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JWM

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The Southern Pacific had a posh train, the "Lark". that ran between Los Angeles and San Francisco with some cars that were cut off in San Jose for Oakland. In the early 1950's it was all Pullman and sixteen cars.
 

MARC Rider

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The Spirit of California belonged to an era when rail service planning looked at California as a whole. I suspect that the lack of official interest comes partly from the division of administration into separate corridors.
Even if there was a state agency with clout that focused on statewide rail planning issues and was interested in joining the various corridors, I would think that a single overnight train between LA and SF would still be a pretty low priority. Such a train could only carry a few hundred passengers a day, at most, which means it wouldn't do very much to divert LA- Bay Area traffic from cars and planes. The real way to divert LA - Bay Area traffic to the rails is probably going to be the High Speed Rail, whenever it's built, and it may only start up as "Higher" speed rail. Once they have that, they'll be able to have multiple frequencies, one of which might be an overnight train.
 

Mailliw

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Is there any reason California can't tack on an order of its own onto Amtrak's Viewliner order and then use that. I guess one or two sleepers per train would suffice, with the rest of the train being day coaches they have already? So with two consists in circulation plus a reserve car or two, that would be five or six cars maximum. But maybe they could even test the waters with one car per train which would mean ordering as little as two or three cars off the back of the Amtrak order?

If they really wanted this to happen that is. Politics is a different scenario entirely of course.
CAF is done making Viewliners and the order was a huge fiasco. Siemens on the other hand could adapt it's sleeping car designs for the Venture platform without too much difficulty. Especially if the intent is for a Nightjet style service instead of a traditional Amtrak long distance service. That being said any LA-Bay Area night train would just be a stopgap until CAHSR finally comes online.
 
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jis

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Is there any reason California can't tack on an order of its own onto Amtrak's Viewliner order and then use that. I guess one or two sleepers per train would suffice, with the rest of the train being day coaches they have already? So with two consists in circulation plus a reserve car or two, that would be five or six cars maximum. But maybe they could even test the waters with one car per train which would mean ordering as little as two or three cars off the back of the Amtrak order?

If they really wanted this to happen that is. Politics is a different scenario entirely of course.
Amtrak does not have a Viewliner order any more to tack onto. I think CAF also has had enough of it after taking a bath and is happy to see the hind end of it in the distance.
 

JWM

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CAF is done making Viewliners and the order was a huge fiasco. Siemens on the other hand could adapt it's sleeping car designs for the Venture platform without too much difficulty. Especially if the intent is for a Nightjet style service instead of a traditional Amtrak long distance service.
OBB's new "Nightjet" cars are coming "online" in 2023 according to the site. As others have stated, Siemens is making them and adapting them to U.S. standards should not be a problem. CAF was a "disaster" as a producer here. Siemens unveils first painted car body for ÖBB Nightjet fleet.
 

zephyr17

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Even if there was a state agency with clout that focused on statewide rail planning issues
There is such a state agency, CalTrans Rail Division, which has massive clout and is quite active and instrumental in Pacific Surfliner, San Joaquin, Capitol Corridor and Amtrak California Thruway bus services

If they decided an overnight train between the Bay Area and SoCal would be beneficial, they'd get one on. But their focus is on corridor services with relatively high frequencies, properly so I think.
 

toddinde

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Lots of great comments. The morning Santa Barbara train could just leave Sacramento/Oakland/or San Fran the night before. California could pay to put enough Viewliner Is back together, and you have the service. The return of the Lark!
 

MikefromCrete

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Is there any reason California can't tack on an order of its own onto Amtrak's Viewliner order and then use that. I guess one or two sleepers per train would suffice, with the rest of the train being day coaches they have already? So with two consists in circulation plus a reserve car or two, that would be five or six cars maximum. But maybe they could even test the waters with one car per train which would mean ordering as little as two or three cars off the back of the Amtrak order?

If they really wanted this to happen that is. Politics is a different scenario entirely of course.
The Amtrak Viewliner order is complete. I highly doubt if there will be any future Viewliners, given the crappy job done by CAF.
 

