CA Rail News Archive

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• New Governor Must Pause High-Speed Rail Plans, Decide Future
• Coast Observations
• Santa Cruz “Unified Corridor Study” Scenario B Focusing on Rail Maximizes Ridership, Less Costly Than Road Expansion
• A 21st Century Rail Renaissance: Automation & Batteries
• Tuning SMART for Success
• Hydrogen-Powered Rail Has Arrived
• Passengers are the First Priority of European Rail Service
• HSR Meets HV

• Metrolink’s Plans for Increased Service and Partial Electrification
• SB 1029 Would “Rail Bank” Eel River Tracks, Abolish NCRA: New Passenger Rail Service Possible, along with Costly Eel River Trail
• TRAC’s Response to High Speed Rail’s Latest Business Plan
• Coast Observations
• Excursion Trains & “Very Light Rail” Seem Plausible in Humboldt County
• State Awards $2.7 Billion in Rail, Transit Grants
• Santa Cruz: No Rails, “Trail Only” Legal Can of Worms?
• Optimizing Rail Passenger Service in Santa Cruz County


• New State Rail Plan: A Step Forward? Comments Due December 11, 2017
• Caltrans’ Choice of Unsuitable Car Design Will Hamper Rail
• Coast Observations
• A Vision for Passenger Rail in the North Bay & Sacramento Region
• The Potential of Freight Rail Electrification in Southern California
• Obsolete Regulations Obstruct Level Boarding
• Tunnel Costs Could Sink High Speed Rail
• Draft California State Rail Plan Statewide Map

• Metro: Transit Provider or Developer? — LA Union Station Quandry
• The Latest on High Speed Rail and Caltrain Electrification
• Coast Observations
• TRAC’s Integration Plan for San Joaquins & Altamont Commuter Express
• Coachella Valley Trains Could Be Winners – With Better Plan
• “Electric Fast Freight” in California? Moving Short-Distance Truck Freight to Rail
• Intercity Trains Need to Be Fast! They Are Not Commuter Trains

• TRAC Rail Vision: Faster Trains, Through North-South Service
• President’s Corner
• The Impending Death of California’s HSR Authority
• Coast Observations
• Getting Smart: Region’s Newest Passenger Rail System to Roll Starting Spring ’17
• Rail Viable for North Bay’s Highway 37 Corridor: Rail an Order of Magnitude Cheaper Than Billions for Road Expansion
• Palmdale-Burbank Tunnel Route: Alternative E-2 Is A Short-Cut Only on Paper
• Many transportation sales taxes pass, but not in Contra Costa, San Francisco, Sacramento, Placer or San Diego Counties
• Morocco HSR Project Overtakes California: $2.5 Billion, 115 Mile Line Links 200 Miles of Coast


• Latest High Speed Business Plan No More Viable Than Past Plans
• TRAC’s Principles for High Speed Rail Success
• President’s Corner
• The HSR Decision – Too Soon to Cut Off Funds
• New Legislation Provides Major Improvements to HSR Oversight
• Coast Observations
• Tejon or Tehachapi? What History Tells Us – Even The Old Ridge Route Beat Passenger Trains in 1920’s
• The Capitol Corridor’s Progressive Vision Plan
• HSR in the Southland – Will TBMs Get Stuck?
• Sacramento’s ‘Zombie’ Streetcar Refuses to Di, Threatens Light Rail & Bus System
• SF Mayor’s Railyards Study Sidetracks DTX

October-December 2015

• Keys to HSR Success: Market-Based Route & Private Funds
• XpressWest HSR to Las Vegas Moves Ahead with Chinese Seed Funding
• New L.A. Co. Sales Tax Could Raise $120 Billion-5 New Rail Lines, No Metrolink Fix?
• Coast Observations
• High Speed Rail: A Walk Under & Through the Angeles National Forest? Current Rail Line Upgrades Must Be Torn Out if HSR Routed That Way: New Tunnels Under National Forest to Placate Santa Clarita?
• Fatal Flaws of Tunnels Under National Forest
• Capitol Corridor’s 3rd Track to Roseville a Waste Without New Sacramento Co. Stops
• Marin & Sonoma SMART Rail Progress Continues
• President’s Corner: Welcome to TRAC!
• Sacramento RT Struggles to IMprove LRT & Buses Prior to 2016 Kings Arena Opening
• Sacramento Co. LRT & Bus Expansion Depends on 2016 Sales Tax
• Doras Briggs & Jane Tolmach: Pioneers of Rail Advocacy
• HSR Reform Serious Business in Kings Co.

