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Author Topic: Desert Xpress
yukon11
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On top of the proposal of a high speed train, from Victorville, Calif. to Las Vegas, Nev. has come a proposal for a maglev train from Disneyland to Las Vegas. The cost: around 12 billion.

I think a high speed train from Victorville to Las Vegas is more financially practical. The "Desert Xpress" high speed out of Victorville to Las Vegas is going to cost around 5 billion, at least before cost overruns. Add 10-20 billion for the high speed LA to San Francisco train via Prop 1A.

Of course, there is the matter that California is around 40 billion in debt....but let's table that one for a while.

http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,332513,00.html

Richard

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Gilbert B Norman
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Talk of this Meadows to where? service leads to the question of if there ever were to be one passenger rail tunnel bored under the Tehachapi Mtns. to eliminate passenger trains over the ATSF Cajon Pass AND to bypass the SP Tehachapi Pass, thereby allowing ready access by all passenger trains, existing or planned, to LA, where would this tunnel be bored?
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George Harris
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For the Califronia High Speed Railroad route, see this: http://www.cahighspeedrail.ca.gov/faqs/route.htm

Between Bakersfield and Los Angeles, the line will more or less follow the current railroad alignment by way of Tehachapi and Palmdale. More or less being a significant part of the statement, as the line is to be built for 220 mph operation. Grades will be 2.5% with some steeper. Here is a brief quote from the reference:

"As part of the Statewide Program EIR/EIS document (certified November 2005), the Authority selected the alignment through the SR-58/Soledad Canyon Corridor (Antelope Valley) with an high-speed train station at Palmdale as the preferred option for crossing the Tehachapi Mountains between the Central Valley and Southern California. Although the longer Antelope Valley alignment would add about 10 minutes to express service travel times between northern and southern California and have less intercity ridership potential (trips between regions) than the I-5 alignment option, it would have fewer potential environmental impacts, it would be less subject to seismic activity and have considerably less tunneling and thereby have fewer constructability issues, and would increase connectivity and accessibility.

. . . less tunneling overall (13 miles of tunneling for the Antelope Valley option versus 23 miles for I-5 options), and considerably shorter tunnels (maximum length of 3.4 miles for the Antelope Valley option versus two tunnels greater than 5 miles for the I-5 options)

. . . The Authority concluded that there are additional seismic hazards and risks for the I-5 alignment options from paralleling the San Gabriel fault, and also from traversing the “triangle” where the San Andreas and Garlock faults meet.

The Antelope Valley option would provide direct service to the Palmdale/Lancaster area, which increases the connectivity and accessibility of the high-speed train network."

The last paragraph and what followed but is not quoted could be summed us as, The politicians in the Lancaster/Palmdale area wanted the line and had the political clout to make it happen.

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Mike Smith
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As the details of the Spendulous bill that our fearless leader will sign tomorrow become known, you just might find an extra $15 billion for that Las Vegas to LAX high speed rail.
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George Harris
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quote:
Originally posted by Mike Smith:
As the details of the Spendulous bill that our fearless leader will sign tomorrow become known, you just might find an extra $15 billion for that Las Vegas to LAX high speed rail.

Otherwise known as the Harry Ried Express. When it comes to pouring money into ways to get the gullible in LA to LV so they can lose their money, Ried is the Energizer Bunny. He never gives up.
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rresor
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As I posted on another thread, USDOT issued a report on "Emerging High Speed Rail Corridors" in 1977, just as I left grad school and began my career.

Thirty-two years later...they're still "emerging".

I don't think even the "Porkulus" bill will ensure their emergence, and I expect to shuffle off this mortal coil without ever riding a high-speed train outside the NEC (except in Europe and Japan...and maybe Korea, China, India)

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Southwest Chief
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Why does it seem any new Vegas train service is always starting in Victorville?

I mean once you get to Victorville by car what's another 200 miles of relatively flat desert?

Cajon Pass is typically your bad part of the drive, so why bother driving to Victorville just to catch a train?

And why does it have to be high speed? The Desert Wind moved along at a pretty good clip. It took some time to get to Vegas, yes, but if the schedule left earlier in the day then it would be more practical.

But the bottom line is, if it isn't LA - LV it's not going to work.

--------------------
Matt
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Gilbert B Norman
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quote:
Originally posted by George Harris:
Between Bakersfield and Los Angeles, the line will more or less follow the current railroad alignment by way of Tehachapi and Palmdale. More or less being a significant part of the statement, as the line is to be built for 220 mph operation. Grades will be 2.5% with some steeper.. . . less tunneling overall (13 miles of tunneling for the Antelope Valley option versus 23 miles for I-5 options), and considerably shorter tunnels (maximum length of 3.4 miles for the Antelope Valley option versus two tunnels greater than 5 miles for the I-5 options). . . The Authority concluded that there are additional seismic hazards and risks for the I-5 alignment options from paralleling the San Gabriel fault, and also from traversing the “triangle” where the San Andreas and Garlock faults meet.

Mr. Harris, you live out there, I don't; accordingly, and in view of your standing as a PE, I defer to your thoughts on this matter.

