|The rosy view, from 2011|
Notwithstanding, CBOSS easily rates as the most spectacular contract failure and biggest lawsuit in Caltrain's entire history, since the Peninsula Corridor Joint Powers Board was formed in 1985.
|Project expenditure history, by fiscal quarter. Fluctuations in|
recent quarters are unexplained, presumably related
to termination of the Parsons contract in 2017 Q2.
Gap reflects two missing quarterly reports.
The March 2018 board packet includes a new item awarding a $49.5 million contract to Wabtec to deploy I-ETMS on the peninsula rail corridor, presumably re-using some of the hardware and communications infrastructure already installed under the CBOSS contract. The "owner's cost," borne by Caltrain to cover program management and testing, has averaged $1.2 million/month over the past five years, and should stretch well into 2019 until PTC is fully deployed and activated. (Note the December 2018 statutory deadline only requires a "revenue service demonstration" over a limited portion of the corridor). Caltrain staff estimates that owner's costs will grow the I-ETMS deployment to $59.5 million, pushing the PTC project total to at least $261 million. The board packet hints at additional future program costs, beyond the $59.5 million "switching cost" from CBOSS to I-ETMS.
How much money did Caltrain waste on CBOSS?
To estimate how much money Caltrain wasted on CBOSS, we can examine the PTC project finances of other commuter rail systems deploying I-ETMS, but without the wasteful detour into research and development of globally unique alternative solutions. These PTC-related expenses are variously reported to each operator's board of directors, in press releases, or to the FRA.
|Operator||City||Route Miles Equipped||Vehicles Equipped||PTC Cost|
We then apply these estimated regression factors to Caltrain. With 52 route miles and 67 vehicles, the cost of I-ETMS deployment for Caltrain, had this solution been pursued from the beginning, would have been approximately 52 x 0.36 + 67 x 1 + 21 = $107M. This tells us two things.
First, we can infer from the $59.5M switching cost to I-ETMS that 107 - 60 = approximately $50M or just one quarter of the CBOSS sunk cost (including the fiber communications backbone and a subset of the control facilities and wayside/vehicle hardware) is salvageable for I-ETMS.
Second, since the total cost of Caltrain's PTC project is expected to reach at least $261M, we can infer that Caltrain wasted 261 - 107 = approximately $150 million on the egregious failure that was CBOSS.
$150 million flushed down the toilet. Heckuva job, Caltrain!
"It appears there will not be a functioning Communications-based Overlay Signal System (CBOSS). He asked whatDelete
can be salvaged from the $250 million in wasted equipment and consulting fees and if there is any opportunity to recover these losses through mitigation."
I assume the intended word was "litigation," not "mitigation."Delete
This is good news as it was basically inevitable that this would happen someday, however unfortunate it is that so much money would be wasted. Also, since high speed rail may eventually share the antelope valley line with Metrolink, it always seemed obvious that the HST’s would need to be fitted with both I-ETMS and ETCS. I’m sure it’s probably technically feasible to fit a train set with 3 authority control systems, simultaneously operating, but it sure seems ridiculous.ReplyDelete
Yes, and crossrail will have AWS, ETCS, and CBTC.Delete
I wonder what the RTD total will be once they tally up the cost of flaggers.ReplyDelete
The grade crossing issue has bubbled up to the very top of the risk register for the electrification program.Delete
The mayhem in New Jersey and Connecticut where those scary electric passenger trains mix with stalwart diesel freight trains on the grade crossings is awful. Pennsylvania too, though Pennsylvania is working on eliminating them. Indiana. I'm not sure if Illinois has any.Delete
...though if the train is in the middle of the street running parallel with the automobile traffic, is that a grade crossing? It's just awful.Delete
Since I am not an expert on railway signalling technology, you will have to excuse me if this is a ridiculous question, but why does CAHSR have to use ETCS? Why can't they just deploy I-ETMS, too? I know it doesn't have the panache of being European (And we all know anything from Europe is higher quality than anything from the US - and those Europeans already know HSR.) But it seems like there could potentially be big teething issues from this European technology (which is designed with European power systems and European radio frequencies in mind) making the jump across the pond. Would some sort of moderate enhancement on top of I-ETMS make sense for HSR?ReplyDelete
I have little doubt that will be attempted, since Not Invented Here (NIH) sentiment runs strong.Delete
The European electromagnetic waves do differ in fundamental ways from American electromagnetic waves in that their wavelength is measured in meters, which could very well prove to be a fatal flaw.
On a more serious note, the CHSRA already holds the statewide rights to spectrum at 757-758 MHz and 787-788 MHz, presumably for use with a future LTE-R radio link for ETCS.
You run different software? When the thingy that converts the magic waves on the ether into digital bits and bytes is spewing out "Bonjour!" in ETCS it does ETCS and when the thingy is spewing out "Hiya!" in I-ETMS! it does I-ETMS? Or vice versa, I think the way I-ETMS and ACSES integration works is that the control center sends out the right kind of messages. On ACSES lines. It "talks" to the freight trains in I-ETMS. On freight lines that are I-ETMS the Amtrak locomotive that wanders through once a day "talks" I-ETMS. I dunno for sure. Multiple vendors did integration testing, it works.Delete
"When trains enter or leave LGVs they pass over a ground loop that automatically switches the driver's dashboard indicators to the appropriate signalling system. For example, a train leaving an LGV for a "ligne classique" has its TVM system deactivated and its traditional KVB "Contrôle de Vitesse par Balises" (beacon speed control) system enabled."Delete
What are the features in ETCS that ETMS doesn't have that are pertinent to HSR? (I'm genuinely curious. Probably Google could tell me but I'm lazy and y'all are smart.)Delete
Even from a purely technical standpoint, handwaving away any institutional and bureaucratic hurdles to deploying ETMS here, there has to be a non-zero amount of work that would have to be done to deploy ETCS here (Is ETCS running anywhere in North America at the moment?) The risk that this work would blow up has to be weighed against the risk that extending ETMS to handle these HSR-related features would blow up.