April-July 2015
• SPUR Think Tank: Bay Area Needs “Seamless Transit”
• 2040 Draft Transportation Plan Is Impressive Effort: Caltrans Tackles Climate Change
• Deficits on European High Speed Rail Threatening Regional Transit Support: Spanish HSR fails to cover even its operating costs, and is forcing cuts to basic train service across Spain. A cautionary tale for California?
• I-5 Tejon Pass May Be the Only Politically Feasible HSR Alignment Into Los Angeles
• Overnight Train Cutbacks Continue Across Germany
• Presidents Corner: A Tribute to Richard Tolmach
• Switzerland Leads Europe Rail in Traffic, Service Quality and Safety, Say Consultants
• ACEforward: ACE’s Visionary Plans to Extend the Altamont Corridor
• CARRD Researcher: There Was Never A Real Study of I-5
• Brown and Brown and Round He Goes (HSR) (Steve Greenberg cartoon)

October 2014
• High Speed Rail Authority Admits I-5 Was Fundable
• TRAC Favors Cap and Trade Projects With Near Term Benefits
• UP, Capitol Corridor Push for $200 Million: No Fix for Sacramento Access?
• Coast Observations
• [France] Regions Plot Revival as High Speed Lines Collapse
• Amtrak & Michigan to Extend 110 mph Service
• Spanish HSR Station & Tunnel Flood in Girona
• Why HSR Should Start in Los Angeles
• Southern California Regional Interconnect Project

February 2014
• HSR Chair Declares Palmdale “New Center of the Universe”
• Amtrak Service is Deteriorating Even as Traffic Demand Grows (Don Phillips by special permission)
• Slush Funds, Fat Pay and 2 Sets of Books: Caltrain Copies OCTA & NCTD?
• Coast Observations
• Europe’s Rail Mobility Fracturing at Borders
• Caltrans Competence Questioned: Loss of Rail Expertise Not Isolated
• Dumbarton Last Chance?
• HSRA: What’s Wrong and What to Do
• Gov. Jerry Brown Needs $68 Billion for his High Speed Choo-Choo Train From L.A. to S.F. How to Get It (Ted Rall cartoon)

August 2013
• Level Access for Passengers: Platform to Train Shouldn’t Be a Leap
• Save the Redwoods League Saves Skunk [Train]
• Las Vegas HSR May Have Died, But X Train Moving
• $2 Billion LAX Line Won’t Reach to Airport Just Yet
• French City Builds 8.7 Mile Light Rail for $215 Million ($24.6 million/mile)
• Coast Observations
• Truth, Tejon and Tehachapi: Tejon is $5 Billion Cheaper
• Why Not Capitol Corridor Acceleration This Decade? A New Carquinez Bridge Might Save About 5 Minutes
• Pricetag Jump Fuels British HSR Critique
• Modern Trains Possible

April 2013
California Needs A “Plan B” Myopic View of Travel Needs Distorts Reality
• Why Salinas, Not Monterey on Capitols?
• Sprinter Malfunction Puts Brake on 5th Anniversary
• Harder Line by Congress on “Buy America” Hurdle
• Coast Observations
• TRAC Comments Presented to Caldrons on Draft State Rail Plan
• Reform on China Rail
• France Goes Conventional
• Lawsuit Seeks to Force Authority to Obey 2008 Proposition 1A Language
• Metrolink Meltdown Raises Doubts on LOSSAN Takeover

December 2012
• How to Avoid 200 mph Noise (French Hybrid Trains)
• Finding New Capacity on Existing Platforms (Caltrain TramTrain Option using Muni Metro subway)
• Las Vegas X-Train via UP Beats DesExpress by Years
• Coast Observations
• Citizens Pinpoint HSR Flaws, Demand Honest I-5 Analysis
• Risk Muted on L’Aquila, Bridge & HSR (Earthquake safety & new Bay Bridge; fault for Italian earthquake damages)
• Istanbul Terminal Threatened: City’s Link to Ankara Ends About 2015
• Abandoned for a Land Speculator (similarity of Sacramento to Detroit’s abandoned Michigan Central station)

