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Thoughts about the relationships between transport and the urban area it serves

Posts Tagged ‘high speed rail

The Case for Ultra-high-speed Rail Across Cascadia

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An article in the Georgia Strait summarizes a report to Washington State Department of Transportation which examines the case for a new very high speed rail link between Vancouver BC and Portland OR. The potential for hyperloop is also mentioned but quickly discarded as the technology is not yet ready for implementation.

Happily the Strait includes a link to the report itself – a 94 page pdf which includes some very general maps but no actual alignments. Instead it shows where the freeways are, and also suggests that a link between Seattle and Spokane needs to be assessed as well.

Screen Shot 2018-02-10 at 12.29.54 PM

This appears to be the favoured choice at present. Though I was struck by the apparently quite small advantage in terms of ridership between the MAGLEV and HSR model results

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Of course a lot more work needs to be done, and the report identifies these next steps. Not the least of these is the analysis of what needs to happen at the border. This is, of course, completely outside of the state jurisdiction and we can only hope that by the time any of this comes to pass, that a more sensible approach to border “security” between Canada and the US will have also come about. I won’t hold my breath on either account.

And here is a picture of a High Speed Train – which was not included in the original report

TGV 4409

My photo on Flickr

Technology Differentiation Results

7. In 2035, maglev seems to cover O&M costs in most alternatives; a small subsidy may be needed in the earlier period (2035) for HSR. By 2055, all corridor technological alternatives cover O&M and assist in capital carrying costs to various degrees.

8. While maglev and HSR have different capital and operating benefits over time, the CONNECT tool does not provide sufficient data to choose a specific technology at this time. More detailed technical analysis is required to select among the feasible technologies being examined.

Intercity Travel Mode Share Results

9. Both technologies have the potential to shift a significant share of the intercity travel market torail. For these technologies at 12 round trips, 12 to 17 percent of the travel market by 2035 could be diverted to UHSGT.

10. Conversely, the utilization of capacity is relatively low, indicating an immature market or a model input limitation. As noted in #1, a more detailed analysis of how the market economies are changing needs to be completed to adequately predict future ridership and revenue.

POSTSCRIPT

For context, the introduction of a direct high speed rail service between London and Amsterdam shows why trains can compete with air. In this case the flight time is around an hour and the new train will be closer to four. But add in the security line ups and this is actually competitive. Plus the train is actually comfortable, and the stations are usually much closer to where you are or want to be compared to the airport. But read through to the end to see how the British have managed to make getting in to Britain much harder – long before Brexit.

Written by Stephen Rees

February 10, 2018 at 1:20 pm

Friday round up

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Three tabs are open in my browser right now. All about transport and relevant to this region. But none actually qualifying for the full blog post treatment since I have nothing much to say about any of them, other than my readers ought to be aware of them.

The Auditor General has released a report about the Evergreen Line

Moody Central Station, Evergreen Extension

In his audit, Doyle said that the business cases developed by the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure, TransLink and Partnerships B.C. and reviewed by the Ministry of Finance omitted information needed to understand the costs, benefits and risks when comparing SkyTrain, light rail and bus rapid transit options; did not explain ridership forecasts were based on assumptions that placed them at the upper end of the estimated range; and did not describe the risks from changes in complementary and competing transit services.

Actually no-one is going to be very surprised by the report. The idea that Translink might actually consider different options for the technology based on actual data seems to be quite foreign to the way things are now done in BC. The line itself was part of the regional transportation plan for years, but the NDP decided to only build the Millennium – which served Burnaby – but not the long promised link to the TriCities. Of course, in places where they do these things rationally, the line would have been built before the area was opened up for massive population growth, so of course it has been, up to now, car oriented. And there have been significant expansions to the road system – including the expansion of Highway #1 and the replacement of the Pitt River bridge. The Evergreen Line was the highest priority for the region, but the province decided to build the Canada Line instead and tied that to the Olympics.

“Meaningful consultation with the private sector and significant due diligence is required and we are taking the time to get it right,” the province said.

Which seems to me to be an admission that it was not done right, and that consultation with anyone other than business is not important.

Crosscut takes a look at High Speed Trains between here and Seattle as result of Jay Inslee (the Washington state governor) announcing a budget request for a $1m study in response to pressure from the private sector.

