there a list?

  10. this is stupid

  11. Haven't seen much posted lately but with the latest blended news I wanted to try this out. I already know I am not as smart as you guys...

    Caltrain row becomes a high speed bullet train only corridor. No more milk runs. Close some stations. Transfer might be necessary if you want to go someplace other than SF or SJ. Clearly not as good as a 4 track system.

    HSR leaves SF at 1800 stopping at Mil at 1818, RWC at 1830, and SJC at 1854. These are baby bullet numbers but I think they will be faster.

    Baby Bullet leaves at 1805 and stops at San Bruno, San Carlos, Santa Clara and SJ. BB leaves at 1810 and stops at SSF, Belmont, and Lawrence. ETC. Every train stops at transfer stations at Millbrae and RWC to feed HSR and for improving non-SF/SJC destinations.

    This keeps the corridor moving at high speed except when every train on the system slows to stop at staggered stations. Commuters can hope a bullet train departing every half hour(max) which is actually an improvement.

    OK, now why won't this work.

  12. You've got the correct idea that matching the average speeds of all trains (including stops) is what leads to the highest throughput.

    What you describe is gutting local commuter service. Remember, a bullet at 79 mph, even electrified, stopping at Transbay, Mission Bay, 22nd, Millbrae, Hillsdale, RWC, Palo Alto, Mountain View, Santa Clara and SJ (i.e. the key bullet stops) takes nearly an hour and averages about 49 mph. You might as well shut everything else down...

    49 mph. Try that on for high-speed rail.

    Overtakes (with four tracks) are going to be required--the question is where.