But really, a truly sober risk assessment has to include the bureaucratic institutions and such as they are as a factor, since bureaucracy can blow up projects just as well as technical issues. FRA and whoever else are all thoroughly familiar with ETMS, whereas ETCS would indeed fall victim to NIH syndrome. Not saying that's a good thing, but it's reality.
There are two features of ETCS that are important-- one, it is a maturing system that has been operating on 200 mph railroads for about a decade, and two, it is a technology standard, not a vendor's product.Delete
It's interesting that you raise the possibility of adapting I-ETMS to very high speed rail in the very same thread where we are discussing how an organization who thought they could reinvent a better wheel spectacularly crashed and burned. If that isn't an object lesson, I don't know what is!
When they can get standard 2.3.4a to interoperate with version 2.3.4b or whatever it is that takes them years to iron out.Delete
It seems like you're several versions behind the times. The whole point is indeed that it's already mostly ironed out (unlike I-ETMS, by the way...)Delete
@orulz A good argument for ETCS (Level 2) is that it is proven in high-speed applications (such as several LGVs in France, or the Gotthard Base Tunnel). Fast applications (200 km/h) do exist as well, and, for example the SBB Neubaustrecke work very well, with 6 to 10 trains per direction and hour.Delete
As Clem states, ETCS is a standard, and there are various vendors selling equipment. In the case of the Gotthard Base Tunnel, vehicles with equipment from the various vendors do operate concurrently nowadays (there was some ironing out of issues in the months before the opening, but at the end, no class equipped with ETCS was banned from the line.
Interesting piece but flawed. First and foremost, I-ETMS is not CBOSS. One cannot make a valid value comparison of the two without reducing CBOSS to the limited feature set of I-ETMS which was designed around freight RRs like UPRR. It's like Tesla vs. VW Bug. I-ETMS will not provide the layers of safety/protection or operational features in CBOSS. Features that for example would provide the backbone to eliminate layers of '50s technologies on the Wayside that cost many millions each year to maintain. Also missing from this discussion are the critical crossing features that I-ETMS does not provide, and which must now be replaced with yet another 50's style overlay. Unfortunately, we opted for the quick fix in the hopes of meeting the PTC mandate, and saving some money - we think. OK. But that date will come and go, and be extended again. CBOSS is difficult but also attainable and so close. I wish we had hung in there and got it right. CBOSS is a technology that will extend and grow with our transportation needs. I-ETMS is not CBOSS.Delete
I don't think anyone claimed that I-ETMS was CBOSS. It may have been claimed that CBOSS was I-ITCS with extra bells & whistles. Whatever it is or it was, it's over, and talking about it in the present tense is just nostalgia. As far as "saving money" goes, I think we all know what actually happened... and please, it wasn't "so close."Delete
I-EMTS, whatever its flaws, at least has the saving grace that its installed base will be very large, absolving Caltrain of the responsibility to support the lifecycle of a unique and complex software product that isn't remotely related to its core business. It also vastly simplifies or eliminates the interoperability issues.
One question I would have for PTC insiders is why I-ITCS was replaced by I-ETMS on Amtrak's Michigan Line-- apparently I-ITCS only does the grade crossing advance activation anymore. Kind of odd for a PTC system that "worked" to be replaced so soon, no?
From the State Auditor's website: "An 'improper governmental activity' is defined as any action by a state agency or any action by a state employee directly related to state government that violates the law, violates an Executive Order of the Governor, violates a Rule of Court, violates the State Administrative Manual or State Contracting Manual, is economically wasteful, or involves gross misconduct, incompetency, or inefficiency."ReplyDelete
Do you think this mess fits the bill? Considering I have been watching this site for years and it accurately predicted this very outcome?
Hello Clem Thanks for all your blog posting over the last 9-10 years regarding the problems and eventual failure of CBOSS. I must ask why have you never brought your concerns directly to the JPB? I have never seen you come speak at the monthly board meetings, nor have I ever seen any correspondence to the board from you.ReplyDelete
I have made reference to your blogging and expressed my concerns about CBOSS a few times to the JPB, usually with no response from the JPB. The two responses I did receive insisted that CBOSS is not Caltrain specific nor globally unique and citing other various merits of CBOSS, which led me to be a bit cynical about your blogging on the issue. One of those response was from a (CBOSS) consultant after a JPB meeting which I raised concerns about CBOSS. Other members of the public have also raised concerns (written and verbal) about CBOSS but not with your technical expertise and detail. Unfortunately, some public comments were quite derogatory, which defeats any positive action or interest from Caltrain staff or the board.
Perhaps if your writings were more well-known and thoroughly brought to the JPB’s attention we may have been able to avoid this situation.
Some of the blame lies with the feds, since congress mandated PTC after the Chatsworth crash, yet not providing any funding for a PTC system, and original deadlines being pushed off. How many (PTC preventable) accidents have there been since Chatsworth in 2008?