Freccia Argento

This one happens to be Italian – they developed the Pendolino tilting trains after British Rail abandoned the Advanced Passenger Train after attacks by the press on the “vomit comet”. BR did build a very successful 125mph HST forty years ago which did not tilt and runs on conventional tracks unlike the French TGV or the Shinkansen which need purpose built rights of way – fewer curves but can cope with quite steep grades – to achieve higher speeds. Indeed the current Cascades Talgo sets could run faster, if they did not have to fit into slots between slow freight trains.

Unid GWR HST through Exeter St Thomas

And of course the cost of a new railway is going to be the biggest issue (“$20-$30 billion to build and equip the system”) but that does not mean that much better passenger train service is not entirely feasible at lower cost, and hopefully some kind of incremental strategy will be identified, rather than blowing the budget on the unachievable “best” when “good enough” is going to win plenty of people away from terrible traffic on I5 and appalling inconvenience and discomfort of short distance international air travel.

Needless to say, others think that self driving cars are going to be the answer, although realistically are probably further off into the future than self driving trucks  as this graphic piece makes clear.

As for the hyperloop, that seems like science fiction to me and even more claustrophobic than space travel. How do you get to your seat? Or use the bathroom?

HyperLoop 2

UPDATE Feb 21 The Seattle Transit blog has taken a long hard look at what a high speed rail line might look like – the link takes you to the first of four parts

Written by Stephen Rees

February 10, 2017 at 1:32 pm

“so it’s a third of the cost for two-thirds of the benefit,”

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The title is a direct quote from Yves Desjardins-Siciliano who is the CEO of VIA Rail. The story comes from the Huffington Post citing the Financial Post and the Windsor Star. It sets out the case for a separate passenger only railway between Toronto and Montreal, which would significantly increase the speed and reliability of rail service but would not be as expensive a full blown High Speed Rail (HSR). Given the financial position of VIA, and the nature of the demand in the corridor, this proposal would be Good Enough. HSR is a good example of the best being the enemy of the good.  It has been studied extensively – I worked on one such study as a consultant back in the 1990’s – and so far nothing has been done in terms of improving VIA rail’s current service or winning people back to rail from short distance air or driving. It did surprise me, when I first came to Canada, that intercity buses were often faster than passenger trains.

It pains me a little that electrification is still seen as a dispensable option but actually I have to admit that a modern diesel electric locomotive  can be very energy efficient. I just happen to think that since Ontario has done such a good job of getting rid of its coal fired power stations, the greenhouse gas reduction argument should be given much more weight. There are also a couple of considerable advantages of an electric train. First, electric trains can climb much better than diesels: they don’t weigh nearly as much, as they don’t have to carry the generator or the fuel. So lines purpose built for modern electric trains can have steeper grades, and often that means they can be straighter, which also helps increase speeds. Secondly, the energy used in braking can be captured and returned to the power supply line for the the use of other trains. Regenerative braking captures a lot of the energy that is otherwise lost as heat. Electric trains can also decelerate and accelerate much better than diesels, so dealing with intermediate stops is not such an issue in overall travel time. I would hope that the design of intermediate stations would permit fast trains to pass stationary ones, so that even if it is not actual HSR, there could still be some non-stop service between the two major centres, to improve  competitiveness with air. However, given the way that the population is distributed across sprawling suburbs, centre to centre may not be the most important tool to attract traffic. Large Park and Ride lots, on the other hand, will be essential.

I have not seen any of the analysis that VIA has used to come up with the costs of its proposed separate line compared to a HSR, but there has to be a lot in common between the two. Land costs will be very similar, I think. It also seems sensible to eliminate level crossings – and to fence the entire line – just to increase safety.  You have to do that for HSR, but if those components were omitted for a conventional speed line that might explain some of the price difference.  While I am in favour of getting the costs down, this would seem to me to be very hard to defend when it comes to public consultation.

 

 

Written by Stephen Rees

November 5, 2015 at 8:20 am

California’s Bullet Train Hobbled by Fresh Legal, Fiscal and Political Uncertainties

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This post is taken from an email newsletter I subscribe to. In very small, pale grey italic print at the bottom of each issue appears the following statement “Please feel free to forward or reprint this item with appropriate citation” So that is what I am doing.

