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Author Topic: Coast Daylight update
Mr. Toy
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Here is a Coast Daylight progress report from a recent TAMC (Transportation Agency for Monterey County) meeting. See it here in PDF format.
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Gilbert B Norman
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Interesting, so apparently the Daylight and Starlight will be chasing one another's markers?

Directly serving San Francisco and Silicon Valley (access over a publicly owned ROW nowadays; presume a stop, say, Palo Alto) can only be viewed as a plus, but an 'efficiency expert" (guess it can be surmised I am of that ilk) would have to wonder the propriety of 'two a day on headway'.

I would have thought this plan was being sold with the intent of killing the Starlight Oakland-LA and establishing an Oakland-Seattle "Cascade" (new name needed of course). Same day connections would be made at Martinez with San Joaquins. Salinas would be served with an AmBus either to San Jose or Oaklnad as need be.

Such a change would fall in line with the Bush administration's intent to have services funded and controlled at Local level, but then for those folk, it's now "131 and a wake up'.

Someone is going to take a second look at this proposal; so far as I'm concerned if the people of California are willing to fund an additional 800 or so train miles a day, far greater benefit can be obtained elsewhere (additional San Joaquin or Capitol frequencies - service over the Sierras to Truckee).

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RR4me
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I would love to see a daylight come to pass, but if the high speed rail is ever going to get built, wouldn't this money be better spent on that?
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Gilbert B Norman
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Mr. Railroad for Me, we are addressing a comparative "drop in the pail".
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George Harris
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The points promoting this service will not be on the alignment of the High Speed Rail. As currently planned, the HSR will go as far south as Gilroy and then turn west to run down the valley. This is where the people are. Therefore, this train and the HSR are not serving the same markets, except for end points. Even now, the train/bus connection down the valley between San Francisco and Los Angeles is faster, more frequent, and more reliable than the service on the Coast Line.

San Luis Obispo politicians have threated to or are already opposing the high speed line because it does not serve them. In part this may be a bone thrown to those attack dogs.

Notice in the letter they are talking about six cars for this serivce. Since it will take two trainsets, that means they are planning on a train of only three cars. Also, note the date of the Implementation Plan, June 30, 2000. Eight years. At the rate this plan is moving forward, it is moving so slowly it is in danger of being overrun by a raging glacier.

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RR4me
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Points taken.
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Southwest Chief
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I think any more train service they can get up there is great.

Just saw a report last night on 2 major airlines leaving San Luis Obispo airport. This means more people will look to other ways to get up there. At this time the Coast Daylight makes perfect sense.

High speed, I just don't see it in the next 5-10 years. After that maybe, but in the short run we need the Daylight, Starlight, and Surfliners.

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PullmanCo
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1-11 and 2-11? 1-14 and 2-14?

If I were Amtrak, I'd be delighted to operate a turn-key train called the Daylight from LA to 3d and Townsend, daily.

I'd bet a dinner at the Golden Ox that Amtrak would promptly shift the origin for the Starlight to San Jose. Coaches would either be switched, or a cross-platform transfer would happen, and the Cascade.... errr, Starlight, would run to Seattle.

Something tells me Amtrak could release sleepers and non-revenue units to other service by letting California pick up the LA-SF run.

Now, if the service is offset by several hours, that's another story.

Be careful of what you ask for, the old adage goes. You just may get it.

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Greg
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The Daylight and Starlight can and should be complementary. There's already near duplication of service over portions of the route with a Surfliner preceding the Starlight northbound as far as Santa Barbara handling additional local stops and one ahead of the Starlight southbound from San Luis Obispo also handling additional local stops.

Ideally, the Daylight would operate ahead of the Starlight northbound and behind southbound making additional stops and handling "shorts". There should be plenty of daytime traffic to keep both trains full.

Is there any reason San Diego couldn't or shouldn't be the southern terminus for the Daylight instead of Los Angeles?

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delvyrails
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Greg,

There is the 5/1/71 precedent for through-LAUS service in the then-unnamed, tri-weekly San Diego-Seattle operation of #11 and #12, including sleepers. (The quad-weekly counterpart, #98 and #99, operated only LAUS-Oakland.)

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royaltrain
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The Daylight's proposed timetable makes it look like a milk train. I can't believe it would attract many Los Angeles to San Francisco passengers if it takes 11 hours. The old steam-hauled Daylight probably made it in less time. This should be a "Limited" and only stop at a few major destinations, and it should have first-class facilites such as currently offered on Acela. Travelling 11 hours in a coach is going to turn off a lot of potential business.
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Gilbert B Norman
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Mr. Pawson, regarding the Seattle-San Diego service, such was designated by the Incorporators or their consultants, as the "Basic System'. They likely held to a "connect the dots" mentality - and San Diego was a population center. They likely had little concern that a train continuing to San Diego would have to be backed into LAUPT and the resulting interference such a move causes.

But reason prevailed, and that was a short lived 'feature'. Otherwise LA-SD was "two a day' on A-Day.