Unfortunately, nobody will be held accountable, why? Granted there are lawsuits between Caltrain and Parsons but who knows what the outcome will be? Why were staff/consultants so convinced on CBOSS? Why didn’t Caltrain work with other commuter rail systems? I kind of have the impression that Caltrain thought they could market CBOSS to other railroads.
As you have pointed out, they have flushed a lot of money down the toilet. Meanwhile, Caltrain struggles with operating funding and riders must continue to pay higher fares.
Jeff, in this modern age of the internet, I believe it is ineffective to speak at public meetings. The rushed ritual of public comment does not lend itself to conveying complex or nuanced arguments. Know this: the board members who care about their jobs do their homework on key Caltrain issues, and are (at the very least) aware of the existence of this blog. This soap box has been quite effective.Delete
I don't know how you would hold anyone accountable. Back in 2009, CBOSS was the product of group think by a team who genuinely believed they could do it better, driven by Mark Bailey (the CBOSS lead systems engineer), aided by Bob Doty (who then headed up Caltrain modernization efforts, in the wake of his Baby Bullet success), and abetted by Mike Scanlon (who then ran Caltrain.) All three of them are good professional people who were trying to do their level best, however mistaken it might have been. There was no malice, just hubris.
The CBOSS breach of contract trial will be interesting to keep an eye on, unless they settle first, which I doubt given the $98 million that's in play. Pull up case file 17CIV00786 on the San Mateo Superior Court website to get the latest.
(Conveniently?) missing from the staff memo:ReplyDelete
“JPB will implement, at JPB’s sole cost, by December 31, 2018, or alternatively no later than December 31, 2019 if authorized by applicable law or regulation, a Wabtec I-ETMS® positive train control solution for any JPB trains operating on UP-owned track south of CP Lick, which PTC solution complies with applicable law and the Association of American Railroads Positive Train Control Interchange Agreement for ITC PTC systems (“AAR-PTC Interchange Agreement”). Notwithstanding the terms of any other agreement, if the JPB does not meet this deadline, the JPB will suspend operations on the Lick/Gilroy Line until such time that the JPB has implemented a PTC solution that meets the requirements of this paragraph.”
No mention of JPB implementing I-ETMS on UP's tracks!Delete
Only "for any JPB trains operating on UP-owned track".
Of course, the requirement is pointless unless and until UP has I-ETMS-enabled its tracks between CP Lick and Gilroy.
Last May, it was announced that:Delete
the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) and Federal Transit Administration (FTA) gave Caltrain a grant for $21.68 million to dual equip seven Caltrain trains with the Incremental Train Control System (ITCS) and Interoperable Electronic Train Management System (I-ETMS) Positive Train Control (PTC) systems for the San Jose to Gilroy corridor. The grant is intended to help commuter and intercity passenger railroads meet the December 31, 2018 deadline to implement PTC systems to improve safety. Under this new system, Caltrain trains will come to a full stop within Caltrain territory, deactivate the ITCS system, and then activate the I-ETMS system before proceeding onto the UP line.
This plan is now overcome by events.
"Under this new system, Caltrain trains will come to a full stop within Caltrain territory, deactivate the ITCS system, and then activate the I-ETMS system before proceeding onto the UP line."Delete
The LGV knob is to switch from the 3KV DC to the 25KV AC pantograph when entering the LGV.Delete
The signal switching is fully automated: https://youtu.be/1zSCRn5mfmY?t=626
"The grants under this program will be used to install PTC technology, including back office systems and wayside, communications, and onboard hardware equipment associated with railroads’ PTC systems." makes it sound like they have long since pissed away the dedicated funding for the Gilroy locos.Delete
Can anyone please explain what's up with this (PDF page 96)?ReplyDelete
In Process IFB/RFQ/RFP/Contract Amendments:
• Memorandum of Understanding MOU – 18-J-P-065 – Purchase of Electric Locomotive – Mitsui
• RFP – 18-J-S-066 – Overhaul Services of Electric Locomotive for PCEP – Amtrak
Maybe Caltrain is looking to operate short-line freight on the future electrified line?Delete
Caltrain is about to purchase an unspecified number (trying to find out...) of ex-Amtrak AEM-7AC locomotives for testing prior to EMU availability. Mitsui owns units 923, 925, 940, 943, 946, and 948.Delete
That extract is from the Nov 2017 PCEP progress report. The Jan 2018 progress report (at page 49) updates the status of these items to "Upcoming Contract Awards", so details (price, quantity) should be substantially complete by now.Delete
Any chance Caltrain would bid to be UP's shortline operator on the Peninsula? Even with the AEM-7ACs, they'd need diesels to serve the spurs out to the various customers out at the Port of Redwood City and the Port of SF, etc.Delete
With UP's help, SF Bay RR sent 38,000 truckloads worth (3,800 gondola cars) of SF construction dirt & debris down the Caltrain line 1,000 miles to Utah in 2017.
The scrappy little railroad shipped 2,200 railcars in 2016 and 1,700 in 2015. At a railcar-to-truck ratio of 1:10, that’s a heck of a lot of truck-miles taken off the roads.
Not wanting to run its trains under wires, UP plans to turn its Peninsula freight business over to a shortline operator after Caltrain is electrified. SF Bay RR hopes it won't lose its vital access to the national rail network as a result.
