Rail-Related News, Friday, September 14, 2018

Elon Musk gets something besides rockets, batteries and electric cars right (but nothing about Hyped Loop)

BART to San Jose, you know, IN SILICON VALLEY, delayed again due to improper computer equipment

Clipper Card to get $200 million overhaul…maybe you’ll be able to use smartphone rather than dedicated card

Caltrain ridership is rising, particularly Gilroy-San Jose

People getting on SMART tracks, getting hit, injured and sometimes killed to be scrutinized

Biggest Bay Area transportation “riverboat gamble” in the 1960’s turns into 46-year old success, e.g., BART

Siemens introduces battery-powered train

Proposed downtown San Francisco Caltrain extension’s preferred alignment to Salesforce Transit Center approved

A month after opening, park on roof of $2.3 billion Salesforce Transit Center falling apart

Editorial: Restore safety, reliability, fiscal discipline to BART (also board endorsements)

BART to start service later in early morning for Transbay Tube repairs

BART to hold public hearings before expanding anti-crime surveillance

Delays to opening BART to San Jose has commuters complaining

Posted in News | Comments Off on Rail-Related News, Friday, September 14, 2018

“Miss Alignment” Visits Los Angeles Union Station: Part I

Wallet Lifted, Union Station Security Needs Upgrade

By Susan McAdams, TRAC Board Member, August 30, 2018

Dear Metro Board Members,

On August 14, 2018 at 12:50 PM, my wallet was stolen from my purse while I was eating at the Cafe Crepe at Union Station. The waitress noticed that the suspects were two middle aged Hispanic women that had sat behind me briefly, announced to the waitress they were going to eat outside and left the restaurant and disappeared at 12:50 PM. The waitress could give a good description of them, including their clothing.

For an entire hour afterwards, I attempted to locate someone who would help me. Five separate Metro Security Officers, each posted on the Alameda side of Union Station, were asked. Each pointed to Patsaouras Plaza, and said, talk to the LAPD. Each also warned, the LAPD Officers were getting ready to go on break.

While walking over to the other side of the station, I canceled my credit card and then called 911 to file a Police Report. While walking through the passenger tunnel, I encountered two Homeland Security Officers. When told of my dilemma, the officers shrugged and told me to talk to the LAPD. At Patsaouras Plaza, I found two LAPD Officers. They told me it was not worth filing a police report and to hang up the phone. We were joined by two other police officers. They suggested the same thing. I hung up the phone and left them.

Standing nearby were three Metro Security Staff. The guy with the beard was very helpful. He said, did you check the cameras? He points to the ceiling. See that camera, he says, there are cameras everywhere in the station. I said, you are the first person to suggest that. I walk back to the restaurant. Working with the wait staff, we find a security camera outside the door of the restaurant and they give me a more accurate description of the suspects.

I return to Alameda to ask security officers if I can view the security cameras, they say absolutely not. I have to file a Police Report and then the policeman can watch the security camera. But in order to do that, I have to call for a Metro Security Supervisor. He will take me to the LAPD.

I call for a Supervisor. He arrives. We talk. I explain what happened. Suddenly there are other security officers that want the Supervisor’s attention and I must wait for him.

While waiting, I run into some women that I know. I tell them my wallet has been stolen and that I need $5.00 to get home. My TAP card was in the wallet and in order for Metro to issue me a temporary card, I have to pay $5.00. One of the women gives me the money. Now I can get home.

This is getting really funny to me. I like Security at Union Station. While I worked at Metro, Duane Martin was the head of Security. He was also the pitcher on the company baseball team and I was the catcher. We talked a lot on the topic. So I find this lesson amusing. On the same day my wallet was stolen, about at the same time of day, many Metro Officials were at the North Hollywood Station unveiling the latest Homeland Security devices, and yet no one seems to be able to help me when my wallet got stolen in the middle of the day from the middle of Union Station. TAP card stolen? That will be $5.00 please. But I don’t have $5.00. The TAP lady shrugs and says, no card for you then.

Finally the Metro Security Supervisor takes me to the LAPD. Officer Mendieta takes the information and files out the Investigative Report. He gives me a copy and says he is going to check the security cameras. He also states that someone will call me, but no one has called.

Several months ago, while investigating the location of the new Bike Hub building at Metro, which is located between the Dodger Bus pick up spot and the Mosaic Apartments, I asked the architects and designers, why didn’t you conduct a seismic analysis of the new 4000 square foot concrete base for the Bike Hub Building? The building is erected adjacent the Red Line Tunnels. The entire staff said to me, there’s no tunnels under here!

Well, yes, there are tunnels nearby under the new Bike Hub Building. I was the Red Line Tunnel alignment engineer and I remember where I left them. So if you are going to spend $6.2 million for track and tunnel intrusion technology that will be installed throughout the underground rail stations, make sure that your planning staff at least know where the subway tunnels are under Union Station.

Thank you for your time in this matter.

Susan MacAdams
AKA Miss Alignment

Posted in News | Comments Off on “Miss Alignment” Visits Los Angeles Union Station: Part I

Rail-Related News, Saturday, September 8, 2018


California Rail-Related News Items from September 1st to September 7th

Canadian national government to kick in $1.37 billion ($Can) for Broadway subway and light rail in Vancouver, B.C.