August 2012
• High Speed Bait and Switch: $8 Billion Bill to Produce Zero Miles of HSR
• Private [HSR] Projects Proceed as HSRA Devises Public Scam
• Coast Observations
• FRA Waiver on European DMUs for Fort Worth
• Weeds to Smart Growth Magnet: $4 Million/MIle (Italy’s Val Venosta Rail Revival with DMUs)
• Practicality Wins on Rail Investments
• Shippers: Freight Needs Fast Track (French Post Office special TGV trains)
• [Former State Senator] Joe Simitian Says HSR Missing in $8 Billion Plan

April 2012
• New HSR Plan a Non-Starter: Desert Detour as Slow as Amtrak Bus
• SMART Breaks Ground on Sonoma-Marin Upgrade
• Budget Cuts Hit State Rail Unit
• U.S. Senate Pushes Re-Regulation of Commute Railroads by Surface Transportation Board
• Coast Observations
• Red Army Construction Battalion Arriving Soon? (HSR Overbuilding in China)
• Expo [Light Rail] Line Opens April 28 [2012], Westside Stop Debate
• 1st Frankfurt-Marseille Run
• Depot-Blocking Sac Arena in Trouble: Kings Leery of Huge Project on Toxic Site
• Amtrak CEO Gives Up on Amtrak: Condemns Long Distance Trains to a Lingering Death

December 2011
• HSR Route is a Jerrymander: Gov’s Appointees Help Create a Monster [Tolmach’s famous HSR “dragon” graphic]
• [High Speed Rail] Business Plan Assumes N.Y. [Penn Station] Traffic [levels] in Merced
• Congress Cuts Amtrak $65 Million; Will Re-examine HSR Funds
• Coast Observations
• A Plan for Faster L.A. Connections in Our Lifetime (new Metro subway-Metrolink connections nr LA Arts District)
• Metrolink Progress Report
• A Platform for Developers: Sacramento Passengers to Be Stranded (Station Platform relocation)
• Expo Rail Tests Continue, Public Waits

August 2011
• Viaducts Blow HSRA Budget: Van Ark Admits Multi-Billion Cost Overrun
• Bikes on Metrolink
• Integration of LOSSAN: Great Goal, Hard to Achieve
• {China HSR crash] Corruption, Crash, Coverup
• Coast Observations
• Safety Marketers Adopt Hostile Amtrak Identity (graphic)
• 10 Ways to Straighten Out The Crooked HSR Proposal [Tolmach’s famous crooked HSR graphic)
• Participate in Railroading (Railroad Museums)
• House Rips Amtrak’s $117 Billion Northeast Corridor Plan
• Let HSR Operator Do Design: Peer Analysis Panel Says HSRA is Unquaified
• Van Ark Presses His Luck With Profit Claim: Mr. Van Ark of HSRA, Meet Mr. Barron of the UIC

April 2011
• [High Speed Rail] Bonds Wait For Credible Plan: Teasurer Punctures HSRA Vallejo Ambitions
• $25 Million PRIIA Hit for Surfliners
• Ag Unrest [Regarding San Joaquin Valley HSR plans] Spooks HSRA: E-Mail Exposes Van Ark
• Coast Observations
• Metrolink Acts: 16 New [crash-resistant] Trains
• Is Rail Service Dysfunctional by Design?
• Debranding Amtrak Instead of Promoting Rail
• ACE Plots Faster Altamont
• Value for Money on HSR: A Few Standards to Obtain Promised Benefits
• Cam Beach: A Proponent of Practical Rail Solutions (obituary)