Given the political scrutiny, I wouldn't want Caltrain to do any freight. However, if there's some "clean-air" dollars floating around, the new operator should look to obtain dual-mode locomotives that run electric + diesel.Delete
@Reality Check: I wonder whether a Last Mile Diesel unit (TRAXX or Vectron) would be suitable for such an operation (electrical rating 4.4 to 6.4 MW; diesel rating 700 kW).Delete
Why would you want electric freight when the world is currently full of perfectly capable diesels? What problem are you solving?Delete
Following Reality Check's idea for Caltrain to become a shortline operator, and assuming that the Caltrain freight units would remain within the Caltrain network.Delete
Plus the better performance on the "main line", meaning that less line capacity is used up on freight.
@Clem asks a good question ... what problem would Caltrain using the AEM-7AC locos to haul freight be solving.Delete
I've heard one (or perhaps the) reason UP wants grades held to no more than 1% has to do with not wanting to worry about having to add extra power (locos) to its heavier freights to ensure sufficient power to stop and restart on such grades. If Caltrain were to take over as UP's choice of shortline operator, using the high-powered AEM-7ACs for off-hour freights might alleviate that concern (provided Caltrain even shares that concern).
Hmmm, I just checked, and the Quint Street lead track falls 18 feet in the 700 feet between Caltrain's #1 track and Quint Street. 18/700 looks like a 2.57% grade right there!
Most of modern rail engineering in the US consists of looking up a standard and RIGIDLY applying it, regardless of any specific condition. Somewhere in Omaha the BOOK says 1%. Discussion over. That's how we maintain our rail greatness that is the envy of the world.Delete
Hopefully UP doesn't find out about the Quint Street lead, or they'll make either SF or Caltrain rebuild it at public expense.
I call it: paint-by-numbers engineeringDelete
@Adrian: AEM7s have such laughably small tractive effort that they would make terrible freight locomotives. All that power is only useful at speeds higher than any freight train you’ve ever seen in the U.S.Delete
To conclude on the AEM-7 discussion: I found out that Caltrain is purchasing from Mitsui one test locomotive, ex-Amtrak #938. They are also purchasing #929 for parts to get #938 running. Both of them are AC's with newer traction bits and are currently located at Amtrak's maintenance facility in Bear, DE. Here's a video of them arriving there last year. I believe they plan to have Amtrak do the refurbishing before shipping out #938 to California. So this old Peninsula Rail 2000 illustration wasn't complete fiction after all.Delete
for a spin on this.
Thanks Clem for your outstanding coverage of the putrid mess.
"Roland Lebrun, San Jose, said the Board should read the October 6, 2011 minutes to understand how the JPB got into a mess about CBOSS. He said the Board should reach out to Metrolink to see how they reached the 2015 deadline. They did it in partnership with Wabtec, who was the lowest bidder for CBOSS in 2011 and was in a joint venture with PTG. The cost of the owner’s team ballooned from $50 million to $80 million. These are the people who should be fired and sued for cause. The JPB has to engage Wabtec as soon as possible and work with PTG towards a solution that will meet the new Federal deadline."Delete
The PA Daily Post picked up on this: see:ReplyDelete
I found the following article interesting:ReplyDelete
Specifically, this quote: “The complexity of our operations requires Amtrak to use three different PTC systems across our network.":
1) ACSES on Northeast Corridor
2) ITCS - For equipment that operates on a 98-mile stretch of track Amtrak owns in Michigan and to permit higher speed operation on the newly purchased and upgraded line owned by the State
3) I-ETMS - To operate across the host railroads that make up 72% of the miles our trains travel
CBOSS would've been number #4.
It's hard to understand the differences, but it's frequently stated that ITCS is used to allow 110mph speeds. Does that imply that I-ETMS limit is 90mph? I'd love to hear others take on this.
You can view the Caltrain Board meeting of March 1 2018 on YouTube atReplyDelete
1 hour 5 minutes
How a staff report can take so long and fail to disclose
the true nature of the debacle is amazing.
So what are the lessons learned?ReplyDelete
Start with a good timetable?
Keep slow traffic in the middle?
Don't short-change Caltrain service?
Use a common platform height?
Convert to level boarding?
No elephantine stations?
Straighten some curves?
Banish heavy freight trains?
Buy extra-wide trains?
Use off-the-shelf train control?
Use poles, not headspans?
Looks like the CBOSS success (and it was and is a success for all involved parties ... and you're forgetting the bonus hundred million or two of CBOSS spending that has been successdfully passed off as "electrification" and "EMUs" and "engineering services" and more) is just setting the stage for further consequence-free Caltrain triumphs.
Lesson learned? You just can't lower the bar low enough.
We need MOAR MA-NEY to prove once and for all that no-one is capable of pissing it away faster than our Owner's Team (OT): https://www.mercurynews.com/2018/03/06/horgan-more-cash-for-caltrain-oversight-credibility-a-problem/Delete
Why do something right the first time when you can do it over and over again and get away with it?Delete
Of interest may be that Ben Tripousis is leaving the HSR Authority effective March 9th. No press release of now.Delete
@Clem: Adrian!? You mean that masked man who posts stuff on the Friends of Caltrain Facebook group all the time?ReplyDelete
"Laughably low" tractive effort? Doh! I should'a thought of that. I'm guessing not enough weight on driven axles?
But thanks for the info on the e-lok buy. If they're only looking to get one working loco out of the deal, then I'm guessing it's just for testing and maybe some other random odd jobs.