Solano County planners proposing changes to zoning around the new Fairfield-Vacaville train station

San Francisco Muni launches “90-day plan” to speed up bus and light rail service

New York City Mayor DeBlasio reopens campaign for his proposed Brooklyn-Queens streetcar

Opinion: The “truth” about DeBlasio’s proposed Brooklyn-Queens streetcar

Florida’s Brightline intercity rail might add 1 or 2 “Treasure Coast” stations, e.g., where opposition is strongest

Hey, Free Transit Welfare (sic) for Seniors in Greater Philly – but you gotta live there ;-0

Interactive maps show where streetcars used to run in Oakland, Berkeley, San Francisco

Trains go really slow in and out of San Jose Caltrain/Amtrak station

California approves $2 billion for infrastructure, rail projects

1896 streetcar to run at S.F. Muni Heritage Weekend

Roadshow: More ways to lower Caltrain ticket costs

Some Phoenix, AZ politicians want to divert voter-approved taxes from light rail expansion to roads, characterized as “4 lanes to 2 lanes” by press

And the Sun Rises in East Dept.: [S.F.] Muni better than it used to be, but not as good as it should be

From the Dark Side Dept.: Southern Californians buying fewer cars (!)

LA Times Opinion: Feds, e.g., Trump, needs to stop blocking “Subway to the Sea” funding

Posted in News | Comments Off on Rail-Related News, Saturday, September 8, 2018

Rail-Related News, Thursday, August 30, 2018

This has absolutely nothing to do with transit and rail, but it’s cute! Have good Labor Day weekend!

Replacing BART turnstiles may cost up to $200 million

When will San Francisco truly be “transit first?”

BART starting to much more closely monitor activity at Civic Center station


Railcar manufacturing partnerships may be in L.A. Metro’s future

S.F. Muni chief vows to reduce Muni bus and rail delays within 90 days

California high-speed rail costs escalating at $3.1 million per day

JR West railway in Japan incentivizes safety employees by making them sit next to 185 mph trains

Passengers on BART help nab suspect in stabbing of another homeless man

S.F. Muni reopens after 2-month closure, to relief of displaced passengers

BART gets more security funding after stabbings

Santa Clara, San Mateo and San Francisco county residents willing to pay sales tax for major Caltrain upgrades

New Yorkers driving into Manhattan bristling at proposed for congestion pricing

Going To The Dogs Dept: NY subway workers finds lost puppy at 3rd Avenue line station

Crossing gate software keeps screwing up, requiring flaggers at Denver commuter rail crossings

Memphis, TN Music City Star gets new station

State Legislature sends BART housing bill to Gov. Brown despite vicious NIMBY opposition

Sacramento Regional Transit proposes cutting fares, pass prices in effort to rebuild lost ridership

Highway fantasies abound at 8/29/18 Mercury News “Roadshow” column

State of Florida approves tax-free bonds for Brightline passenger rail service over objections of NIMBYs

BART closing Transbay Tube for repairs over Labor Day Weekend

Posted in News | Comments Off on Rail-Related News, Thursday, August 30, 2018

Rail-Related News, Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Photo credit: AP via SF Chronicle

Los Angeles Metro to attempt screening passengers with airport style full body scanners

U.S. commuter rail systems making progress on positive train control

Transit goes to the dogs, again. This time, on busses

BART trying to build housing at its stations, getting resistance from local NIMBYs

BART ridership drops at nights and on weekends due to increasing crime and Uber/Lyft

Among other things, presumptive CA governor Gavin Newsom wants to increase spending on transit, but how its paid for is unclear

As We Predicted Dept: few people “want” self-driving cars

Gavin Newsom defends gas tax increase and high-speed rail, attacks Trump

Marin-Sonoma SMART celebrates first full year of rail service

Hey, lady, make it a folding seat! Woman brings own seat on NY Subway. Not suggested for BART

Southern California Metrolink commuter rail awarded grant to study capital improvements

BART may replace all of its 600 fare gates, though it won’t be cheap

Tour of “train box” under new Transbay Transit Terminal in San Francisco

Posted in News | Comments Off on Rail-Related News, Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Rail-Related News, Tuesday, August 14, 2018

CA high-speed rail is 11 years behind schedule: lawmakers want to know when it will benefit Southern California

Trump accused of stalling Sacramento streetcar. Locals must prove more, his officials respond

San Francisco trying to figure out how to pay the new operating costs for the new Salesforce (Transbay) Transit Center, in light of other urgent transit needs

Late night service returns to Tucson Sun Link streetcar

Ex-S.F. Mayor, gubernatorial candidate Gavin Newsom gets more than a bus station, he gets a really expensive bus station

Hey, BART, is this an example of how to do it?? Crime declines on San Diego Trolley as staff exposure to passengers increases

San Francisco Muni closure of Twin Peaks Tunnel for repairs exacerbates driver shortage

Video of Congressional hearing on CA high-speed rail

Beverly Hills High School brats protest Purple Line Subway that would be used by their “lessers”

Proposed aerial tram to Dodgers Stadium moves ahead

Posted in News | Comments Off on Rail-Related News, Tuesday, August 14, 2018