January 2011
• Fill The Bakersfield Gap First (HSR via Tejon Pass)
• LOSSAN: Breaking Down Walls vs. Constructing New Barriers
• Dyson and Ames Join TRAC Board
• Metrolink Debuts Its Guardian Car Fleet
• Coast Observations
• 54-Mile Starter Has More Viaduct Than 1000 Miles of TGV (San Joaquin Valley HSR segment)
• SMART vs. A Smarter Plan (Op-Ed)
• HSR Peer Review Summary Comments
• I-5 Plan: Why Not Add Coast Trains? (San Diego I-5 widening proposal)

August/September 2010
• Can van Ark Reform HSRA? Waiting for Reform
• A Safer Car: Metrolink Considers CEM Option
* Coast Observations
• How HSRA Ridership Soared Out of Proportion: Research by Volunteer Group Found HSRA Gamed Ridership Data to Benefit Pacheco [preferred HSRA alignment]
• Santa Barbara Proposes Own Funds to Move Trains 798/799: Changes to Surfliner in Exchange for Subsidy
• 3 Alternative Ideas on HSRA
– Build the Valley Line First (Walter Strakosch)
– Build LA-Bakersfield First (Michael E. McGinley P.E.)
– Grade Separate All Rail Lines in Shared Corridors (Michael E. McGinley P.E.)
• Monterey Rail Moves Ahead

June/July 2010
• High Speed Rail Gets Real (HSRA hires Roelof Van Ark)
• Audit Report: HSRA Risks Delays Or Incomplete System Because of Inadequate Planning, Weak Oversight & Lax Contract Management
• Coast Observations
• New Metrolink CEO is Quick to Refocus on Staff Organization
• Redesigning Metrolink for Mass Market Success
• ACE Sets Plans for an Upgrade
• Experts Revive Altamont as HSR Option: MTC Ridership Projections Challenged
• Buried Treasure in Downtown L.A. (Pacific Electric Hollywood Subway Terminal)

January/February 2010
• Governor [Schwarzenegger] Renews Attack on Rail
• LOSSAN Drafts Plan to Coordinate Runs
• Rail Safety Comes First: Governor Schwarzenegger Put California on the Wrong Track
• Coast Observations
• An Alternative Plan for California High Speed Rail (I-5 Alignment Option)
• To Go Fast, Go in a Straight Line (I-5 Alignment Option)
• Humor Not Planned (CHSRA’s 2010 HSR Business Plan)
• Climate Changes for High Speed Rail
• Useful Links on HSR and Its Climate Impacts
• Southern California Rail Transit Shorts

September-November 2009
* L.A. Metro Extends East (Gold Line LRT Extension to East Los Angeles)
• Metrolink Considers Amtrak Crewing
• Making AB 32 Matter (California Global Warming Solutions Act)
• Coast Observations
• European High-Speed Trains Don’t Invade Neighborhoods
• 217 mph in Cities?
• Reactions to Rulings on Pacheco EIR
– A Chance to Rethink Plan
– Will Pacheco Suit Reform the Runaway HSR Project?
• Clockwork Links Invented on Dutch Canals in 1600’s
• Hitachi Develops Diesel Hybrid Solution

July-September 2009
• HSR Rail Fantasy vs. Reality
* Diridon Faces Uphill Battle on Pacheco (HSR alignment)
• Dumbarton Suit Dismissed
• California Transit Association (CTA) Victory Against Transit Fund Ripoff
• Coast Observations
• Starlight Regains a Future
• Spinning A Megaproject Decision (NY Times gets California HSR wrong)
• Southern California Rail Update
• $22 Billion of California Pre-Apps for Obama Stimulus Program
• Putting Rail Operations out to Contract: Is it a Substitute for Real Leadership?

February-April 2009
• Dumbarton Back on Track? Judge to Hear Funding Diversion Case-MTC Fund Grab, Activists Sue to Restore
• UP Suggests It Will Block Peninsula HSR Rebuild
• D.C. Legislative Update
• The Toxic Trolley? [One Stop Sacramento LRT Extension to “Township 9”)
• Coast Observations
• [Quentin] Kopp in Firestorm with S.F. Over Projects Letter
• French See Role in HSR System Design
• 3 Expert Views on [Obama’s] Rail Stimulus
– Which Pots, Which Projects? (Bob Huddy, TRAC Board Member)
– Amtrak’s Stimulation Funds (David Peter Alan, Chair of New Jersey’s Lackawanna Coalition
– Windfall Fund Still in Play (Robert Cruickshank, Professor and On-Line High Speed Commentator)
• Knitting L.A. Lines Into a Network
• How Late is On-Time?
• 09 Calrail202 in Ventura