Gosh, I inadvertently mixed you up with someone else.Delete
random odd jobs for the AEM-7AC: they'll also need something to haul the Holiday Train, right? They haven't said how much the cost is, but I'm guessing it's a little expensive for an ornament.Delete
In case you missed it: The latest CAHSR Business Plan (Draft) has been released. The new cost estimate is $77.3 billion, and the Silicon Valley/Central Valley schedule has moved out to 2029.ReplyDelete
in page 29 of the Basis of Estimate HSR is planning for at grade San Jose station and two Caltrain/HSR tracks through downtown Gilroy station, in addition to one freight track, exactly as Clem advocated.Delete
Not quite - there’s no indication that Caltrain would be allowed to use the HSR tracks south of Tamien. But yes, it looks like HSR between Tamien and Gilroy will be at-grade tracks in the UP ROW, with quad-gated grade crossings.Delete
The change to "at-grade to Gilroy" has received press coverage in SoCal:Delete
In case you missed it, Ben Tripousis quit the day the going out of business plan was released.ReplyDelete
Here is his replacement: http://sanfrancisco.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?view_id=29&clip_id=29975 (click on #3)Delete
What could possibly go wrong?
To save you the trouble of watching the SF TJPA board meeting video clip in which Tripousis announces his departure for "a private sector opportunity," he advises the board his successor will be Bruce Armistead: "I will be succeeded immediately by Mr. Bruce Armistead, who is our Chief of Rail Operations for the High-Speed Rail Authority ... he'll be taking over this seat in April ... his skills far exceed my own, so you will be well served by his participation ..."Delete
Is Armistead's role only to represent HSR on the TJPA board, or is he also replacing Tripousis as Northern California regional director for HSR? I wonder how much the near total de-scoping of San Jose HSR infrastructure (per 2018 draft business plan) might have played a role in Mr. Tripousis's decision to move on. There's just no more "there" there... and @Anon, what exactly do you mean by "what could possibly go wrong?" with Mr. Armistead?Delete
http://sanfrancisco.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?view_id=29&clip_id=28953 (click on #13)Delete
Mr. Tripousis allegedly quit because of "uncertainty".
At 1:48:00 of the October 12, 2017, TJPA meeting video, during the presentation on why 3 tracks (and not just 2) in the tunnel to TTT was determined to be essential, was a reference to the National Fire Protection Association's NFPA 130, Section 7.2.5: "One train per vent zone."Delete
Ventilation Concepts for Meeting One Train Per Vent Zone
NFPA 130, Section 7.2.5, states “The design and operation of the signaling system, traction power blocks, and ventilation system shall be coordinated to match the total number of trains that could be between ventilation shafts during an emergency.”
Transit and rail agencies typically develop strict sets of procedures to govern the backing of train movements because of safety reason. These procedures would also tend to elongate the time needed to back trains during a fire emergency. The extraction of non‐incident trains cannot be easily accomplished in the same time frame as the activation of the ventilation response. Therefore, the best protection to passengers and crew members is to allow no more than one train in a vent zone.
Confirmed 3-tracks it is BA-BY. PAR-TAY! J-O-B-S!!! Show me DA MA-NEY, BA-BY!Delete
Breaking News: The position of Northern California Regional Director is currently vacant. It would appear that Mr. Armistead's latest appointment may have been terminated shortly after its announcement by Mr. Tripousis.Delete
Confirmation that the position of Northern California Regional Director is currently vacant. Bruce Armistead is Ben Tripousis' replacement on the TJPA Board of Directors.Delete
Ben Tripousis is a senior project manager with HNTB.
What are we to make of this palace intrigue?Delete
Dan Richard was AWOL at the Assembly and Senate hearings.Delete
The derailhsr YouTube channel has posted some (or all?) this week's hearings reported on in yesterday's good Cal.Streetsblog summary article:Delete
CA Legislature Ponders the Future of High-Speed Rail Program
@Reality Check: It might be worthwhile to look at the (emergency) ventilation concepts of the Gotthard Base Tunnel. Based on that, there is no need at all for a third track.ReplyDelete
I doubt NFPA 130 Section 7.2.5 compliance was a requirement on the Gotthard Base Tunnel.Delete
Unlike the GBT, the TTT approach tunnel & 6-track underground terminal station approach throat will see only slow-moving trains.
Caltrain is preparing to make some modifications to its Central Equipment & Maintenance Facility (CEMOF) in order to accommodate new Electric Multiple Units (electric trains) that are being purchased as part of Caltrain Electrification. Modifications are currently at the 95% Design Level and the contract is expected to be issued in late spring 2018. Construction is expected to start in late summer 2018 and last for approximately nine months.ReplyDelete
Too bad CEMOF will be demolished as soon as we retire the last diesel...Delete
See https://www.transportstyrelsen.se/globalassets/global/jarnvag/tsd/english/tsi-srt-application-guide-ver-1.0-2014-05-28.pdf page 9ReplyDelete
Didn't immediately see NFPA 130 Section 7.2.5 or its equivalent there. Please quote the relevant excerpt if I missed it.Delete
A summary of CBOSS failure and more:ReplyDelete
@ morris. Shamefully promoting your writings one someone else's blog. PatheticDelete
Shamefully promoting your writings one someone else's blog. PatheticReplyDelete
Published March 13, 2018, by the Silicon Valley Business JournalReplyDelete
Tunnels are California high-speed rail's problem; public-private partnerships may be solution
By Jody Meacham
Reporter, Silicon Valley Business Journal
The biggest change affecting the Bay Area in the draft 2018 business plan announced last week for California high-speed rail was the result of the enormous cost of tunneling beneath Pacheco Pass, which delays the start of train service to the San Joaquin Valley.
