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The 2008 California ballot measure authorizing billions in bonds to construct a high speed rail between San Francisco and Los Angeles was a massive bait-and-switch scam. Not only has the budget ballooned from the promised (if obviously absurd) low ball number on the 2008 ballot of $33 billion to $77 billion, but it remains quite unlikely that the bullet train can hit it’s legally promised downtown to downtown duration.

There is an obvious tradeoff between speed and cost. Less obviously, the tradeoff isn’t linear as speed increases. Going a little bit faster costs a lot more money. By way of analogy, about two decades ago the Volkswagen CEO decided that VW would build a 250 mph / 400 kph hypercar, the Bugatti Veyron. There are lots of 200 mph supercars and plenty of 150 mph luxury sedans and hundreds of millions of cars that can hit 100 mph, but nobody had ever made a production vehicle that would go 250 mph.

It turned out that there are good reasons for this. The engineering alone cost an immense amount and the individual car had to be priced in 7 figures. I live in Los Angeles, where there are a lot of Lamborghinis, but I’ve seen maybe two Veyrons in my life.

Anyway, the individuals backing the California bullet train lowballed the price and highballed the speed to swindle the voters. Why aren’t they being investigated for that?

From the Los Angeles Times:

Calculations show bullet train can complete route within 2 hours and 40 minutes. Reality may prove slower

By RALPH VARTABEDIAN
JUL 29, 2018 | 3:00 AM

When California voters approved construction of a bullet train in 2008, they had a legal promise that passengers would be able to speed from Los Angeles to San Francisco in two hours and 40 minutes. …

The authority says it can still meet its trip time commitments, though not by much. …

Such a tight margin of error has some disputing whether the rail network will regularly hit that two-hour-40 minute time, in part because the assumptions that went into those simulations are highly optimistic and unproven. The premise hinges on trains operating at higher speeds than virtually all the systems in Asia and Europe; human train operators consistently performing with the precision of a computer model; favorable deals on the use of tracks that the state doesn’t even own; and amicable decisions by federal safety regulators.

In other words, the mandated 2 hours and 40 minutes could be achieved by tolerating a greater chance of a catastrophic derailment

The California bullet train would have to average 164 mph, vs. 145 mph for the Japanese one and 119 for the French one….

One fundamental problem for the California system is that it’s at the upper end of the distance where bullet trains can compete effectively with airlines, so it has to be as fast as possible.

Top speeds require precise track alignment — straight and level. A curve that allows a train to operate at the max speed of 220 mph would have a circumference of more than 50 miles, were it to make a complete circle. Going over mountains requires deep tunnels to level out the climb so that the grades are half as steep as those on interstate freeways. …

The speed mandate was created by a small group of political staffers and bureaucrats huddled in a Senate conference room in spring 2008. They believed guaranteeing high speeds was critical to the future success of the system and to convince voters to back a $9-billion bond later that year.

The main proponent of mandating the trip times was Mehdi Morshed, the longtime chief executive of the rail authority who believes rail speeds would be endlessly compromised were they not backed up by law.

Shouldn’t there be legal sanctions against people who use the initiative system for bait-and-switch purposes?

The notion that the NIMBYists of Silicon Valley were going to allow HSR to roar through Palo Alto at 220 mph was always delusional:

In 2011, the rail authority faced growing opposition in wealthy Silicon Valley communities about an elevated viaduct that would carry 220-mph trains. In a deal with Bay Area elected officials, the state agreed to put the bullet train on ground-level tracks shared with much slower commuter trains between San Jose and San Francisco. …

The computer simulations that are supposed to prove the validity of the trip times are based on a lot of hope.

One key assumption is that trains will move through the urban Bay Area and Los Angeles nonstop, even while sharing track with trains that make multiple stops at stations along the way.

It would involve using parallel tracks, which only exist along limited segments of rail, to bypass commuter trains, Vacca said. During rush hour, the puzzle would require as many as four bullet trains to weave around six commuter trains per hour while relying on a sophisticated new signaling system.

Caltrain commuter trains in the Bay Area may have to sit idle for up to seven minutes while bullet trains pass by, according to a 2016 rail authority planning document prepared by a Swiss consultant. Caltrain officials said there is no agreement on such future movements on the track, which Caltrain owns.