Much of the rest of the “first world” enjoys High Speed Rail. Japan lead the way – still does – China is building lots of it. France has been very successful – and has pretty much eliminated internal passenger air traffic. Electric trains produce a lot less ghg than jet aircraft – and they are competitive both on time and price. Only North America seems immune. About the closest we can get is the Acela service Amtrak provides in the North East Corridor – though nowhere else would regard that as “high speed”. Ken Orski provides insight into why changing this situation looks very much like Mission Impossible. California HSR is not dead yet. But it sure looks like it faces some formidable obstacles.

Amtrak Cascades, being operated by Spanish Talgo trains could be a lot faster than they are – but they are on freight railways. Given their own right of way they could be very competitive with I5. There are good cases for high speed trains between several city pairs in Canada including Calgary – Edmonton, Toronto – Ottawa – Montreal. Possibly even Toronto – Chicago or Toronto – New York. But given this analysis, I am not going to expect to ride one of these on my lifetime. Pity.

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Barely recovered from the damaging effects of the Sacramento Court ruling denying the California High Speed Rail Authority access to Prop 1A bond funding, the bullet train project has had to face fresh challenges.

First came the news that Congress has zeroed out any funds for high speed rail in the FY 2014 omnibus appropriation bill, the fourth straight year no new monies have been provided. This put to rest any lingering hopes of a future resumption of congressional funding for the California bullet train. But it has not deterred the California High Speed Rail Authority from officially still expressing a hope for federal subsidies. “We believe that it is reasonable for the federal government to continue investing in intercity and high speed passenger rail systems, like California,” Authority Chairman Dan Richard stated in his recent congressional testimony.

Next came a House Subcommittee on Railroads hearing on “The Challenges Facing California High Speed Rail.” Committee chairman Rep. Jeff Denham (R-CA) wanted some “straightforward answers to straightforward questions” as he put it in his opening statement. Specifically, how was the Authority going to match the $2.25 billion the Federal Government has provided to the project, now that the court has foreclosed the possibility of using Proposition 1A bond funds? And where would the remaining funds to complete the entire 300-mile Initial Operating Segment (IOS) come from?

Cap-and-Trade Funds as State Matching Contribution

Authority Chairman Dan Richard had some straightforward though not necessarily satisfying (to Rep. Denham) answers. Governor Brown, Richard said, has sent a letter to FRA reaffirming the State’s commitment to honor California’s obligation to match the federal spending. The matching money would come from the cap-and-trade pollution trading funds.

Richard confessed he could not predict whether the state legislature would approve the use of cap-and-trade funds for the project. Even if those funds were to be approved, they would not become available by the April 1 deadline when the state must start matching the federal grant. The Chairman did not elaborate how the Authority would handle its obligation, come April 1.(However, in the Governor’s proposed new budget there is a provision to advance $29 million to keep the project moving. The loan, which would come from the state transportation account, could presumably be used as a first down payment in the required matching funds).

Nor did Chairman Richard mention the strong opposition by environmental groups, notably the Sierra Club. “The problem with taking that money and applying it to high-speed rail,” said Kathryn Phillips, head of California’s Sierra Club, “is that we don’t anticipate that we’re going to get the benefits of reductions in greenhouse gas emissions in the short term. … It is irresponsible to not apply that money to those programs that will get you greenhouse gas emission reductions now.” Other critics alleged that the HSR project does not meet the legal test that it would result in reductions of greenhouse gas emission that are “real, quantifiable, verifiable and enforceable” as the law requires. Editorial opinion of some California newspapers (San Jose Mercury News, U-T San Diego) echoed these criticisms.Even the LA Times, a steadfast supporter of the project, expressed some doubts (“Yet the delays, the rising cost, the judge’s ruling and the waning public support should give pause to even the strongest advocates. Can the rail authority line up a financing plan? Is the project still viable? We hope the answer is yes. But the state shouldn’t spend a dime of cap-and-trade money on it until we know for sure.”)

A Re-defined “Usable Segment”

Chairman Richard did not address the court ruling requiring the Authority to identify sources of funds and show completed environmental clearances for the entire 300-mile Initial Operating Segment extending from Merced to San Fernando Valley. Instead, Richard testified that the Authority’s revised funding plan will consider the 130-mile construction section from Merced to north of Bakersfield to be the new “usable segment.” By connecting to existing Amtrak service at Bakersfield, the Chairman said, this stretch will have operational utility, hence it will qualify as a “usable segment” within the meaning of Proposition 1A. The judicial rulings pertaining to the longer 300-mile stretch from Merced to San Fernando Valley are thus no longer relevant in his opinion.