But the Bay Area never would have become the early focus of the system if the previous business plan, published two years ago, hadn’t found the Los Angeles Basin too expensive for the railroad to reach from Bakersfield via tunnels through the Tehachapi and San Gabriel mountains.
Three mountain ranges needing three tunnels totaling nearly 45 miles of underground track to pierce have emerged as the single costliest infrastructure problem for the rail project to solve. The estimated cost of those tunnels accounts for most of a $5.7 billion increase over two years for track and track structures in the construction segments in which they’re located, the new business plan says.
If the California High-Speed Rail Authority can’t figure out how to finance the tunnels, the dream of tying the state’s two largest metropolitan regions and its agribusiness heartland together with fast trains is dead.
The authority’s chair, Dan Richard, said in an interview on Friday that he thinks the tunnels are an opportunity to engage private partners to “make this happen much more quickly and at a significantly reduced cost.”
Richard said he recently had dinner with the president of an international tunnel builder, which he wouldn’t name, who was interested in the idea.
In a follow-up interview on Monday, Richard spoke to the Silicon Valley Business Journal about how such a public-private partnership — sometimes called a P3 — might work.
P3s are sometimes pitched by cash-strapped government officials as a magic elixir to get infrastructure projects built quickly. The idea behind them is that private investors put up the money to build a government project from which they will recover their investment, plus a profit, over time from some sort of revenue stream that the project generates.
In 2017, the California High-Speed Rail Authority examined the rock beneath Pacheco Pass. Its mission: boring a pair of 28-foot diameter tunnels scheduled to carry 200 mph trains between San Jose and the San Joaquin Valley within eight years.
The high-speed rail systems of Spain and France were finally linked in 2013 by a P3-financed tunnel beneath the Pyrenees so that fast trains could run direct the full 650 miles between Barcelona and Paris.
Perhaps the most famous high-speed rail tunnel in the world, the Channel Tunnel beneath the English Channel linking London and Paris, was a P3 project.
(continued March 13, 2018 Silicon Valley Business Journal story)Delete
But P3s don’t always work the way the people who put together these complex deals hope they will.
North Carolina made a deal with a consortium called I-77 Mobility Partners to build 26 miles of toll lanes on traffic-clogged Interstate 77 north of Charlotte. The partnership would pay nearly 86 percent of the $650 million cost but get to keep the tolls for 50 years. However, to protect that revenue stream, the deal prohibited the addition of any free lanes to the road over that span and the public howled.
“The whole trick is to find right balance of who is taking on what risk,” said Richard, who is an expert in putting together energy sector P3 deals in his own business.
One example of the kind of P3 he’d like to investigate for the 13-mile Pacheco Pass tunnel is called “availability payments.” The private side would design and build the tunnel and would be paid by the authority based on the availability of the tunnel for use by California’s privately operated high-speed trains.
Each train that goes through the tunnel, or each day it’s available for use, would trigger an authority payment. Operation and maintenance costs could be part of such a deal.
The authority would need a revenue stream to support the payments and Richard said the most likely source would be from the authority’s cap-and-trade market receipts. That would likely require the legislature, which extended the market’s life last summer through 2030, to extend it again, probably through 2050.
“I want to think this through with our staff,” Richard said, “but it strikes me that we should have some type of symposium or something where we bring tunnel builders in and show them the work that we’ve done, ask them what additional work is needed — how should it be structured to find the right balance between risk and reward? That would give us something to talk to the legislature and congress about in terms of here’s how we could do this in a way that could bring the private sector in early.”
Tesla CEO Elon Musk said last week that his new tunneling company – The Boring Company – which has yet to build a tunnel, could build a second Bay crossing for BART in a fifth of the time and at a tenth of the cost of current estimates.
“We should be harnessing all the geniuses out there in the private sector to do this,” Richard said. “If Musk’s company is one of those, absolutely we’d talk to anybody.”
He said there had been no contact between the authority and Musk. The Boring Company did not respond to an email request for comment.
Jerry Brown gave a speech to labor leaders in Sacramento yesterday about HSR.Delete
Yes, he (a former Jesuit seminarian) cursed.
“This is bullshit … I’m so tired of all the nonsense that I read in the paper and you hear from other politicians.”.
“People say, ‘How are you going to fund the railroad? … I’ll tell you how we’re going to fund the railroad. We’re going to take back the Congress and then a Democratic Congress is going to put the high-speed rail in the infrastructure bill and then we’ll get that trillion dollars and we’ll put America back to work.”
"* Although Caltrain has installed all hardware required for the Communications Based Overlay Signal System, Caltrain has conveyed its decision to use a different PTC system, which will require significant onboard and back office hardware modifications from this point forward."ReplyDelete
HTML hyperlinks allowed. Visit the FRA PTC Implementation Status DashboardDelete
@Clem Any posts on the new Draft Business Plan? Blended to Gilroy?ReplyDelete
Blended to Bakersfield (err, sorry, Waco), baby!ReplyDelete
Q: What's worse than Amtrak to Bakersfield today?
A: Amtrak to Waco, via Gilroy and Los Banos, with high platforms, with MAGA "high speed" lemon trains, through sky's-the-limit quantities of tunnels and viaducts, with TSA airline "security", with dozens of grade crossings, under freight railroad regulations, costing $80 billion, in 2040.
