If San Joaquin Were To Run On HSR Trackage

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seat38a

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https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2019-10-09/metrolink-plans-electric-train-service-burbank-anaheim-bullet-train-funds

With growing calls to move CAHSR funding to SoCal and BayArea and running existing San Joaquin on the already built dedicated tracks in central valley, what do y'all think future service will be like? With 165 miles of dedicated track, is it still possible to run hourly train service to the BayArea and Sacramento while still running on shared freight trackage north of Merced? The charger/CA Car combo can go up to 125MPH correct? Would 3 hours to Bakersfield from Oakland be possible?
 

Anderson

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I think you'd want/need to plug the gap between San Jose and the Central Valley (leaving service "up north" mostly to the Capitol Corridor), which would give you near-dedicated trackage all the way at that point, to get the level of service you'd want. Bear in mind that if you have a once-hourly San Joaquin into the Bay Area, that means that between Oakland and Martinez you're probably looking at about twice-hourly service (probably somewhere in the ballpark of 30x/day on that segment).

Three hours Bakersfield-Oakland would not be doable on the current routing. Taking an average speed of 85 MPH (which would probably be too high) you get 3.70 hours (or about 3:42). At 80 MPH, you get 3.93 hours (or 3:56). So I think you have a hard floor at four hours Bakersfield-Sacramento. Remember, the route is 315 miles overall, so you still have 150 miles of non-upgraded track. If you route via San Jose, that's probably...somewhere around 85-ish miles Merced-San Jose (air distance is 77 miles) and San Jose-Oakland is 43 miles. That shaves about 20 miles off the top (293 miles) and gives you runtimes of 3:26 (85 MPH) to 3:40 (80 MPH)...but those runtimes are probably more achievable since your only mixed/unimproved trackage would be Oakland-San Jose.
 

seat38a

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With ACE Trains/Altamont Corridor having a short term goal of constructing a tunnel through Altamont Pass, I'm still lost as to why the whole HSR fiasco decided to tunnel Pacheco Pass instead. HSR and Altamont Pass should have come to some terms to tunnel together and sooner.

Whats funny is if Altamont Pass does get tunneled by ACE and service is extended down to Modesto via track improvements like they currently envision, we maybe(hope) seeing San Joaquin trains heading into San Francisco before any HSR is up and running.

So San Joaquins doing:
Bakersfield to Sacramento
Bakersfield to San Jose
Bakersfield to Oakland Currently via East Bay
Bakersfield to Oakland coming from South Via Altamont Pass
Bakersfield to San Francisco via Altamont Pass and improved CalTrain ROW.
 

bretton88

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With ACE Trains/Altamont Corridor having a short term goal of constructing a tunnel through Altamont Pass, I'm still lost as to why the whole HSR fiasco decided to tunnel Pacheco Pass instead. HSR and Altamont Pass should have come to some terms to tunnel together and sooner.

Whats funny is if Altamont Pass does get tunneled by ACE and service is extended down to Modesto via track improvements like they currently envision, we maybe(hope) seeing San Joaquin trains heading into San Francisco before any HSR is up and running.

So San Joaquins doing:
Bakersfield to Sacramento
Bakersfield to San Jose
Bakersfield to Oakland Currently via East Bay
Bakersfield to Oakland coming from South Via Altamont Pass
Bakersfield to San Francisco via Altamont Pass and improved CalTrain ROW.
ACE has dropped for now plans to tunnel Altamont. The Valley Corridor is it's replacement, a frequent DMU service on an existing ROW and some new build in an interstate median. They will also be building some double track on the current route to increase services.
 

sttom

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The fastest we could maybe do between Stockton and Bakersfield is 100 mph assuming the new Viaggio cars are used instead of the California cars. But that would still require upgrades north of Modesto. As for expanding service on the San Joaquins, I don't know why the plans to expand service have taken this long other than the state not really being involved in planning rail like it would be if California were a normal state. We have a tendency of kicking intercity and commuter rail to Joint Powers Authorities which function about as well as the EU does. Under JPA management, all of the agencies that are apart of it have to agree to do things. Which over the length of the Capitol Corridor is hard to do. I can't imagine how hard it is to do things in the San Joaquin Valley where politicians in general aren't as friendly to transit as the Bay Area and Sacramento are somewhat open to train service.
 

seat38a

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The fastest we could maybe do between Stockton and Bakersfield is 100 mph assuming the new Viaggio cars are used instead of the California cars. But that would still require upgrades north of Modesto. As for expanding service on the San Joaquins, I don't know why the plans to expand service have taken this long other than the state not really being involved in planning rail like it would be if California were a normal state. We have a tendency of kicking intercity and commuter rail to Joint Powers Authorities which function about as well as the EU does. Under JPA management, all of the agencies that are apart of it have to agree to do things. Which over the length of the Capitol Corridor is hard to do. I can't imagine how hard it is to do things in the San Joaquin Valley where politicians in general aren't as friendly to transit as the Bay Area and Sacramento are somewhat open to train service.
Can't speak for Central and NorCal, but ever since LOSSAN took over Pacific Surfliner, I think things have improved. More trains have been added, cafe car has been improved, business class has been improved, and they seem to be proactively better handling lengthy delays caused by putting a new train in at LAUS to continue south vs just letting the delay compound waiting for the SLO/SB train to arrive. Also, better schedule coordination has come about between Amtrak and Metrolink so train conflict is a lot less common. The State is still doing the funding and buying. The decisions are made locally.