Otherwise, I continue to hold that no cogent reason has been set forth why there should be two trains on the Coast Route, which has far fewer population centers to serve than the San Joaquin Route, scheduled essentially as 2-11 and 2-14. Absent a proposal to kill the Starlight South of Oakland along with the inherent extra costs of operating Sleeping, Dining, and the Parlour as well as afford an opportunity to serve San Francisco and Silicon Valley, I think 'we the people of California" would be better served with an additional Capitol and San Joaquin frequency.

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George Harris
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It is a political train.

The Daylight made the trip in 9h45m in 1945, with only 4 intermediate stops, San jose, Salinas, San Luis Obispo, and Santa Barbara. At the time, that was significantly less than driving time. No longer is this true. That was an average speed of 48.2 mph, and only possible because at that time the Daylight owned the road.

Eleven hours is probably somewhat optomistic in 2008. In the year 2000 report, there was quite a bit of work in the way of signal and track improvements to make 11 hours possible. So far as I know, other than some things south of Santa Barbara, none of that has been done.

Mr. Norman, in the plan, or maybe hallucinations. for Los Angeles station is the "Run Through Tracks" which will make a south end connection for four tracks to eliminate the 180 degree turn currently made by the San Diego trains. If and when that is ever built, run throughs Between San Diego and points north of LA become more reasonable, as the run-through tracks will eliminate the need for the reversal. Having seen the plan on their web site, these will be slow speed tracks having two small radius 90 degree turns, unfortunately.

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Gilbert B Norman
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I'm sorry to learn of the political motives, Mr. Harris.

To date, I have given the California initiative high marks for having service where it is needed, and holding the "we want our trains too" interests in check.

By holding 'the "we want our trains' interests in check, I note trains are all in the Southern half of the State "where the bodies are"; if there have been proposals such as Oakland-Chico, Oakland-Willits, Oakland-Portola, those interests have been told there is simply not volume to support such a proposal. But unfortunately, it would appear to operate a Locally funded train on the markers of a Federally funded train would mean that the California rail initiative is simply bending to the political breezes.

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Mr. Toy
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Where do you guys come up with this stuff?

The Daylight has been in the California State Rail Plan for at least a decade and is intended to connect the successful corridors in the north and south. Officially it is considered an extension of the Surfliner corridor, and will take time slots used by existing LA-SLO runs.

It was never intended as a replacement for that segment of the Starlight. Ridership projections indicate the capacity of an additional train each day is needed for future growth.

Planning for the Daylight as a supplement to the Starlight began well before the Bush/Mineta flimflam show talked about replacing long distance trains with corridor trains.

The Daylight is not a "bone" thrown by the state to placate politicians in coastal counties that won't be served by high speed rail. It is actually the coastal counties that are promoting and planning it, and they were involved in this project well before the state was getting serious about a high speed train. Nor is the Daylight in competition with the high speed rail program. The Daylight will serve different markets than the high speed service, and also some cities not served by the Starlight.

The Daylight will likely be in place a good ten years before any high speed trains begin service in California.

The initial run time of 11 hours is intended to be reduced to 8 hours after several years of incremental, state funded improvements. Initial startup of the Daylight is contingent on state funded capacity improvements so as not to impede UP freight traffic.

Startup of the Daylight has been delayed several times by multiple state budget crises. However, voters recently approved bonds for additional rolling stock acquisition, which will be available for Daylight service.

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PullmanCo
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I rememember another time California bought rolling stock. It sat on the same spur with the Pacific Railroad Society's stuff... then it got sold, because the other moving parts had not come together.

11 hours. That's not even worth doing LA-SF. I CAN RIDE THE DOG FASTER THAN THAT.

How far behind is UP ex SP on Coast Line trackwork maintenance?

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George Harris
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Mr. Toy, I did not invent the statement that the Coast Daylight is a political train. It is something I have heard several times. The thought being that, forgetting the high speed train, the state support of the San Joquin service was not doing anything for the coastal areas, so something should be done for them, also.

As to the passenger loading: It is not necessarily downtown SF to downtown LA that is the market, but SF to Gilroy, SLO, Santa Barbara, etc. and LA to SLO, Gilroy, San Jose, etc. plus service between these named intermediate point that are not served by the valley trains.

When the planning for this train started, freight traffic on the coast line was minimal and declining, as through freights were being put on the more favorable alignment of the valley route. However, the traffic bulge of the last few years has made the western RR companies disinclined to give up anything that could at some time in the future be used to increase capacitiy. What that has doen to the state plans, I do not know.

Yes, the work needed to make the 11 hour schedule reliable could be done in a few months, and that to make 8 hours possible in a couple years, so, assuming funding is made available, the Coast Daylight could be placed in service long before the HSR. I still don't understand the pessimism that assumes a 3 car train. Maybe that was valid in 2000, but hardly now.

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Greg
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"I still don't understand the pessimism that assumes a 3 car train. Maybe that was valid in 2000, but hardly now."

I don't think the intent is to run a three car train each way. Since the Daylight would essentially be the extension of one of the Central Coast Surfliners to San Francisco each way, I think the 6 car order is the incremental equipment increase needed to extend an existing 5 or 6 car Surfliner each way. Effectively, what is being added in terms of coverage is a daily round trip between San Luis Obispo and San Francisco. This could be covered by one 6 car trainset.