The trains would also have to sail through Fresno, Bakersfield, Palmdale and other communities at 220 miles per hour, speeds that have triggered a public backlash in Europe, said Lisa Schweitzer, a USC professor who specializes in transportation.

“I can’t imagine most communities would agree to trains operating at these speeds,” she said. …

Another key assumption is that trains on shared track would get federal approval to pass through at-grade crossings in dense urban areas at 110 mph, requiring sophisticated crossing gates to prevent crashes. While there are a few areas on the Amtrak’s Acela service along the East Coast that have such speeds, they are in rural areas.

A general lesson is that while California could accomplish heroic civil engineering projects like the state aqueduct when the population was only 16 million in 1960, it’s much, much harder to do similar things when the population is 40 million and rich liberal Californians have led America for the last 50 years in pioneering legal roadblocks, such as environmentalism, to protect their neighborhoods from the needs of the masses.

 
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  1. Mr. Anon says:

    The notion that the NIMBYists of Silicon Valley were going to allow HSR to roar through Palo Alto at 220 mph was always delusional:

    San Franciscans wouldn’t even permit completion of the Golden Gate Freeway, and that was in 1959.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/California_State_Route_480

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    • Replies: @dr kill
    If they really want to spend a lot of money, why couldn't they just build their super-train-track offshore a-ways? I can think of many legal and local obstacles this would overcome, but perhaps the engineering would be impossible. Full disclosure, I'm not an engineer or railroad planner.
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  2. Flip says:

    It doesn’t sound like buying those bonds would be a good idea.

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    • Replies: @Jus' Sayin'...
    CALPERS will probably buy the entire bond issue for its pension fund. That was probably a key element of the finance plan for this boondogle.
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  3. Where are Elon Musk and his pneumatic tubes when you need them?

    Not so many years ago, California was the can-do state where dreams came to life; now it’s the no-way state where dreams go to die.

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    • Replies: @Autochthon

    When a place gets crowded enough to require ID's, social collapse is not far away. It is time to go elsewhere. The best thing about space travel is that it made it possible to go elsewhere. – Robert Anselm Heinlein

     

    He was right then; he is more right than ever now (grumbling from the grave!).

    Sadly, no one is sorting out the space travel, because the resources are needed for tranny-Afro-Muhammadan conformity...or something....
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  4. eD says:

    Yes, once population gets a certain level, you can’t have nice things anymore. At least not without a dictatorship like you have in China.

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    • Replies: @William Badwhite
    Generally agreed, but this ridiculous train doesn't go into the "nice things" box. It was a terrible idea from the start. It was just another fantasy of the loons that run CA and their obsession with 19th century technology - trains, windmills, etc. I'm surprised they haven't mandated the use of leeches in medicine.

    The Badwhites were in the process of moving out of CA and managed to vote against this stupid train on the way out.

    I had numerous conversations with people in the runup to this vote and the liberal’s inability or refusal to process basic facts was aggravating.

    WB: "There are approximately a billion flights/day between San Fran and LA, why would we build a train?”
    Liberal: "trains are better for the environment, plus it’ll work. They have the Acela on the east coast. I've taken it from New York to Washington".
    WB: "NY to Washington is a bit over 220 miles. Its 400+ miles to LA. And the tracks and right-of-ways on the east coast have been there for 150 years. Plus they don't have mountains to contend with. They have lots of bays and rivers, but the bridges are already there".
    Liberal: "Yeah but..."
    WB: "To get from San Fran to LA in 2 hours and 40 minutes requires an AVERAGE of 149mph, which includes the time chugging in and out of the stations, so enroute speeds will have to be significantly higher. The super-expensive peninsula is developed all the way past San Jose and there's no way trains are gonna whistling thru Burlingame, San Mateo, San Carlos, Palo Alto, etc at 180 mph. Caltrain can't go a month without running over a bum and they're going less than 1/3 that speed…this train would kill bums, kids, Stanford students, people’s pets…”
    Liberal; "Yeah but trains are good..."
    WB: "And its going to lose money hand over fist. No rapid transit anywhere in the world operates at a profit when capex and maintenance are factored in. Only a few even cover their operating costs - New York, Tokyo, London. Who's going to pay for all this"?
    Liberal: "Yeah but muh train..."
    WB: “and Union Pacific owns the tracks. They’re not going to put freight trains on sidings so the magic choo-choo with 17 people on it can go whistling through…”
    Liberal: “yeah but muh train…I’m voting yes. I’m good for the environment”

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  5. Who do they think is going to ride this thing?

