eNewsletter for October 24, 2011   October 27th, 2011

In the article California High Speed Rail Authority CEO Roelof van Ark “said private investors, including rail operators and construction companies from Europe and Asia, have voiced interest in high-speed rail. The catch: Investors want to see a link to San Francisco or Los Angeles closer to completion before they put in billions, he said. It is precisely that link for which the state needs money. Mr. van Ark said the new business plan would include scaled-back options that would link the new track to existing commuter transit lines in the two cities and, as a last resort, perhaps Amtrak lines.”

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Exhibit Train Schedule for the West Coast

Can you hear the sound of a whistle? To commemorate our 40th Anniversary, we’ve put together a special train with displays of photos, uniforms, china, and memorabilia from America’s Railroad? while also offering a glimpse into the future.

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Posted in Commentary

Opinion by Noel T. Braymer

There are hints that the revised Business Plan now due on November 1st for the California High Speed Rail Project will reflect current economic realities. The October 16th Wall Street Journal reports the project will be built incrementally with greater use of existing track. The possibility that the new trackage could be used at first by the San Joaquin Trains is being raised. In the article California High Speed Rail Authority CEO Roelof van Ark “said private investors, including rail operators and construction companies from Europe and Asia, have voiced interest in high-speed rail. The catch: Investors want to see a link to San Francisco or Los Angeles closer to completion before they put in billions, he said. It is precisely that link for which the state needs money. Mr. van Ark said the new business plan would include scaled-back options that would link the new track to existing commuter transit lines in the two cities and, as a last resort, perhaps Amtrak lines.”

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Posted in Editorials

eNewsletter for October 17, 2011   October 20th, 2011

Planning for the San Joaquin Valley alignment has been ongoing for at least 5 years. If the people in the Valley and the High Speed Rail Authority can’t come to an agreement soon on where to build HSR, there are plenty of other places which are ready to take the money and run with it. Orange and Los Angeles Counties come to mind. Based on work done or ongoing I believe in a short time with funding we could see construction begun on four tracks between Los Angeles and Fullerton with complete grade-separation. We could get run through tracks at Los Angeles Union Station plus track and signal upgrades between Anaheim and Lancaster for speeds over 100 miles per hour. Los Angeles and San Bernardino Counties are planning a freeway between Palmdale and Victorville with a median reserved for fast rail service. With funding this could be accelerated and tied in to rail service to Las Vegas. NB

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Gene Poon has updated this story for us, giving more details of a story that has implications for Sunset Limited/Texas Eagle passengers going through San Antonio and laying overnight on the train there.

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Posted in Reports

Reported by David B. Kutrosky, Managing Director, Capitol Corridor Joint Powers Authority

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Posted in Commentary

The following material are highlights from the information package included in the Agenda for the Board Meeting for the LOSSAN Rail Corridor Agency held on September 28, 2011 in Los Angeles. This material is posted on the LOSSAN web site.

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eNewsletter for October 10, 2011   October 12th, 2011

Could HSR derail Hanford Amtrak station?
Hanford Sentinel – Eiji Yamashita Oct 4, 2011
Rail officials predict negligible impact from the switch, while many locals consider the existing Amtrak train system as a key component of Hanford’s …
It seems the plan for HSR assumes the elimination of the San Joaquin Trains. This would leave several communities in the Valley with no rail service or connections to High Speed Rail. The planning for High Speed Rail should include good connections with local rail and bus services with shared transportation centers for seamless transfers. NB

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Opinion by Noel T. Braymer

The Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG) is currently conducting a study of what to do with what is left of about 20 miles of what was the Pacific Electric’s West Santa Ana Branch. This right of way has been publicly owned by the Counties of Los Angeles and Orange since the 1980′s between Paramount and Santa Ana. The SCAG study is looking at several modes including Mag-Lev, Commuter Rail, Light Rail, Busway and so on. SCAG plans to complete their study of what to do with this right of way by the end of this year. SCAG is studying service between the Green Line and 710 Freeway to Santa Ana with possible connections to LAX and or downtown Los Angeles. It would be possible to use street running on Santa Ana Blvd in Santa Ana for Light Rail connections from the Santa Ana Transportation Center to the West Santa Ana Branch. In fact the Cities of Santa Ana and Garden Grove have proposed doing that as a local streetcar service that would run as far as Garden Grove on the right of way. This right of way is eligible for $250 million in funding in Los Angeles County from the Measure R half cent tax as of 2015 and for possible Federal Funding after the completion after the SCAG study.

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Posted in Editorials

Commentary and photos by Russ Jackson, RailPAC

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Posted in Commentary