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George Harris
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OK.
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Gilbert B Norman
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quote:
Originally posted by RR4me:
I would love to see a daylight come to pass, but if the high speed rail is ever going to get built, wouldn't this money be better spent on that?

Today the Wall Street Journal has a column with one of their columnist's predictable position regarding a California HSR initiative:

Brief passage:

With credit markets in New York in crisis last week, California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger sent an extraordinary letter to Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson asking for $7 billion. Although the governor has since withdrawn that request, it testifies to the dire state of his budget.

Yet days before penning his note, the governor told an audience at the Commonwealth Club of California not to worry about the state's budget crunch and to approve $9.95 billion in new debt on the November ballot to build a bullet train to connect Los Angeles to San Francisco: "Just because we have a problem with the budget does not mean people should vote 'no' on high-speed rail." (A spokeswoman confirmed Monday that, despite the request for federal money, the governor still supports the initiative.)

Actually, the state's budget woes should give votes pause -- especially since high-speed rail is a fantasy that has as much chance of delivering on its promises of creating 450,000 jobs, vanquishing road congestion and lowering greenhouse gases as "Conan the Barbarian" had of winning the Oscar.........Regardless of whether California voters green light this project, Uncle Sam should have no part of it -- either directly by offering California matching rail grants as it is hoping or indirectly by approving any future requests for emergency cash. American taxpayers should not subsidize California's fiscal train wreck


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George Harris
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quote:
Originally posted by Gilbert B Norman:
Today the Wall Street Journal has a column with one of their columnist's predicsatble position regarding a California HSR initiative:

Brief passage:

high-speed rail is a fantasy that has as much chance of delivering on its promises of creating 450,000 jobs, vanquishing road congestion and lowering greenhouse gases as "Conan the Barbarian" had of winning the Oscar.........Regardless of whether California voters green light this project, Uncle Sam should have no part of it -- either directly by offering California matching rail grants as it is hoping or indirectly by approving any future requests for emergency cash. American taxpayers should not subsidize California's fiscal train wreck

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And this from clowns sitting in the middle of the biggest sinkhole for federal money for rail in the country, the northeast corridor. Can anyone understand why I have little to no use for the northeast-centric media?
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RR4me
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My bet at this time is that the HSR bond proposition will fail badly. Pasture pastries happens.
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amtraxmaniac
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I concur Mr Harris. Hypocrisy on all counts. My rebuttal is with California's infrustructure (along with the rest of the nation) crumbling, we either pay now for a remedy or pay A LOT MORE later.

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PullmanCo
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Anyone seen the oddsmakers book on this?

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amtraxmaniac
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RR$me-it will fail because voters are ignorant and short sided. They'd rather continue paying out the yazoo to tar up crumbling roads, drive their smoggy vehicles, and continue to keep themselves a hostage to big oil. Voters in the CONSERVATIVE San Joaquin Valley won't vote for it, even though it will be VALLEY communities that would most benefit from it (jobs and air quality). And as we can see, the coastal communities won't vote for it because it doesn't benefit them. FOR SHAME FOR SHAME FOR SHAME! I guess Californians will continue to pump $ into a crumbling road system as they pay outrageous gas prices and choke because the air's unbreathable.

But back on topic. I agree that the Central Coast Communities should not feel at all intimidated by HSR, because it serves a completely different market and would, I assume come from completely different funding streams.

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Patrick

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George Harris
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Maybe a little promotion of Prop 1A would be in order. If you watch TV in San Francisco, you more adverts against Porposition 7 than either for or against all the other propositions combined. There have been a few pro Porp 7 ads, some Prop 8 ads, both pro and con, and a few pro Prop 2 ads, but the other Propsitions might as well not exist as far as advertizing is concerned.
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amtraxmaniac
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Mr. Harris-people do not realize that it REALLY is a pay now or pay later for our crumbling transportation infrastructure. The little bit of press I've seen in the valley has been ANTI Prop 1a-including our local paper. Ironically, the only folks down here in support of it is the county tax payers association (due to the projective jobs it will create).

I think any Coast Daylight service would compliment the high speed rail line. This would especially be the case if, just in theory, the Starlight ran from the Bay Area to Seattle. HSR and the Coast Daylight would act as complimentary feeder trains.

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Patrick

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RR4me
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Actually, I thnk it will fail mostly because of the timing of the current financial problems. Whether or not the voters are really short sighted is a subjective opinion relative to one's own desire for the project (I do intend to vote for it just for the reasons you mention). But faced with the $700B+ increase in Federal expenditures, coupled with the California budget problems (a $7B short term loan is necessary) exacerbated by the initiative driven inability of state government to craft a budget every year, the "cons" side of the argument, that we just can't afford it, will win the day.
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Gilbert B Norman
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For ready reference:

http://www.sos.ca.gov/elections/elections_j.htm#2008General

(especially for those around here who are "not exactly Lefties" - and really would just as soon not be - and even more so after reviewing THAT slate of initiatives!!!)

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cubzo
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I will be voting no on all of the propositions with the exceptions of 4 and 11. That includes the Veterans bond act even though I am a veteran.
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