    Denver voted for massive expansion of mass transit rail and busses and then per capita ridership went down.

    https://www.citylab.com/transportation/2017/11/denver-public-transit-growing-pains/544472/

    Some sociologist should do an in depth study of mass transit riders and compare them with non riders and find out for real why people are not willing to ride it even though they are willing to pay for it.

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    • Replies: @Discordiax
    Because when you agree to pay for it, you imagine a glorious, futurist system without non-Asian minorities and prole whites.

    When you have to use it, you remember why private cars are preferable to public transportation.

    Why do hipsters love streetcars? A streetcar is just a subway without black people.
    , @Blackdawg
    A realistic feasibility study is the last thing Jerry Brown wants. My guess is that this boondoggle was created and sold to the gullible public for the main purpose of feathering the nest of Diane Feinstein, who's billionaire husband/Richard Blum is the primary contractor for the bullet train for money laundering purposes. https://calwatchdog.com/2013/04/26/se-diane-feinsteins-husband-wins-ca-rail-contract/
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  6. Luke Lea says:

    Where is Musk’s tunneling machine when you need it?

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    • Replies: @fitzGetty
    ... better ask that dodgy Theranos bird ...
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  7. Alfa158 says:

    At the time of the initiative there were critics contending that there was never any intent to actually build a train system that couldn’t even work because of the elevation changes, right of way route battles, and lack of demand. (The Japanese and French systems don’t have to climb and descend 4000 foot mountains). The critics said it was just a means to subsidize the deficits in the transit systems in Los Angeles and The Bay Area. The idea was that the project would begin by “preparing” the infrastructure at each end which meant siphoning money off into covering the deficits. It would also be a way to payoff Democrat political supporters with grants for environmental studies, engineering reports, public relations programs etc. They must have burned through that first $33B faster than expected.
    BTW, I ran some numbers and wish to go on record that I want the budget to increase to $102.5B. The reason I picked that number is that if we assume the train route is 348 miles long, then based on the fact that a $20 bill is .0043 inches thick, that is the sum you would get if you stacked $2o bills the entire length of the route.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Anon
    You’re absolutely right that the whole thing is just a pay off for Democrat donors and affirmative action contractors to get lucrative contracts.

    The distance is more like 400 miles at least as the tracks won’t go directly. They’ll first go maybe 75 miles east and then back west to the coast
    I drive LA to SF several times a year. I don’t take the 405 because it’s about 75 miles east of the ocean. Time saved going 95 mph just adds 2 more hours going back west to the ocean.
    , @Hans Frank
    I think Alpha nailed it. California is nearing the end of the Ponzi scam.
    , @Stan Adams
    This is what happened in Miami. In 2002, the voters were told that, if they approved a half-penny sales tax, the money would be used to expand the Metrorail system. The tax passed, and the money was diverted to cover the transit agency's ongoing operational shortfalls.

    Aside from a short spur to the airport, no new rail lines were ever built.

    Lately, there has been some talk of building a 20-mile Metrorail extension to Homestead (40 miles south of downtown Miami) along the old FEC right-of-way (now devoted to dedicated bus lanes). This was only one of several new lines that were promised to the voters back in '02.

    The cheaper alternative is to convert the existing bus stops into bus "stations" that will speed things up by having riders pay their fare before they board.

    Most of the existing bus stops were built over twenty years ago. Their fabric canopies have long since succumbed to the ravages of time. Waiting for a bus on a summer afternoon is like being boiled alive. (Even with the canopy, it's a miserable, sweaty ordeal.) The stops that do still have canopies tend to be homeless hangouts.

    https://www.miamiherald.com/news/local/community/miami-dade/homestead/tckxdl/picture203418384/alternates/FREE_1140/SQA04%20Shelter%20News%20rk

    As proposed, the bus system would have iconic stations and new vehicles designed to imitate trains by offering group boarding level with the platform and advanced ticket sales.
     