This comment has been removed by the author.Delete
Wasco, CA (Waco is in TX)Delete
Breaking News: The rebar cages being assembled in Burlingame have shrunk from 20 feet down to 10 feet!!!ReplyDelete
And so what? Are these for the CIDH (cast in drilled hole) electrification mast foundations, or what?Delete
Yes. These are being installed between South SF and San Bruno and are actually in the ground.Delete
Yes, of course, I should hope they're in the ground ... I can't imagine where they'd be installed.Delete
I suppose foundation depth may vary depending on the ground composition and expected loads, but 20 feet sounds like overkill to me.
Could also be a difference in the foundation requirement if a pole is supporting a long cantilever to span both tracks from one side...?Delete
@Michael, yes, of course ... which falls under the "expected loads" part of my comment. Longer spans => bigger loads.Delete
"We are focused on delivering better trains and services to passengers more quickly, at better value for money for the taxpayer, without the significant disruption to services that electrification can cause."ReplyDelete
Caltrain CEMOF Committee Update 3/9/18: Caltrain CEMOF ModificationReplyDelete
"Caltrain is preparing to make some modifications to its Central Equipment & Maintenance Facility (CEMOF) in order to accommodate new Electric Multiple Units (electric trains) that are being purchased as part of Caltrain Electrification. Modifications are currently at the 95% Design Level and the contract is expected to be issued in late spring 2018. Construction is expected to start in late summer 2018 and last for approximately nine months."
The gift keeps on giving:ReplyDelete
"When the design-build contract was awarded in July 2016, it was a staff oversight that the requested Board Award amount did not include the incentives to be earned for safety, community relations, DBE achievement and quality. The funds to cover these incentives are budgeted in the overall program budget in the amount of $7,150,000."
http://www.caltrain.com/Assets/__Agendas+and+Minutes/JPB/2018/2018-04-05+JPB+Agenda+Final.pdf (click on #8).
Breaking News: http://www.sfcta.org/sites/default/files/content/Executive/Meetings/board/2018/04-Apr-10/ENC%20-%20Peer%20Review%20Final%20Report.pdfReplyDelete
The TJPA "revised" cost estimates (down from $4.7B to $1.5B) are beyond hilarious: as an example, the cost of the train box extension has shrunk from $400M to $58.5M but the cost of the BART connector stands at $110M (WTF?)Delete
TJPA conclusion: we clearly need to piss away at least another $1B on "engineering" to advance the "design" to 65% in order to "solidify" these estimates further.
The train box extension is a known thing, because they've dug a lot in the area now, but the BART connector is still unknown so the huge contingency cost stands. IMHO the connection to Embarcadero is wrong. They should aim to Montgomery. I doubt either will ever happen.Delete
The $3 toll increase for the Bay Area bridges (on the June ballot in nine counties) is allocating $325 million to extend Caltrain to Downtown SF.Delete
That $325 million is going to get flushed down a deep hole in San Jose.Delete
@Drunk: who told you that, and how did they say an RM-3 earmark for Caltrain SF DTX gets flushed into VTA's deep single-bore hole in SJ?Delete
Did anyone else notice that, in the graphic map on the cover of the report, the "North arrow" in the lower right isn't pointing north?Delete
Looks to be about 45-degrees off of true north. Maybe since it's perpendicular to Market St. it's meant to represent "logical north"? Either way, close enough for most people.Delete
It is not an "earmark" -- there is no requirement MTC follow the expenditure plan at all. And note that the toll increase is permanent, but contains no provisions for how to spend that money in the future beyond the proposed projects. Given past history, it will be just another MTC slush fund.Delete
@Drunk: I see. And "no requirement to follow the expenditure plan at all"? Wow.Delete
I believe the expenditure plan is legally required. RM3 (Regional Measure 3, the nine county ballot measure) was put forward via Senate Bill SB 595. Section 7 of the bill has the expenditure plan. After the plan is met, the spending of the new tolls, which are permanent, would be discretionary.Delete
The MTC is also permitted to change the expenditure anytime it wishes. It need only call a public haring and vote on it.Delete
MTC can and will and does and always has treated bridge tolls as the personal slush fund of executive director for life Steve "$5 billion Bay Bridge cost overrrun" Heminger?Delete
All those Dumbarton rail bait-and-switch funds? (From all the regional bridge tolls, from Santa Clara, from San Mateo.) Poof! Gone to Steve's Special Friends. BART contractors can't get enough of this guy!
That hundred million for the batshit overcost new MTC digs in San Francisco (because who'd want to meet in Oakland, really?) Sunk without trace into Steve's Special Cool Villain's Lair on Beale Street.
All those Caltrain modernization funds over the last couple decade? Ooops, reprogrammed, by a single vote at MTC, always approving the Staff (staff for life) Recommendation. Try again next time, suckers!
That downtown Caltrain extension? Sorry, but BART suddenly needed another half billion, billion, whatever, for whatever. And besides, there is CONGESTION TO BE RELIEVED through, uh, freeway widening and billion-dollar interchange "improvements".
All commissioners in favor of the staff recommendation? Approved. Next item. But maybe HSR will help you? Or RM-3. Or RM-4. Or RM-hahahahahahahah.
Got a huge scam that will degrade the planetary atmosphere, increase VMT, funnel obscene numbers of millions straight into the pockets of a small number of Very Special engineering and construction outfits, decrease transit ridership? Just call Steve! He'll fix you right up. Expenditure plans are for little people.