But longtime critic, attorney Michael Brady does not see this as a meaningful solution. The re-defined Merced-to-Bakersfield usable segment will be conventional rail only, he told us, whereas Proposition 1A requires that a “usable segment” be electrified, with all the attributes of a genuine high speed rail system. Moreover, Proposition 1A says a usable segment must operate without an operating subsidy and must have adequate ridership. The Authority’s redefined usable segment will flunk both tests, Brady said. “Hooking it up to an existing Amtrak line will not get them out of these requirements.”

Long-Term Funding

As for long-term funding, a precise funding plan for the entire system is not possible, Richard testified. However, the Governor’s budget proposal “establishes an ongoing state commitment of cap-and-trade proceeds to the project.” The measure includes an initial $58 million for planning and $191 million for construction and right-of-way acquisition in the first phase of the project. Once the line to San Fernando Valley (Palmdale) has been completed and operational, the opportunity for private investment will be ” greatly increased” according to Richard.

“This is an internationally proven investment model and is common to almost all recent high speed rail projects in the world, where capital investment begins with the public sector and then becomes shared with the private sector” to pay for further expansion, Richard testified. As an example, he cited high speed rail systems in France, Spain and The Netherlands which, he said, attracted private investment once ridership was established. However, the parallel is not quite correct. True, European high speed rail systems were able to attract private sector interest after EU opened up cross-border rail passenger services to competition in 2009 . But the public-private partnerships took the form of running private high speed rail services (such as Thello, Westbahn and NTV) on publicly-owned rail infrastructure—they did not involve private capital contributions to expand the physical facilities of the high speed rail networks.

Despite Chairman Richard’s reassuring statements, the prospect for future private investment in the California HSR project still remains very much an open question.

Federal Railroad Administration Position

At the hearing, the Federal Railroad Administration and its Deputy Administrator, Karen Hedlund also came in for some sharp questioning. Why has the agency not suspended reimbursements until the High Speed Rail Authority presents a viable plan to identify a new source of the required state match, Chairman Denham wanted to know. Given so much uncertainty around the project, why wouldn’t FRA take the prudent step to hold off spending more taxpayer dollars until they are satisfied that California has remedied these legal setbacks?

Hedlund chose not to respond directly to the Chairman’s questions. Instead, she stated that “at this time,” the Authority was not in violation of the grant agreement. However, she conceded that should California fail to match the federal grants as required by the funding agreement (i.e. beginning April 1), the government could collect the owed matching funds by withholding other federal grants. Rep. Denham followed this up by introducing a bill, with the support of every member of the state’s Republican delegation, to suspend federal spending on high speed rail “until sufficient non-federal funds are available.”

The Governor’s Surprising and “Desperate” Move

On January 24, in an unusual move, Gov. Jerry Brown’s administration petitioned the California Supreme Court directly to overturn the Superior Court ruling that barred the State from selling the Proposition 1A approved bonds The state’s request to skip the appellate court review is considered as unprecedented. “In my 47 years of appellate practice, I have never seen something like this,” said Michael Brady, one of the attorneys for the Central Valley landowners who sued the Rail Authority.The Governor’s move is “an act of desperation,” observed the respected California columnist Dan Walters. The State in its brief argued that the normal appeal process could take years to resolve and the delay would cause “irreparable injury absent immediate intervention by this Court.” The brief is asking the High Court for an answer by March 1.

As reported above, the Authority is facing an April 1 deadline to begin matching the federal grant with state funds. There are speculations that, threatened with a cut-off of federal funds in the event of non-compliance with the deadline and having concluded that using cap-and-trade funds might be politically risky given the strong environmentalist opposition, the Brown administration concluded that it had no alternative but to take this drastic step in an effort to gain access to the bond funds.

The Authority’s move has caught observers by surprise. Just ten days earlier Chairman Richard gave the impression that the Authority would comply with the judge’s ruling and re-do the funding plan. “My view is that we go back and do exactly what the Judge has said,” Richard testified before the House Railroads Subcommittee. .

Back in December, we wrote that further delays in the project’s groundbreaking (already more than a year behind schedule), the prospect of multiple challenges over bond validation, a likelihood of drawn out negotiations over right-of-way acquisition and expropriation and, most importantly, the Authority’s inability to identify credible sources of non-federal money to complete the entire 300-mile line to the San Fernando Valley, “all add up to a very problematic future for this transformative project.” The events and disclosures over the past month have done nothing to lessen this impression.

