Commentary by Robert F. Mac Donald, RailPAC Member, Oakland

The media have been playing up the rise in the price gasoline to the summer time high of about $ 5.00 per gallon. For the past several months, the media, and the rail advocate editors, have stressed the potential death of the California High Speed Rail project. The California High Speed Rail scheme has died for several reasons: one, the first idea was to tie the San Francisco Airport to the Los Angeles Airport; second, the nineteenth century idea that San Francisco is the destination of choice, rather than the nine county Bay Area in the north; third, the undeveloped plan of how to get from Bakersfield, over the Tehachapi Mountains and their San Andreas Fault to Lancaster or beyond; and fourth, the two long stretches of much reduced speed that was never presented to the public!

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Posted in Commentary

Comments by Russ Jackson, RailPAC

Southwest Chief train #3 that departed Chicago on February 20, 2012, arrived in Fullerton 8 hours 10 minutes late, and because of the end-of-run padding it arrived at Los Angeles Union Station 6 hours 58 minutes late. The reason? A locomotive engine died in Kansas, and when all was done that could be done it had to operate at freight speeds west of Albuquerque. On the same day, Sunset Limited train #1 was over 7 hours late into Los Angeles because of a bridge problem back in Louisiana. These are examples of continuing Amtrak problems for its long-distance trains, some Amtrak’s fault, some not.

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Posted in Commentary

Opinion by Noel T. Braymer

The opposition of the California High Speed Rail Project is largely to the cost of the project and the amount of private land being considered for condemnation to build it. These problems were created by language in Prop 1A which calls for service between Los Angeles and San Francisco in 2 hours and 40 minutes or less. This is less than the current running time for most Amtrak service between Los Angeles and San Diego. To meet this goal Trains would have to travel in the San Joaquin Valley at speeds up to 220 miles per hour. This would be for only 1 express train an hour with one intermediate stop. To attain such running times would require smoothing out curves and building short-cuts on new rights of way in the heart of the San Joaquin Valley. Creating  new rights of way is what is driving up much of the cost of this project and upsetting property owners who would lose their land if the project were built as proposed.

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Posted in Editorials

eNewsletter for February 13, 2012   February 18th, 2012

Inland Empire News – Feb 9,2012 SACRAMENTO – Governor Brown and US Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood are reaffirming their support for building High-Speed Rail in California. LaHood said he’s traveled throughout the state “and found a strong base of support, from workers who will ..

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RailPAC Report by Russ Jackson, Robert Manning, and from the Amtrak.com timetable. Photo by Robert Manning.
In its revised schedule dated December 5, 2011, Amtrak California quietly added a new train-bus service finally recognizing the importance of travel from Palm Springs, Indio, and the Coachella Valley to/from Los Angeles. Until then the only Amtrak service was the tri-weekly Sunset Limited long-distance train, and connecting buses to/from the San Joaquin trains. These new buses do not go to the Palm Springs train station, but go to the downtown Airport station and other cities enroute.

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Posted in Issues, Reports

eNewsletter for February 6, 2012   February 10th, 2012

The only leg of the San Joaquin Valley HSR starter line that seems close to construction is by Fresno. The deadline for starting construction is this Summer! The lack of political consensus in most of the Valley will likely delay or prevent construction in the foreseeable future. There are several projects long in the planning stage on the Peninsula and in Southern California which have cleared all environmental studies and are only waiting for funding. Governor Brown seems to be very aware of this from recent interviews he gave over a week ago NB.

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eNewsletter for January 30, 2012   February 2nd, 2012

San Joaquin Valley Rail Committee takes stand on Closing the HSR Gap at January 26 Meeting ; Passes Resolution Supporting Closure of the Southern Gap.    The top priority for rail passenger service in California is direct service between Bakersfield and Los Angeles. Hopefully other government bodies will join the SJVRC with similar statements.  NB

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Commentary by Ralph James, RailPAC Member, Blue Canyon CA

This commentary is a follow-up to this writer’s original commentary entitled “Is California High Speed Rail on Track for Successful Implementation?”, published in spring 2010 illustrating the futility of spending early HSR dollars in the Central Valley as compared to other sections of the ultimate HSR route.

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Posted in Commentary, Issues