    "Iconic" is a trendy word these days. It means "supposedly cool-looking":
    https://www.miamiherald.com/opinion/op-ed/v2i6r7/picture214881925/alternates/LANDSCAPE_1140/south%20dade%20brt%20rendering

    Supposedly this is the magic ticket that will entice suburbanites to abandon their cars. "Make it look hip enough, and they will come!"

    Of course, the real problem with the Busway is that the buses are jam-packed with NAMs (mostly blacks). Everyone bitches and moans about the traffic - U.S. 1 is a six-lane parking lot - but no one wants to admit that spending an hour (or two) in one's own car is preferable to spending thirty minutes on a bus full of vibrant bums, drug addicts, and thug wannabes.
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  8. Whiskey says: • Website

    Japan still has plenty of people. They have nice things. They are not diverse however.

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  9. It might be cheaper to just build an autobahn with no speed limits and issue a Mercedes-Benz S Class to every household. The accidents would be glorious; they might even replace your police chases for TV entertainment value. What is it with you people anyway?

    The trip up the length of California was best done in the valley lands fifty years ago in a TR3 with the top down. It took all day, but boy was it fun.

    Your state has been ruined. From here, it’s like watching a train wreck. Ha ha, a train wreck.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Ganderson
    Buzz- your comment reminds me- when the Commonwealth of Massachusetts was debating whether or not to give the Patriots a new stadium, Howie Carr pointed out that it would be cheaper to buy every household in the Bay State a big screen TV and the NFL package for 20 years.
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  10. @eD
    Yes, once population gets a certain level, you can't have nice things anymore. At least not without a dictatorship like you have in China.

    Generally agreed, but this ridiculous train doesn’t go into the “nice things” box. It was a terrible idea from the start. It was just another fantasy of the loons that run CA and their obsession with 19th century technology – trains, windmills, etc. I’m surprised they haven’t mandated the use of leeches in medicine.

    The Badwhites were in the process of moving out of CA and managed to vote against this stupid train on the way out.

    I had numerous conversations with people in the runup to this vote and the liberal’s inability or refusal to process basic facts was aggravating.

    WB: “There are approximately a billion flights/day between San Fran and LA, why would we build a train?”
    Liberal: “trains are better for the environment, plus it’ll work. They have the Acela on the east coast. I’ve taken it from New York to Washington”.
    WB: “NY to Washington is a bit over 220 miles. Its 400+ miles to LA. And the tracks and right-of-ways on the east coast have been there for 150 years. Plus they don’t have mountains to contend with. They have lots of bays and rivers, but the bridges are already there”.
    Liberal: “Yeah but…”
    WB: “To get from San Fran to LA in 2 hours and 40 minutes requires an AVERAGE of 149mph, which includes the time chugging in and out of the stations, so enroute speeds will have to be significantly higher. The super-expensive peninsula is developed all the way past San Jose and there’s no way trains are gonna whistling thru Burlingame, San Mateo, San Carlos, Palo Alto, etc at 180 mph. Caltrain can’t go a month without running over a bum and they’re going less than 1/3 that speed…this train would kill bums, kids, Stanford students, people’s pets…”
    Liberal; “Yeah but trains are good…”
    WB: “And its going to lose money hand over fist. No rapid transit anywhere in the world operates at a profit when capex and maintenance are factored in. Only a few even cover their operating costs – New York, Tokyo, London. Who’s going to pay for all this”?
    Liberal: “Yeah but muh train…”
    WB: “and Union Pacific owns the tracks. They’re not going to put freight trains on sidings so the magic choo-choo with 17 people on it can go whistling through…”
    Liberal: “yeah but muh train…I’m voting yes. I’m good for the environment”

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    • Agree: Autochthon
    • Replies: @Anonymous
    What is existing train travel like between SF and LA or vice versus? Decent way to make the trip?
    , @Dtbb
    Thank god for gov. Rick Scott. First thing he did after elected was kill florida's high speed rail.
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  11. MEH 0910 says:

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  12. “In other words, the mandated 2 hours and 40 minutes could be achieved by tolerating a greater chance of a catastrophic derailment.”