November 2008-January 2009
• Voters Want Rail Progress: Demo Plan Erases Funding Gains
• Action? Ballot Progress Threatened by AB2
• 9 Transit Measures on Ballot
• D.C. Legislative Update
• Coast Observations
• Voters Pass Proposition 1A High Speed Rail Bonds
• High-Speed Rail & Renewable Energy
• Closing the Rail Gaps
• Positive Train Control Arriving Soon
• 09 Plans for CalRail2020
• Meet TRAC’s Newest Board Members
• Californians are Building a Rail Future at Sacramento Car Plant

September-October 2008
• Rail Ridership Up by a Third
• LA County [transit] Sales Tax Headed for Vote After Senate Agrees On Language
• Wired or Not
• D.C. Legislative Update
• Coast Observations
• Sprinting European-Style From Oceanside To Escondido
• Utah’s Frontrunner Carries 6,500-South Extension Planned
• Riverside Metrolink Line Extension to Relieve I-215
• HSR Bond Measure On November [2008] Ballot But Many Questions Remain

July-August 2008
• Gas Prices Pack State Trains
• 5 Westside LA Rail Extension Options Revealed
• Transit Advocates Take Battle to Sacramento
• D.C. Legislative Update
• Coast Observations
• Airline Business Model Broken by Aviation Fuel Pricing
• With $4 Gasoline, California Needs More Cars
• High Speed Rail: News, Editorials (e.g., before November 2008 HSR Proposition 1A Bond Vote)
– Proposed LA to SF Bullet Train Nits a Snag (LA Times)
– Messing With High Speed Rail: Union Pacific Causes a Flap With Its Huffing and Puffing on Right of Way (Fresno Bee)
– With Important Fixes, Maybe Trains Can Fly (Modesto Bee)
– Speed Bump for Hi-Speed Rail Plans (Stockton Record)
– A Speeding Train Loaded With Big Questions: Answers Are Needed Before November (Sacramento Bee)
– Boondoggle Express (Contra Costa Times)
– Let’s Put State on Fast Track to Future (response to Sacramento Bee editorial, Quentin Kopp)
– Not So Fast With High-Speed Rail (response to June 22, 2007 Kopp opinion)

January/February 2008
• Sacramento’s Crookedest Station: Moving Stops-A Real Estate Game (re: Relocated St. Rose of Lima LRT station)
• TRAC 2008 Officers & Board of Directors
• D.C. Legislative Update
• Coast Observations
• LandScams: Rail Planning Played By Speculators
• Connecting Up L.A. Rails
• Pacheco a Recipe for High Speed Rail Stalemate
• Press Asks: Is Pacheco Route Fatal Mistake?
• Coalition Rebuts HSRA (re: Bay Area-San Joaquin Valley HSR routings)
• [High Speed Rail] Authority a Bit Too Fast on the Drawing Board
• Calrail 2020 Snapshots (2007 TRAC annual meeting in San Diego)

August-September 2007
April 2007
January-February 2007

September-October 2006
April-May 2006

December 2005

September 2005
• Subsidies Can’t Save The SUV: Gas Prices Dry Up GM Profits, Fuel Rail Growth
• Auto Apologists vs. Amtrak
• Two Views of How to Elect TRAC Officers
• LA Times Claims Gas is Cheaper Than Metrolink
• Coast Observations
• Why Do Montpellier’s Trams Attract So Many? 110,000 rider trams daily in this French city with a metro population of only 500,000
• [Montpellier trams] Many Exceptional Features for California Systems to Emulate
• FRA Regs Are Based on Bad Science: History & Physics Behind the Buff Strength Debate
• Union City Plans Multimodal Station
• BART to San Jose Ducks Full Federal Transit Administration (FTA) Review

June/July 2005
April 2005

November 2004
September 2004
July 2004
April 2004

September 2003
July 2003

November 2002
August 2002
June 2002
February 2002