Regards to expanding the San Joaquin, I think its really been the victim of CAHSR. Why spend time and effort on it, when new HSR is being built to parallel much of the route. Also, having all the tracks it runs on owned by freight really doesn't help.
 

sttom

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Can't speak for Central and NorCal, but ever since LOSSAN took over Pacific Surfliner, I think things have improved. More trains have been added, cafe car has been improved, business class has been improved, and they seem to be proactively better handling lengthy delays caused by putting a new train in at LAUS to continue south vs just letting the delay compound waiting for the SLO/SB train to arrive. Also, better schedule coordination has come about between Amtrak and Metrolink so train conflict is a lot less common. The State is still doing the funding and buying. The decisions are made locally.

Regards to expanding the San Joaquin, I think its really been the victim of CAHSR. Why spend time and effort on it, when new HSR is being built to parallel much of the route. Also, having all the tracks it runs on owned by freight really doesn't help.
The Surfliner was originally one of the routes Amtrak inherited from Santa Fe and only became a state sponsored route in 2000. Based on the times I've rode the Zephyr in coach, it doesn't seem like it would be hard to improve the coach experience. Amtrak cafe car food sucks and the equipment was probably old before the California cars.

As for Nor Cal being about 15 years behind it's plans, CAHSR is only partially to blame. It being sold as a Gadget Bahn that works in the realm of F-ing magic is part of how the Governator and Brown kept the project going. There is no way in hell it's going to the the Acela, Regional and Metro North all in one. But that's how it was sold. But Sacramento is pushing for dedicated commuter and regional service which will speed things up in the long run.

But HSR doesn't excuse why the Capitol Corridor hasn't been fully built out, why there is no Shasta corridor or Coast Daylight. The state's penchant for kicking things off to the local governments in the name of "local control" is at least partially to blame. There is no reason why Intercity rail should be 100% a local concern.
 

seat38a

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The Surfliner was originally one of the routes Amtrak inherited from Santa Fe and only became a state sponsored route in 2000. Based on the times I've rode the Zephyr in coach, it doesn't seem like it would be hard to improve the coach experience. Amtrak cafe car food sucks and the equipment was probably old before the California cars.

As for Nor Cal being about 15 years behind it's plans, CAHSR is only partially to blame. It being sold as a Gadget Bahn that works in the realm of F-ing magic is part of how the Governator and Brown kept the project going. There is no way in hell it's going to the the Acela, Regional and Metro North all in one. But that's how it was sold. But Sacramento is pushing for dedicated commuter and regional service which will speed things up in the long run.

But HSR doesn't excuse why the Capitol Corridor hasn't been fully built out, why there is no Shasta corridor or Coast Daylight. The state's penchant for kicking things off to the local governments in the name of "local control" is at least partially to blame. There is no reason why Intercity rail should be 100% a local concern.
Surfliners were always State Supported except for 3 trains that were fully Amtrak funded.
 

seat38a

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Doesn't take away from how ineffective the JPAs are....
So do you have ANY empirical evidence that the JPA's are less effective than if the State controlled things directly??? Under JPA control San Joaquin experimented with Fresno Express service and as already mentioned above for the Surfliner, service is being expanded with additional round trips. LOSSAN is double and triple tracking the corridor and replacing bridges and stations.

Ticket pricing and discounts have also improved under JPA managment. What exactly are they failing at that the State could do better??? Each JPA puts out a business plan annually that outlines their short, middle and longterm plans/goals. What did the state ever do to keep the public aprised of their plans?
 
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sttom

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So do you have ANY empirical evidence that the JPA's are less effective than if the State controlled things directly??? Under JPA control San Joaquin experimented with Fresno Express service and as already mentioned above for the Surfliner, service is being expanded with additional round trips. LOSSAN is double and triple tracking the corridor and replacing bridges and stations.

Ticket pricing and discounts have also improved under JPA managment. What exactly are they failing at that the State could do better??? Each JPA puts out a business plan annually that outlines their short, middle and longterm plans/goals. What did the state ever do to keep the public aprised of their plans?
The Capitol Corridor once advertised "up to 18 trains per day" now it's up to 15. Bus services haven't recovered since the recession on some lines and largely haven't expanded. If we didn't have 3 little fiefdoms we might have managed to avoid some of the equipment shortages that might be to blame for some of the service losses.

Also the Fresno service hasn't exactly gone well. There haven't been any major pushes to improve service in the valley until Sacramento county outlined a plan with ACE for service expansions about a year ago.

Also, where is the expanded Capitol service that we were promised years ago? Oh yeah they cities and counties that would be served aren't in the JPA so screw them. Or the Northern part of the central valley that has millions of people in it with only a few buses and the Starlight. No JPA, no service.

I'm not saying the counties should have no say in how things work, but that they buck should stop at the legislature and not in the county seats. If you want to expand the topic of this to other JPAs that run trains, CalTrain never has a consistent funding stream. I've heard a lot of people complain about how Metrolink lacks decent daytime and weekend service in some areas and this is all down to a few counties not being as cooperative. 1 county shouldn't be able to screw things up and the state needs to take a bigger role in rail if it wants to deal with the climate and traffic. Local control largely seems to be deficient services for more time wasted.
 

west point

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I do not know if this is even possible. Qualify some Siemens Chargers and the Brightline type coaches for 150 MPH operation. Run this equipment behind an ACS-64 that would operate at 150 MPH under electric and the charger at 125 under tracks not electrified yet and posted MAS speeds on present freight and California tracks.
 
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