    Giving the most likely occupants of that train (what San Franciscan bum is going to miss out on the opportunity to beg in LA for a few hours before returning home?), maybe this is a chance we should be willing to take.

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  13. Rod1963 says:

    I’m glad it’s dead. I only live a couple hundred yards from the tracks in one of the towns mentioned.

    Shared track? Are they crazy, the track out of LA is used to transport all that Chinese junk from the port of Long Beach, you got trains coming by almost every hour either coming to Los Angeles or leaving and loaded with a 70+ flatcars with shipping containers on them.

    Oh yeah it’s shared with the passenger trains as well.

    And the track is not rated for 220 MPH. BNSF would have to replace all the track from Los Angeles to Bakersfield and beyond. And they aren’t about to do it. So it means super train gets throttled down to say 60-70 MPH from Los Angeles to Sac Town if they use existing rail lines.

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  14. Western says:

    They would probably require a security check like at airports. The Eurostar requires it, so that would mean total travel time would go up.

    I don’t mind trains at all, but this doesn’t seem to be a good place to put a high-speed train.

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    • Replies: @g2k
    The Eurostar does have an airport style security check, and passport control if going to/from the UK, but it's very quick and there's no check in, so, in theory you could turn up five minutes before departure. They also don't bother to crosscheck the names on the ticket with ID, so if you buy a discounted ticket with no cancelation, you can sell it on if you need to or buy sold out tickets.
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  15. What price are they going to charge?

    Is it $50 per person one way, or $83, or $105?

    http://www.latimes.com/local/politics/la-me-adv-bullet-fares-20150510-story.html

    I am seeing that the min round-trip price for airfares is $230.

    So, for most people it just does not make much sense to use the train if it is going to take 2h and 40 minutes or more each way.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Anon
    It probably would be faster to take a 2 hour 40 minute train than fly considering the waste of time standing in security lines and walking a mile or so in LAX and SFO.
    , @Barnard
    When visiting relatives in California in 2008 I asked them what the tickets were expected to cost and they thought similar to plane tickets. My question then was other than people who are afraid to fly, why would anyone ride this train? They didn't have a good answer. It never made sense to me why anyone thought this would work.
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  16. Farenheit says:

    Let’s see, an aluminum tube full of a couple hundred people, going a third the speed of a jet liner, across the landscape. Tough to think of a juicier or easiler target for terrorist.

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    • Replies: @Anon
    There was an attack on a TGV some years ago, but the attacker was on the train, there was no attempt to derail it.


    I'm guessing an attack is hard due to 150 years defense against train robbers dating from the Old West to today. The high speed rail is also "grade seperated" so you can't crash into it with a Truck a la Breaking Bad. There were also attacks on the trains (subways) during the 2000s, and they didn't seem to cause the propaganda effects desired.


    Also worth recalling that the European secruity state is more invasive than the US, there is no Fourth Amendment to worry about. And several countries have "states of emergency" where one can be detained without trial. Any major attack that happend probably was known about by the state in advance, the Belgian attacks certainly were. Its the "lone nuts" that are harder to stop.
    , @Reg Cæsar

    Let’s see, an aluminum tube full of a couple hundred people, going a third the speed of a jet liner, across the landscape. Tough to think of a juicier or easiler target for terrorist.
     
    I once asked an Amtrak agent about security. He said, why bother? You could just go ten miles out of town and plant a bomb.

    That Amtrak has never been seriously threatened with terrorism shows just how low in esteem its brand is held.
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  17. Anon[422] • Disclaimer says:

    If instead of this California DOT had decided to paint “Bus Only” on a freeway lane in each direction they could have saved roughly $80 billion. You could also drop people off at a BART station if you want to avoid bay bridge traffic.

    By the way, how many Nuclear Power Plants, Priuses, and Wind Farms could you get for $80 billion. Are we even sure that trains running on electricity make up for the carbon emissions from the construction?

