eNewsletter for July 25, 2011   July 27th, 2011

This graphic from March 2011 shows the current planning between Sylmar in the north San Fernando Valley and Palmdale, a distance of about 50 miles. Original planning assumed 13 miles of tunneling on this segment. Recent engineering work has raised this now to a possible 28 miles of tunneling. It is largely due to the increased projected costs between Sylmar and Palmdale that has the Authority looking at bypassing it for the I-5 to save money and running times. Some of the problems with bypassing Palmdale include the fact that Palmdale is listed on the route in Prop 1A Ballot measure, Palmdale and northern Los Angeles County wants the HSR trains there and the Tejon Ranch Company which owns the land where an I-5 Grapevine alignment would run has no great desire for the trains to run through their property. July 25, 2011

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eNewsletter for July 18, 2011   July 27th, 2011

Central Valley Business Times - ?Jul 14, 2011? “Even before the full California High-Speed Rail system were built, enough could be completed to run trains in a “cash-positive” operation, the Authority’s board says. The segments represent lengths of track that connect significant populations and may …”July 18, 2011
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Opinion by Noel T. Braymer

When people in the San Joaquin Valley talk about the High Speed Rail Project there is very little talk about how quickly they will be able to get to Los Angeles or San Francisco or about the cost of the project. If you are a farm owner in the San Joaquin Valley the issue is about what impact construction of High Speed Rail will have on their property. For most everyone else the issue is how many jobs High Speed Rail will create. No wonder considering that the recorded unemployment in the San Joaquin Valley ranged from a ‘low” in Madera County of 15.3 percent to a high of 18.9 percent in Merced County compared with a Nation average unemployment of 9.7 percent as of  July 2010. Jobs or lack there of is the most pressing issue for most people in this county, not that you would see it on TV news.The United States has a large backlog of construction projects in the trillions of dollars. We don’t need many new roads, but the roads we have are in poor shape, particularly the bridges on many of these existing roads.

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Posted in Editorials

Compiled by Russ Jackson

How did the terrible incident involving Amtrak’s California Zephyr and a speeding truck traveling on US 95 in the Nevada desert happen? There are many theories out there. We have compiled four theories advanced by some rail writers we know. Because two of these writers prefer to be anonymous, we will not disclose who wrote any of them. It’s interesting reading, and none of these theories should be interpreted as being exactly what happened on that fateful day.

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eNewsletter for July 11, 2011   July 13th, 2011

There is no doubt that sleepy drivers are as dangerous as drunken drivers and have almost as many accidents. Another possible explanation is the monotony of driving often causes drivers not to pay attention as they drive: the so called “white line fever”. But a common problem at grade crossing is people speeding up to beat the train to the crossing. An optical illusion makes large items such as jumbo jets or trains look like they are going slower than they are at a distance. This misjudging of the speed of a train causes many people to be killed at grade crossings even when gates and warning bells are working. A greater mystery to me is how did 2 Superliner Cars get destroyed by fire from this accident? More people are killed by fire than collisions in major accidents. It is hard to believe that diesel fuel from this truck could have caused so much fire.The only thing that might be flammable would be the upholstery in the Superliner Cars. We may not have answers for over a year while this accident is under investigation. NB   July 11, 2011

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Reported by David Kutrosky, Managing Director, CCJPA

(Download:  June 2011 Performance Report) Read the rest of this entry »

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eNewsletter for July 5, 2011   July 7th, 2011

What RailPAC is about is seeing the creation of a coordinated transportation system with good rail connections for airports, intercity bus, and urban transit. We also seek coordination and seamless ticketing between intercity rail, corridor rail and regional commuter rail for easy transfers. In other words using a nation such as Switzerland as a model we foresee being able to travel from almost anywhere in California to anyplace in this Country or the World without having to drive a personal car.   July 5, 2011

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Opinion by Noel T.Braymer

The urban area between Washington D.C. up through New York City to Boston is heavily populated at around 38 million people. This is also roughly the population of California. Because of the population density in this area it is clearly a good candidate for good rail passenger service. Many people for years have felt that high speed rail is the answer for this region. This corridor already has the fastest scheduled running times of any passenger trains in the United States. The question is will faster service be affordable in the region to build and will faster speeds greatly increase ridership. To answer these questions we should compare the NEC to other High Speed Rail projects.

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