GDRRiley

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An extended Spirit of California should come back with1 RT if not 2. Combine that with a Coast Daylight from Oakland or SJ to SLO and higher frequency on the surlfiner and pre CAHSR we could have 8-9RT a day.
For equipment ordering venture sleepers would be a decent option but likely to be pretty expensive as even if they run 11 car sets with 7 sleepers 1 dinner and 3 coaches. they'll only need around 32 sleepers

I've got 2 example time tables. These both have some minor speedups which were studied including fixing curves between Gilroy and SLO.
1663353406300.png 1663353355555.png
 
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Herb

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An extended Spirit of California should come back with1 RT if not 2. Combine that with a Coast Daylight from Oakland or SJ to SLO and higher frequency on the surlfiner and pre CAHSR we could have 8-9RT a day.
For equipment ordering venture sleepers would be a decent option but likely to be pretty expensive as even if they run 11 car sets with 7 sleepers 1 dinner and 3 coaches. they'll only need around 32 sleepers

I've got 2 example time tables. These both have some minor speedups which were studied including fixing curves between Gilroy and SLO.
View attachment 29651 View attachment 29650

This proposal for passenger service is what the California Rail Plan should be working on instead of the weak plan they have. This route, if it was state owned could be fixed up! The private owners are not interested in doing much. #1 elimination of at grade crossings #2 upgrading the road bed and rails so the slowest the train must go is 50 mph #3 All switches are controlled from the Control center .
 

zephyr17

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This proposal for passenger service is what the California Rail Plan should be working on instead of the weak plan they have. This route, if it was state owned could be fixed up! The private owners are not interested in doing much. #1 elimination of at grade crossings #2 upgrading the road bed and rails so the slowest the train must go is 50 mph #3 All switches are controlled from the Control center .
UP offered to sell the entire Coast Line to California at a bargain price ($390 million seems to stick in my mind, but don't rely on that dim recollection) several years ago.

California passed on it. 🙁
 

GDRRiley

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UP offered to sell the entire Coast Line to California at a bargain price ($390 million seems to stick in my mind, but don't rely on that dim recollection) several years ago.

California passed on it. 🙁
that would be SP not UP, and that was the expected cost of upgrades. I recently reached out to SLOCG who mention the report to see if they've got a copy
This proposal for passenger service is what the California Rail Plan should be working on instead of the weak plan they have. This route, if it was state owned could be fixed up! The private owners are not interested in doing much. #1 elimination of at grade crossings #2 upgrading the road bed and rails so the slowest the train must go is 50 mph #3 All switches are controlled from the Control center .
1.That matters in cities and with roads that have high traffic we can still get 110mph with grade crossings.
2. Theres documents around upgrading the coast sub that involve fixing bad curves wherever possible from Salinas to Pismo beach but that wasn't going to upgrade the line past more 80mph sections. however 110mph would be an option if the state bought it and continued to upgrade it. There was plans to extend all sidings and add more double track especially around Cuesta grade as currently the sidings are quite short at around 5000ft.
3. CTC is being rolled out south of SLO now and would be rolled out north of SLO if a coast daylight and or Night train happened.
 

Herb

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UP offered to sell the entire Coast Line to California at a bargain price ($390 million seems to stick in my mind, but don't rely on that dim recollection) several years ago.

California passed on it. 🙁
Have you read the California Rail Plan? Its pretty weak. I’m working on getting a response to them, even though the review period is over. Also I’ve been watching several webinars by DB ECO that describe different ways of doing rail transport. A lot of good practical ideas and data.
 

Herb

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that would be SP not UP, and that was the expected cost of upgrades. I recently reached out to SLOCG who mention the report to see if they've got a copy

1.That matters in cities and with roads that have high traffic we can still get 110mph with grade crossings.
2. Theres documents around upgrading the coast sub that involve fixing bad curves wherever possible from Salinas to Pismo beach but that wasn't going to upgrade the line past more 80mph sections. however 110mph would be an option if the state bought it and continued to upgrade it. There was plans to extend all sidings and add more double track especially around Cuesta grade as currently the sidings are quite short at around 5000ft.
3. CTC is being rolled out south of SLO now and would be rolled out north of SLO if a coast daylight and or Night train happened.
The CTC rollout, would it upgrade the siding switch issue that I saw a number of years ago (2013?). The issue was that the #14 CSL had to come to a stop, a conductor got off and manually pulled the switch so the train could move to the siding. Then he closed it after the train and walked forward to open the switch so the #14 could get back on the mainline, after the Southbound Surfliner past. It was so 19th century. $390 million seems like change compared to what the HSR project is costing. California could get more passenger service if our motto was “ Not As Fast as Possible but As Quick as Necessary”! ( Credit to SBB CFF FFS )
 
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Is there concern that the tracks along the coast may become unusable at some point in the near future due to either sea level rise directly or erosion from seal level rise? I've seen pictures which makes it appear that the tracks are both low and close to the shoreline in places, both north and south of LA.
 