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    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    Interstate 5 has 206 miles in central California where the median is big enough to accommodate building 4 more lanes. Perhaps it would make more sense to have buses that could go 100 mph on special bus only lanes for roughly half of the 382 mile trip instead of a train that could theoretically go 220 mph on a 465 mile route.
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  18. Anon[257] • Disclaimer says:

    Steve, do you know if the train actually goes to San Francisco or stops in Oakland forcing passengers to take a bus to San Francisco’s? Or even worse, an Oakland bus to the Bart Station and Bart to San Francisco?

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    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    It sounds like they are planning to go thru Palmdale, Fresno, and San Jose. That's 465 miles by highway today, about 83 miles longer than Highway 5 through the empty west side of the Central Valley:

    https://www.buildhsr.com/maps/corridoralignment/

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  19. @Stan Adams
    Where are Elon Musk and his pneumatic tubes when you need them?

    Not so many years ago, California was the can-do state where dreams came to life; now it's the no-way state where dreams go to die.

    When a place gets crowded enough to require ID’s, social collapse is not far away. It is time to go elsewhere. The best thing about space travel is that it made it possible to go elsewhere. – Robert Anselm Heinlein

    He was right then; he is more right than ever now (grumbling from the grave!).

    Sadly, no one is sorting out the space travel, because the resources are needed for tranny-Afro-Muhammadan conformity…or something….

    Read More
    • Replies: @Enochian
    I hate to say this, but if space travel is ever cheap enough for you to be able flee overcrowding and over-governing, the crowds and the government will be able to follow you wherever you go. Heinlein's independent pioneers will lose out to Asimov's galaxy wide empire and its librarians, just as they are doing so on earth.
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  20. peterike says:

    “The main proponent of mandating the trip times was Mehdi Morshed, the longtime chief executive of the rail authority”

    Lol! I know that when I want to run a project costing tens of billions, the best way to avoid corruption is to put a guy named Mehdi Morshed in charge

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  21. utu says:

    SF-LA 382 miles, 2h 40min –> 144mph

    Starting with the Tōkaidō Shinkansen (615.4 km, 382.4 mi) in 1964,[3] the network has expanded to currently consist of 2,764.6 km (1,717.8 mi) of lines with maximum speeds of 240–320 km/h (150–200 mph)

    As of 14 March 2015, after a speed increase to 285 km/h (177 mph), the fastest Nozomi service now takes 2 hours 22 minutes from Tokyo to Shin-Osaka.

    Tokyo to Shin-Osaka is exactly 382 miles as from SF to LA.

    Paris-Marselle is 410.67mile. Time of travel 3h 17min –> Avg speed 125mph

    What do they lie in LA Times?

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    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    Last I checked, the rail route they were planning to build was less direct than the current highway I-5 so quite a bit longer. The politicians want it to go through the inland population centers like Palmdale, Bakersfield, and Fresno, which are well inland from the fastest route through to the empty west side of the Central Valley. Going from LA thru Palmdale to Fresno to San Francisco is about 453 miles by car, not the 382 by taking the direct route. But nobody lives along the direct route.

    An issue with a bullet train is starting and stopping it. Do you stop in Bakersfield and Fresno or roar through at 220 mph?

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  22. Anon[257] • Disclaimer says:
    @Peripatetic commenter
    What price are they going to charge?

    Is it $50 per person one way, or $83, or $105?

    http://www.latimes.com/local/politics/la-me-adv-bullet-fares-20150510-story.html

    I am seeing that the min round-trip price for airfares is $230.

    So, for most people it just does not make much sense to use the train if it is going to take 2h and 40 minutes or more each way.

    It probably would be faster to take a 2 hour 40 minute train than fly considering the waste of time standing in security lines and walking a mile or so in LAX and SFO.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Anon
    You"re assuming a zero sum, fixed pie situation. The market may well expand, considerably. People could go on trips they wouldn't have previously. It could become more of a thing to spend a couple of days in San Francisco and then rent a car for the wine country or Yosemite if you don't have I-5 or air travel in the mix. You could see more commuters, living in one city, working in the other (or in Fresno!), which exists now even with air travel. You cannot predict what will happen.

    I love riding the bullet train and mildly dislike riding on planes. Planes are especially distateful to me for short (by air standards) hops. I'm not afraid of flying (that much, maybe a teesy bit) and fly between the U.S. and Japan regularly, and I realize intellectually that trains do crash from time to time. But there are a lot of small but incremental things about bullet trains that make them nicer. The seats are a skosh bigger, and you upgrade for much less than an air business or first class seat. The toilets are less claustrophobic. The noise is a bit less. The view is a toss up, depending on your tastes and interests, but I like trains better here.