Kenneth Orski
Editor/Publisher
Innovation NewsBriefs (celebrating our 25th year of publication)

Written by Stephen Rees

January 29, 2014 at 11:41 am

Speed matters for Edmonton-Calgary train: report

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On the Vancouver Sun website there is a report from the Edmonton Journal.

A 500-km/h high speed train that could travel between Calgary and Edmonton in an hour would attract nearly six million riders by 2021, says a report commissioned by the Alberta government and released Monday.

The report makes no recommendations on the feasibility of the project or whether government money should go into it, but suggests the possibility of a private-public partnership, also known as a P3.

Alberta Transportation Minister Luke Ouellette released the February 2008 report in advance of Monday’s federal-provincial Conservative caucus meeting in Calgary.

Well actually the report says a great deal more than that – and it looks at a variety of possible speeds from the UK style 125mph High Speed Train, US style Acela,  French TGV and the German MAGLEV. The good thing is that the full report is available at www.transportation.alberta.ca/3940.htm – from where you can download the hefty pdf files. They make interesting reading.

A disclaimer of my own – I was recruited by Dr Alex Metcalf in 1988 from the UK to come to Canada. So we have some history – and I want to be very careful to be objective in my comments. He is one of the lead authors of the report: one his earlier projects was the demand forecast which supported the construction of the bridge to Prince Edward Island.

Secondly, I wonder why this report has taken so long to emerge: February 2008 to July 2009 is a very long time indeed to consider a consultant’s report.

The study is refers to itself as “Investment Grade”  (“meets the requirement of Investment Grade Analysis as proposed by the High-Speed Rail Association”) – in other words it was intended to examine whether or not a private sector investor would put money into the project. What this means is that it is concerned with familiar issues of mode choice – and would enough people be willing to pay enough for a faster trip between the two cities. The answer is yes, and the faster the train runs the more would be willing to use it.

There is a lot in the language of the report which contrasts quite strongly with all the other things I am reading at the moment. The report is very optimistic about the economy of Alberta – after all that province has lots of oil and the rest of world is going to be increasingly short of it so there will continue to be economic growth for the foreseeable future – subject to the cyclical nature of a resource based economy. The words “peak oil” or “climate change” do not appear in it – so far as I can determine. Nor is there any sense that our perception of the world changed dramatically between then and now. So it is bit like reading BC government studies of the need for new highway and port expansion. Much of the stuff I read these days talks about the end of “business as usual” and the need for a steady state, no growth economy – or even the inevitability of dealing with the need to reduce our per capita energy consumption. Quite a lot of macro-economics seems to be turning away from GDP as a way of measuring how we are doing,and recognising that exponential growth is unsustainable.

I am not going to challenge the demand forecast – I am just going to suggest that there are other reasons why the Governments of Alberta and Canada should consider the case for building a new electric high speed rail line between Edmonton and Calgary. The idea of utilising the existing tracks or just upgrading them is not a good long term proposition. The private sector railway companies in Canada have little or no interest in running passenger trains and do not normally afford them priority. Freight railways have a rather different configuration to high speed lines – and the best separate them out. Since that means a new right of way, an electric railway is not that much more expensive, but gives a great deal of flexibility for the future as well as significant operational and environmental advantages for the present. Electricity can be made from a variety of sources: Calgary’s LRT runs on wind power.  Both France and Japan determined early on that a dedicated track was a prerequisite for high speed rail and both countries  now lead the world in the field.

One thing the current report seems to accept is that the line would not be integrated into the airports. This is a profound mistake. While a lot of business travel is city centre to city centre, the report recognises the need for suburban stations: that is, after all where most people live. But there is also a significant synergy to be had from integration with national and international travel which at present is by air. Of course air travel has seen significant declines – for economic reasons – and it long term future is highly uncertain, since it is currently completely dependent on oil as its energy source.

It is a bit depressing that the only way we seem to be allowed to think about these projects is if they are commercially feasible – not desirable from an environmental or quality of life perspective. One argument that Alberta should consider is the extent to which a new service would reduce the need of highway expansion in the future – and also the much better safety record per passenger kilometre of rail over road. The reduction in the demand for health services alone – even if the lower death toll is not thought good enough reason of itself – should appeal even to conservatives.