Cool fact: MUNI will be operating in the Central Subway at approximately twice of the speed of Caltrain and "High Speed" trains in the DTX...Delete
What could possibly go wrong???
I went pole hunting in San Bruno and counted 7 which is pretty good considering that we have blown only $300M so far on this Silicon Valley economy boosting project. Did I miss any?ReplyDelete
You missed a lot of poles ... or the new Caltrain CalMod boss John Funghi was lying when stated 35 poles had been erected in in San Bruno when he delivered the PCEP (Peninsula Corridor Electrification Project) status update to the board last Thursday (agenda item 7c @ 39:58 of the meeting video).Delete
I counted about 35 poles between SSF and Millbrae, 16-April-2018. May have missed a few, they blend in pretty well with the surrounding vegetation.Delete
John Funghi? LYING?ReplyDelete
Say it isn't so!
The Muni Central Subway is cost effective, under budget, ahead of schedule, will quadruple ridership, and will for certain no way nuh uh will be not slower than the bus. Just like thge Thiurd Street Light rail triumph upon which it builds!
CalMod -- much like the Peninsula Corridor JPB with its global executive search that started and ended with the Redwood City Council -- has always searched far and wide and very very deep for its World Class Thought Leadership. CBOSS is Just The Tip of the World Class modernization iceberg they're steering to Caltrain.
Certainly doesn't seem worth the extra cost when the only reason is to avoid having to put 16th street and Mission Bay Drive in trenches.Delete
Just trying to keep up with the southern hillbillies:Delete
I don't get the 6 billion price. It is shorter than the 4.7 San Jose BART extension, and only 1 new underground station. (Probably just inflation moving it forward in time?)Delete
The article mentions the report would be available Monday. Has anyone found it online?
They posted a clarification that the report is not availible yet: https://sf-planning.org/railyard-alternatives-and-i-280-boulevard-feasibility-study-rabDelete
http://www.caltrain.com/Assets/Caltrain+Modernization+Program/Meetings/LPMG/Caltrain+Positive+Train+Control+Project+4.26.18.pdf (slide 7)
Context? Relevance? What are you referring to?Delete
Don't miss reading the report given at the LPMG April 26th meeting.ReplyDelete
Starting on page 19 is the staff report on PTC, authored by Michelle Bouchard
Talk about a rewrite of events and the attempt to white wash Caltrain's incompetence, this should really be investigated.
Q: How does Caltrain propose to address the massive drop in capacity caused by the 4-door Stadler EMUs?ReplyDelete
A: "There is a requirement for a small diesel powered Coach Fleet post electrification of Caltrain. A number of Gallery Coaches have been identified to become part of the remaining fleet"
http://www.caltrain.com/Assets/__Agendas+and+Minutes/JPB/2018/2018-05-03+JPB+FINAL+MEETING+PACKET.pdf (page 278)
First off, what are the capacities (seated+standing) of gallery, Bombardier & Stadler EMU bike & non-bike cars? The EMU accessible bathrooms are said to be pretty big, but there's only one per 6-car trainset.Delete
Also, until a station actually converts to high platform, the high doors will not be in use, with seats in front of them.Delete
@Reality Check: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1LaV16zbJcm12cTZckMa9NIuEDohlQ-hZjgSn34xnULs/edit#gid=1931201763ReplyDelete
The bikes on board spreadsheet doesn't show standing room.Delete
Stadler EMUs are supposed to feature more standing room.
Capacity is determined by seating + standing.
Caltrains PCEP capacity calculations are here:Delete
EMU Capacity Details
Ok, so a substantial capacity increase of about 2,000 more riders per direction per hour.Delete
Make that 2,000 passengers/train and you may be getting close. Oh & BTW, what makes you think that anyone making over $200K/year would be remotely interested in standing when TNCs can get you where you need to be faster (and guarantee you a seat)?Delete
@JPK122s What makes you think that anyone would be interested in 7-car Gallery train sets and/or 6-car EMUs?Delete
@Reality Check This may come as a complete shock but civilized countries measure train capacities in number of seats per meter (yes, freaking metric meters) of platform. Idiots!!!
Freaking metric meters!? Kind'a like when people say "my own personal opinion"? Idiots indeed!Delete
"Oh & BTW, what makes you think that anyone making over $200K/year would be remotely interested in standing"Delete
(raises hand) Me?
Full expose: BART janitors get FREE Caltrain passes: https://www.sfchronicle.com/bayarea/article/BART-reining-in-janitor-overtime-after-public-12873558.phpDelete
I have been disappointed to discover how many contractor companies are interwoven throughout Tesla. Often, it is like a Russian nesting doll of contractor, subcontractor, sub-subcontractor, etc. before you finally find someone doing actual work. This means a lot of middle-managers adding cost but not doing anything obviously useful. Also, many contracts are essentially open time & materials, not fixed price and duration, which creates an incentive to turn molehills into mountains, as they never want to end the money train.ReplyDelete
There is a very wide range of contractor performance, from excellent to worse than a drunken sloth. All contracting companies should consider the coming week to be a final opportunity to demonstrate excellence. Any that fail to meet the Tesla standard of excellence will have their contracts ended on Monday.
Considering his comments and donation of his time at the HSR Board meeting today to improve Fresno's propaganda machine efforts to secure the HSR Heavy Maintenance facility for Fresno, I guess Roland LeBrun must have been hired by them to help them out. Amazing!ReplyDelete