By Noel T. Braymer

I was never a big fan of the planning for the California High Speed Rail Project. I have long wanted State Wide High Speed Rail service in California. But what was originally planned by the California High Speed Rail Authority was often long on glitz but short on substance. Much of the planning by the consultants for the California High Speed Rail Authority ignored the need to connect with existing rail passenger services or to share stations and infrastructure. With their fixation on faster running times no attention was made to the trip times for many travel markets in the State. The Authority promised more than it could deliver with available funding. There was a good chance if the project went ahead as planned it would suck up money at the expense of the rest of the rail program in California.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Editorials

eNewsletter for August 26, 2013   August 31st, 2013

NEC Upgrades: Andrew Selden responds to Progressive Railroading     Train traffic congestion in the NEC reflects mostly the overload of regional commuter trains taking advantage of the severely under-priced federal infrastructure of the NEC. (Amtrak’s capital subsidies include somewhere in the range of $200 million a year in direct subsidy to the regional agencies for facilities and capacity that are of no use to Amtrak.) Bring SEPTA’s and NJT’s track rents up to true market rates and the train congestion will abate in a big hurry. And to the extent that Amtrak itself contributes to train congestion, it is largely its own operating practices that are responsible. Amtrak does not need to send four or more short (5-6 car), more than half-empty, NEC trains up the corridor in peak hours when two longer (10-car) trains would suffice, and STILL have sub-50% load factors..

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in eNewsletter

By Noel T. Braymer

I was able to attend the LOSSAN Board meeting on August 23rd in San Diego at the Board Room of SANDAG. The final selection of an agency to take care of the administration of the reorganized LOSSAN Joint Powers Authority was the main order of business and took up most of the time and caused the meeting to go later than scheduled with some work left unfinished.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Editorials

The Fallacy behind Hyperloop   August 23rd, 2013

By Noel T. Braymer

The problem with Hyperloop, like most attempts to “reinvent the wheel” is that the promoters of such ideas ignore the fundamentals of how transportation works. The fundamentals are feeders and distribution networks and the travel time from origin to destination.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Editorials

eNewsletter for August 19, 2013   August 23rd, 2013

In a brilliant display of self-promotion, Mr. Musk gave on a slow news month a massive dose of sensational distraction the media was hungry for. However a high speed shuttle from kinda close to Los Angeles and somewhere in the Bay Area is not a State wide transportation system. As it is there isn’t a prototype let alone a working scale model of this proposal to see how well it will work or how much it will really cost. It will be considerably more complicated and expensive to build and run such a system serving the entire State than a single shuttle in between 2 cities. NB

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in eNewsletter

By Noel T. Braymer

Over the last 35 years or so there have been many ups and downs to expanding Rail Passenger Service in California. While things may seem rocky now, the future is very promising. Just look at how far things have come in Los Angeles since 1990 when the first 22 miles of Light Rail opened. Los Angeles now has 87.8 miles with 6 lines of Light Rail and Subway service. By 2023 Los Angeles County has funding and plans to increase that with 31 miles of new service with extensions of the Purple, Gold and Expo lines, a new Crenshaw line between LAX and the Expo Line and a new subway in downtown Los Angeles connecting the Blue, Gold and Expo Lines and extending service from Union Station to Long Beach.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Editorials

eNewsletter for August 12, 2013   August 15th, 2013

Amtrak has finished its management reorganization which means laying off many competent and highly experienced employees. Standing out in this group leaving Amtrak is Brian Rosenwald best known for his introduction of the Pacific Parlor Car among many upgrades on the Coast Starlight. Despite Amtrak’s PR and misleading accounting, it has been in a slow downwards spiral since the 1990′s. Amtrak had to be bailed out with a massive increase of its subsidy after a near shutdown in 2002 which the taxpayers are still paying. Behind this downwards spiral is Amtrak’s fixation on the Northeast Corridor and High Speed Trains both of which are very expensive to operate. Amtrak neglects its long distance service and does so at its peril. Amtrak need broad political support from most of country to survive which is only served by Long Distance Trains. Amtrak ignores the fact that long distance service is the most productive revenue producers for all transportation services, not only passenger rail service. NB

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in eNewsletter

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

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in CA Rail Statistics

By Noel T. Braymer

There has been some hysteria from the media about the future of High Speed Rail in California after the recent Train crash in Spain. There is a great deal California can learn from Spain about rail passenger service and High Speed Rail. Spain is slightly larger in size, its population is also slightly larger while its economy is smaller than California’s. Spain has over 1,800 miles of High Speed Rail Lines. What most of the headline writers don’t realize is the Spanish train crash didn’t happen on a High Speed Rail Line. This crash was on an old rail line and happened after the train had just left a faster rail route. No one puts a 50 mile an hour curve in the middle of a High Speed Rail Line.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Editorials

Metrolink’s Shrinking Ridership   August 9th, 2013

By Noel T. Braymer

 

Dropping Metrolink Ridership

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Editorials