On the whole I am not persuaded that there is a good case for MAGLEV. It seems to me to be one of those “best is the enemy of the good” cases. I would be reluctant to recommend a technology that is not widely in use. French style TGV, on the other hand, has shown itself to be very successful and is being steadily expanded in the countries where it has been adopted. The British have tried Italian tilting trains on existing sinuous track (Pendolinos on the West Coast Mainline) but the success of the first French style TGV line from St Pancras to the Channel Tunnel has now got them thinking of new dedicated french style high speed lines.

I think railways should be a priority for our governments – if only because we know that relying on air and highways has brought us a whole lot of unintended consequences. Hopefully, now that this report has finally seen the light of day, the discussion can start in earnest.

Oh, as an afterthought, perhaps check out the newest Japanese shinkansen too.

Shinkansen

Shinkansen

Written by Stephen Rees

July 6, 2009 at 1:02 pm

Posted in Railway

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Tories plan £20bn 180mph rail link instead of Heathrow third runway

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Guardian

This is really a stunning turn of events. They are, of course, talking about the British Tories. And that party was almost completely wiped out by Tony Blair. Britain has had a Labour Government since 1997 – and now it looks increasingly likely that they will not survive the next election. Something unimaginable only a few years ago.

Mrs Thatcher never once travelled on a train while she was Prime Minister. She regarded the then nationalised British Rail as an anathema, but she could also read a balance sheet. BR was actually doing quite well, and the civil servants at the Department of Transport convinced her that there was nothing to be gained by privatisation but a lot to lose. Mainly lives. So it fell to John Major, her successor, to press ahead with what was probably one of the worst transport policy decisions in Britain in my lifetime.

I have never managed to persuade any of my conservative acquaintances that there is a direct relationship between conservatism and conservation. That protecting the environment has a very close affinity with a lot of Tory values. Sadly the influence of the right wing “neoconservatives” overwhelmed the old decent instincts of the party of Disraeli. At one time it was so hard to tell the difference between mainstream Conservatism and Labour voters – and party policies designed to take over the centre of the political spectrum that term “Butskellism” was coined – and combination of the names of two leaders of political thought on either side of the house – Hugh Gaitskell and R A Butler (always known as “Rab” from his initials). Both moderates to a fault.

It is inconceivable that Stephen Harper could propose an investment in high speed rail between Toronto Ottawa and Montreal as a way of reducing greenhouse gas emissions – even though that is what it would achieve. For one thing, Canada has been busy blocking even the most moderate international proposals to agree on new limits. We are nowhere near our, very modest and inadequate, Kyoto goals.

I cannot say I like David Cameron, but he has certainly shown himself to be a smooth operator. And Gordon Brown must have really been caught off guard. The UK government has simply waffled about important railway questions, including the need to electrify the rest of the system and to build new high speed lines. And the Heathrow fracas has been as embarrassing as the Kingsnorth coal fired power station. Labour now has a very hard time looking progressive let alone green.

It would be nice if VIA Rail was even on the radar in our federal election.

Written by Stephen Rees

September 28, 2008 at 7:19 pm

Posted in Railway

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California High Speed Rail

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gas 2.0 is reporting

the California High-Speed Rail Authority. After getting a green light by State environmental impact assessors, they’ve begun implementation of an 800-mile bullet-train system that will connect Sacramento, the San Francisco Bay Area, the Central Valley, Los Angeles, the Inland Empire, Orange County and San Diego. Trains traveling at 220 mph on the systems are forecast to carry up to 100 million passengers per year by 2030.

And that is where I got this image from. The site is worth visiting for the huge number of images and videos available for download alone.

Of course, California does take EAs seriously – unlike BC which has reduced the process to a sick joke. And the funding still has to get through a bond measure on the November ballot. But that is also a process I approve of. Actual democracy at work: trusting the people, and allowing them a say in how their tax dollars are spent. Again in very sharp contrast to the way we get told what we are going to be taxed for, whether we approve of it or not.

And I also like the fact that it is an electric train with a very clear association with wind power. BC of course has recently ripped up its only main line electrification and had the locomotives scrapped.

Given where we are now and where the future will be, California’s investment in this mode looks a lot more sensible than its hydrogen highway (which, I suspect, will be left to just wither on the vine) – or BC’s obsession with widening freeways.

Written by Stephen Rees

May 17, 2008 at 7:13 pm

Posted in Railway

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