GDRRiley

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Have you read the California Rail Plan? Its pretty weak. I’m working on getting a response to them, even though the review period is over. Also I’ve been watching several webinars by DB ECO that describe different ways of doing rail transport. A lot of good practical ideas and data.
The 2022 draft is about to come out. Its not weak, a little lacking in vision sure but the plan sets us up to be the best in the country. My far bigger concern is the state won't fund and implement it. At this point the state needs to stop expecting federal money and just pay for it out of our massive budget. Caltrans get 2B a year for road capital programs.
The CTC rollout, would it upgrade the siding switch issue that I saw a number of years ago (2013?). The issue was that the #14 CSL had to come to a stop, a conductor got off and manually pulled the switch so the train could move to the siding. Then he closed it after the train and walked forward to open the switch so the #14 could get back on the mainline, after the Southbound Surfliner past. It was so 19th century. $390 million seems like change compared to what the HSR project is costing. California could get more passenger service if our motto was “ Not As Fast as Possible but As Quick as Necessary”! ( Credit to SBB CFF FFS )
CTC is already there from SLO to SD which is the surfliner route. Its not north at this point because UP doesn't want to pay and amtrak only runs 1RT a day down the line. with more service CTC will get rolled out from Gilroy to SLO
There needs to be a bill to form a JPA to run service from SJ to SLO for coast daylight. Then if they want a sleeper just make the 3 JPA come together and work on it

Is there concern that the tracks along the coast may become unusable at some point in the near future due to either sea level rise directly or erosion from seal level rise? I've seen pictures which makes it appear that the tracks are both low and close to the shoreline in places, both north and south of LA.
yes thats an issue near SD and between Ventura and Vandenberg SFB. the SD section is planned to be replaced with a pair of ~5 mile long tunnels. double tracked designed for 110mph+
At this point theres no plan for the north section, theres a discussion about moving tracks inland where possible but theres no plan
 

GDRRiley

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I think it was after the 1997 merger, but am not sure about that.
1992
Yes, an increasing level of elephant seals kicking up sand with their flippers could speed erosion. 🤡
some places are a rough winter storm away from the tracks being compromised. that already happened recenly near del mar and they rushed to add rocks and rebuild the road bed.
 

zephyr17

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Is there concern that the tracks along the coast may become unusable at some point in the near future due to either sea level rise directly or erosion from seal level rise? I've seen pictures which makes it appear that the tracks are both low and close to the shoreline in places, both north and south of LA.
The danger is more likely bluff erosion from storms. While the tracks are low in some places, like at San Clemente, north of LA the former SP Coast Line is mostly up on the bluffs, not down by the beach.
 

BCL

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Even if there was a state agency with clout that focused on statewide rail planning issues and was interested in joining the various corridors, I would think that a single overnight train between LA and SF would still be a pretty low priority. Such a train could only carry a few hundred passengers a day, at most, which means it wouldn't do very much to divert LA- Bay Area traffic from cars and planes. The real way to divert LA - Bay Area traffic to the rails is probably going to be the High Speed Rail, whenever it's built, and it may only start up as "Higher" speed rail. Once they have that, they'll be able to have multiple frequencies, one of which might be an overnight train.

Passenger car traffic between Northern and Southern California really isn't that much of an issue anyways. It's really just a drop in the bucket compared to any commute traffic.

I've traveled on I-5 many times and unless there's a wildfire, accident, or icy road, it's almost always easy to travel, other than the trucks since it's only two lanes in each direction and sometimes one is going slow and another truck is in the #1 lane to get around the slow ones.
 

GDRRiley

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Passenger car traffic between Northern and Southern California really isn't that much of an issue anyways. It's really just a drop in the bucket compared to any commute traffic.

I've traveled on I-5 many times and unless there's a wildfire, accident, or icy road, it's almost always easy to travel, other than the trucks since it's only two lanes in each direction and sometimes one is going slow and another truck is in the #1 lane to get around the slow ones.
Its not? as someone who has often done it day to day its okay but weekends or any holidy it becomes a parking lot. I take 101 if possible.

the sleeper train should come back as part of spending money to upgrade the coast sub for more surfliner, metrolink and a new coast daylight. Its not liner cost to add 1-2 extra RT slots a day and its far better to lock it in now than to wait and see what insane things UP wants in 5-10 years
 
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