To what extent does 'tunnelphobia' play into the psyche of a Californian?

I can't think of any long tunnels around LA, beyond those on the SP near Chatsworth and through which Surfliner and Metrolink trains operate. But of course, in the East Bay area, there is the mile-plus long vehicular Caldecott Tunnel.

From reading your review above, it appears that any long tunnels, even if the $$$ somehow are to be there, will not be part of the HSR initiative. So I must wonder to what extent the noted "tunnelphobia' is a factor in such.

FWIW, when I'm out in New York and have occasion to use any of the numerous bridges and tunnels out there, I'm just as glad when I'm through or over them, but it is hardly to the point that I will make travel plans simply to avoid the use of such.

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George Harris
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It is not tunnelphobia as such. AFter all, sitting here in SF, every time I want to go to the east bay side, I, and quite a few other people, ride through a 6 mile underwater tunnel with no hesitation. Also, every time I ride south down toward San Jose on Caltrain, which qutie a few people do on a daily basis, you go through 4 tunnels in the first few miles out of town.

It's crossing-faults-in-tunnels-phobia.

To say that the mountains just north of Los Angeles are seismically active is like calling a hurrincane a thunderstorm.

Tunnels can be built in those mountains, and as the reference showed, quite a few will be. The route chosen appears to be, according to the reports, better ground with fewer faults to cross. Tunnels can be built through faults, and quite a few are, that I know first hand from Taiwan, but the ground conditions are a lot more difficult, and after an earthquake, the tunnel might have an offset in it. Not a good thing.

The previously mentioned BART transbay tube is a sunken tube type, not bored, and has a seismic movement joint near each end.

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RRCHINA
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To Mr. Harris I shall defer for approximate costs but my experience, especially with Gov't projects is that they will cost 3-5 times in addition to what politicians and their bureacrat minions first tell us.
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yukon11
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quote:
Originally posted by George Harris:
quote:
Originally posted by Mike Smith:
As the details of the Spendulous bill that our fearless leader will sign tomorrow become known, you just might find an extra $15 billion for that Las Vegas to LAX high speed rail.

Otherwise known as the Harry Ried Express. When it comes to pouring money into ways to get the gullible in LA to LV so they can lose their money, Ried is the Energizer Bunny. He never gives up.
********************

Well, maybe Harry Ried and his fellow Nevadans, along with casinos, will be willing to fund the entire project as it will infuse a lot of money into Vegas.

I read, elsewhere, that someone proposed having the Desert Xpress run from Victorville to Palmdale, as Palmdale is a stop along the LA to SF high-speed rail line. They say it is a realatively flat path (?) from Victorville to Palmdale (?). It would allow a north and south link with the LA to SF high-speed train and give both Northern and Southern Calif folks access to the Desert Xpress. The only problem with this idea, it seems to me, is that they would need numerous commuter trains, to Palmdale, to link with the Desert Xpress in order to get the desired ridership.

Richard

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RRRICH
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Palmdale is already served by Metrolink -- I imagine any proposal for a "Desert Express" would need to interface with the existing Metrolink schedules from downtown L.A. to Palmdale.
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Geoff Mayo
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quote:
Originally posted by Gilbert B Norman:
To what extent does 'tunnelphobia' play into the psyche of a Californian?

Cost. Ten miles less of simple tunnelling, without fault lines or any of the other complexities George states, could save anything upwards of US$1billion. Multiply accordingly for shale, faults, large diameter, high speed, or any other number of factors. It's hard to get exact figures because each tunnel is different.

rresor - yes, South Korea's got high speed rail, as has China.

Florida's high speed rail will become operational in 2004... doh! [Big Grin] . http://www.o-keating.com/hsr/fox.htm

Geoff M.

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amtraxmaniac
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Why not split the train in Palmdale then? Or run the desert express from Palmdale-connecting to and from the SF-LAX train?
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George Harris
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Rresor: Hopefully, we will both be able to ride at least part of the Calfornia HSR before we leave this present life. I may not make that, but I am planning on still working when construction gets under way, at least.

RRChina: sounds like you may have been reading some of the pieces of paper found here: http://www.reason.org/ps370/
The general cost numbers in the current Calif. HSR estimate may not hit it on the nose, but 3 to 5 times, I seriously doubt it, based on the cost per mile numbers.

I do know this about the information referenced: His postulations about the run time are completely bogus. I was searching for more polite words, but can't find any. The current non-stop LA to SF run time in CaHSR's information is 2h42m, which the "Reason Foundation" reports state to be too optomistic and will likely be more on the order of 3h41m. Here I can say with certainty that they guy is completely wrong. Simply put, the LA to SF distance is about twice Taipei to Kaohsiung, which is scehduled and runs reliably with two stops in 1h35m. So even without the higher speed in California, a 3 hours schedule is very practical. Eliminate the stops, about 5 minutes time cost each, and consider that the top speed will be 220 mph instead of 186 mph, 2 hours 42 minutes should be a slam dunk in California.

You must remember that Wendell Cox, the author, and the Reason foundation itself have never met any passenger rail project anywhere that they liked.

I have not read the entire 196 page document and don't intend to. There is a lot of better written fiction available.

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