    Japan is a natural experiment, because you can now go almost anywhere by either plane or bullet train, and the prices are not so different. I don't know the data, but the trains are doing very well and are usually filled. You don't continue to add line after line to a mode of transportation that isn't working.

    Japan is not California, so I realize that the comparison may not completely apply.

    - Los Angeles to San Francisco: Is SF still a tourist attraction? It's been getting bad PR lately. Las Vegas may have been a better first line. Or maybe not, since it's attractions are more one dimensional.

    - Location of terminals within the cities: In Japan it's not as important, since you have a network of subways, trains, and really, really nice buses and taxis to take you to the terminal. Tokyo has two bullet train terminals, one at Tokyo Station and one at Yokohama station. Getting to either of these on normal trains is easy. You can also send your luggage ahead the day before via an inexpensive courrier or by dropping it off at the convenience store.

    - Security: There is no search or X-ray or the like for Japanese bullet trains. The degree to which this will degrade the experience in California I don't know. This could conceivably change even in Japan. The Disney parks now have a simple bag search, which they didn't have before. Subway stations lost most of their trash containers post Sarin attack. And we have the Olympics coming up.

    Speaking of which, I mentioned the Olympics before. I think that the same type of smart, economically savvy person who bitches about the Olympics coming to his city is the same sort who is anti bullet train. There is just a dimension to it that such a person cannot understand. I've lived in two Olympic cities during the Olympics, Los Angeles and Nagano, and will live in Tokyo during theirs. The few weeks of my life living in an Olympic city remain some of the most vivid memories of my life, even as memories fade as I age. The experts are wrong when judging things like this. I still chuckle over empty L.A. freeways in 1984, when all the "smart" people went on vacation to avoid traffic jams. The California bullet train probably needs, and hasn't found, its Peter Ueberroth.
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  23. Barnard says:
    @Peripatetic commenter
    What price are they going to charge?

    Is it $50 per person one way, or $83, or $105?

    http://www.latimes.com/local/politics/la-me-adv-bullet-fares-20150510-story.html

    I am seeing that the min round-trip price for airfares is $230.

    So, for most people it just does not make much sense to use the train if it is going to take 2h and 40 minutes or more each way.

    When visiting relatives in California in 2008 I asked them what the tickets were expected to cost and they thought similar to plane tickets. My question then was other than people who are afraid to fly, why would anyone ride this train? They didn’t have a good answer. It never made sense to me why anyone thought this would work.

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    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    A train is great if you work in a downtown office building and have an appointment in another city's downtown, so all you have to do is take a cab or just walk to the train station a few blocks away and repeat the process at the other end. (This assumes that the trains go all the way downtown.)

    In contrast, LAX is 19 miles from City Hall in downtown LA.

    O'Hare is 18 miles from Chicago City Hall.

    JFK is 19 miles from City Hall in lower Manhattan.

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  24. @Joe Schmoe
    Who do they think is going to ride this thing?

    Denver voted for massive expansion of mass transit rail and busses and then per capita ridership went down.

    https://www.citylab.com/transportation/2017/11/denver-public-transit-growing-pains/544472/

    Some sociologist should do an in depth study of mass transit riders and compare them with non riders and find out for real why people are not willing to ride it even though they are willing to pay for it.

    Because when you agree to pay for it, you imagine a glorious, futurist system without non-Asian minorities and prole whites.

    When you have to use it, you remember why private cars are preferable to public transportation.

    Why do hipsters love streetcars? A streetcar is just a subway without black people.

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  25. Tyrion 2 says: • Website

    This is a problem innate to referenda. Without continual revotes it is very hard to keep those enacting it honest, mostly because it is difficult to judge as to what actually counts as following the electoral will. The best solution is decent government that is close to the people. The problem in hyperdiverse California is: which people?

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  26. @Flip
    It doesn't sound like buying those bonds would be a good idea.

    CALPERS will probably buy the entire bond issue for its pension fund. That was probably a key element of the finance plan for this boondogle.

