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High Speed Rail promoters knocking on your door
Original post made
by Morris Brown, Menlo Park,
on Jul 27, 2008
High Speed Rail promoters knocking on your door
We have been asked by several locals " who are these young people coming around, knocking on our doors and promoting the High Speed Rail project?"
They are college students who have been recruited for paid summer jobs to promote this project. Their employer is the "California Public Interest Research Group" (CALPIRG).
CALPIRG claims to "take on powerful interests on behalf of Californians, working to win concrete results for our health and our well-being."
Well in this case CALPIRG has been paid to hire these students with a goal that 100,000 California voters will be personally contacted before the Nov. 2008 election. Who is funding this effort? Why the very same powerful interests CALPIRG claims to oppose. The funding is coming from a consortium of construction firms, venture capitalists, construction unions etc.
What does this project mean for Menlo Park, Atherton, Palo Alto and other cities along the peninsula?
It means four (4) tracks running through our cities, requiring a minimum of 100 feet of corridor on which CalTrain currently has only 60 -65 feet in many portions.
It means eminent domain proceedings to acquire additional space.
It means tracks raised on a 15 foot high berm and electrical catenaries another 20 feet above that.
It means cutting hundreds of trees along the tracks.
It means approval of a project that will cost by their own estimates $45 billion. With debt service costs and escalated construction costs sure to evolve, the final cost will be well above $100 billion.
So this is what these young faces are promoting.
For more information visit
Stone Pine Lane
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Posted by Alain Chiaroni
a resident of another community
on Aug 1, 2008 at 12:09 am
"Cal: Europe all HST trains share urban tracks into the center city..Only here do need be Baby tanks with there own tracks..GEE the dumb Euros?? NOT!!!"
You are quite right, it doesn't make any sense.
HSR is fine, only the adopted design sucks. Some comments of Michael Mahoney
Whole story Web Link
"In France, since the high-speed line was built, rail travel has taken 90 percent of the market share between Paris and Lyon, with air travel at 10 percent. The French high-speed train starts out from the station at normal speed. Once in the countryside, it switches onto the high-speed line and accelerates to 150, 175, or even 225 mph. It continues at high speed until it nears the destination city, then it slows back down, returns to the regular tracks, and continues to its destination.
That high-speed stretch in the middle of the trip gives the train a very favorable time start-to-stop. The high-speed train from Paris to Lyon averages 127 mph; the one from Paris to Strasbourg averages 135 mph.
The French built the high-speed line out in the countryside for three reasons. First, rural land is cheaper than urban land, so the right of way is cheaper. Second, there are fewer roads or other railroads to be bridged, and so fewer costly overpasses are needed. Third, in the countryside, there are fewer citizens to be bothered by the noise. High-speed trains make noise - lots of noise.
This reasoning is the bedrock of high-speed train construction in France, in Belgium, in Germany, in Italy, and in Spain - in short, in all the Napoleonic countries.
If we in California were to build our train the European way, it would start in San Francisco and travel at normal speed to San Jose, then over the mountains into the Central Valley, where the high-speed line would begin. The train would run on that line near Interstate 5, though not right next to it, down the west side of the valley to Los Angeles. Once near the Los Angeles area, it would slow down and return to the normal train tracks.
If that idea had been adopted, the rail system could have been built by now. Unfortunately, the Central Valley politicians asked that the system serve the communities of Merced, Fresno, and Bakersfield, so Merced residents would have a high- speed train as well. An airliner from San Francisco to Los Angeles does not stop in Merced.
However, the high-speed rail authority declined to pursue the first idea, and went forward with the second. Instead of going down the west side of the valley, the high-speed line runs down the Highway 99 corridor, next to the existing Union Pacific tracks, with stops in each city on the way. Stops, however, are death to a high-speed system. You can't get from San Francisco to Los Angeles in 2 1/2 hours if you stop on the way."
Michael Mahoney is here right. It should have been better to use French experience. It's maybe not too late to do it now and to reshape the route. There is no need for HSR track through urban areas. Just bypass Merced, Fresno and Bakersfield and build the line on rural land. Otherwise you simply kill the idea of HSR.
About the Japanese model I agree with what has been said in the following thread Web Link
"I think France is a much better model than Japan for California's HSR network, for a few reasons. The biggest one is that Japan has an HSR network that is entirely separate from the main railway network, because HSR uses standard gauge, whereas the main Japanese network uses narrow gauge. In France, on the other hand, the TGV system is tightly integrated with the mainline rail network, which makes for a more convenient and cheaper system. More convenient, because it can reach a huge number of destinations away from the HSR line, and cheaper, because in general, the TGVs use existing lines to get into urban centers, avoiding expensive and disruptive construction. Spain, incidentally, has the same problem as Japan, with a mainline network that is not standard gauge, and so they need a combination of more dedicated HSR lines and fancy gauge-changing equipment for their trains."