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    • LOL: Bill
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  27. Anon[257] • Disclaimer says:
    @Alfa158
    At the time of the initiative there were critics contending that there was never any intent to actually build a train system that couldn’t even work because of the elevation changes, right of way route battles, and lack of demand. (The Japanese and French systems don't have to climb and descend 4000 foot mountains). The critics said it was just a means to subsidize the deficits in the transit systems in Los Angeles and The Bay Area. The idea was that the project would begin by “preparing” the infrastructure at each end which meant siphoning money off into covering the deficits. It would also be a way to payoff Democrat political supporters with grants for environmental studies, engineering reports, public relations programs etc. They must have burned through that first $33B faster than expected.
    BTW, I ran some numbers and wish to go on record that I want the budget to increase to $102.5B. The reason I picked that number is that if we assume the train route is 348 miles long, then based on the fact that a $20 bill is .0043 inches thick, that is the sum you would get if you stacked $2o bills the entire length of the route.

    You’re absolutely right that the whole thing is just a pay off for Democrat donors and affirmative action contractors to get lucrative contracts.

    The distance is more like 400 miles at least as the tracks won’t go directly. They’ll first go maybe 75 miles east and then back west to the coast
    I drive LA to SF several times a year. I don’t take the 405 because it’s about 75 miles east of the ocean. Time saved going 95 mph just adds 2 more hours going back west to the ocean.

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    • Replies: @Alfa158
    Dang, 400 miles? That means I’ll have to bump my dream budget up to over $117B. I must have been figuring the train will take a more direct route than the one I follow when I drive between the cities.
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  28. Blackdawg says:
    @Joe Schmoe
    Who do they think is going to ride this thing?

    Denver voted for massive expansion of mass transit rail and busses and then per capita ridership went down.

    https://www.citylab.com/transportation/2017/11/denver-public-transit-growing-pains/544472/

    Some sociologist should do an in depth study of mass transit riders and compare them with non riders and find out for real why people are not willing to ride it even though they are willing to pay for it.

    A realistic feasibility study is the last thing Jerry Brown wants. My guess is that this boondoggle was created and sold to the gullible public for the main purpose of feathering the nest of Diane Feinstein, who’s billionaire husband/Richard Blum is the primary contractor for the bullet train for money laundering purposes. https://calwatchdog.com/2013/04/26/se-diane-feinsteins-husband-wins-ca-rail-contract/

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  29. Anon[368] • Disclaimer says:

    So what?

    Complaining about this is like complaining that the Olympics will go overbudget. Of course the Olympics will go overbudget. Who cares?

    I live in Japan, and it’s hard to explain how great it is to have an efficient, modern rail system. How did California get so far behind? Didn’t Tom Bradley promise a subway system way back? It’s this anal retentive bean counting that keeps delaying projects like this. The benefits of a rail system are transformational, and don’t show up in budget projections.

    Lately there has been a new, rebranded form of bean counting: Elon Muskesque “Rail is passe. Just wait for the real-soon-now next gen transportation system. Tubes. Self-driving pods. Flying cars. Rockets. And by the way, we’re going to Mars, so who cares about Earth!”

    And yes, people will die. People die in rail accidents in Japan on a regular basis (although weirdly, not yet in a bullet train accident). Death is part of the deal. People die in car accidents. That’s the way life as a “mortal” works. So what.

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    • Replies: @dfordoom

    I live in Japan, and it’s hard to explain how great it is to have an efficient, modern rail system.
     
    Mass transit is ghastly but it's probably fairly OK if you live in a homogeneous low-crime society.

    Trains were a wonderfully civilised means of transport once upon a time. That time has long gone.
    , @Achmed E. Newman
    Japan has 140-odd million people in an area just smaller than that of California (yes, I lost a bet on that - thought it was just a bit bigger). It has loads of big cities in which loads of people work, downtown, that is, per Steve's important point. You could tell me better, # 368, but I'd imagine there are plenty of less than 250 mile (400 km) runs between major cities that are perfect for trains.

    Here's something I haven't seen mentioned. The~ 400 mile distance on this route is first of all shorter in an airplane, as it will go in as straight a path that air traffic will allow. Navigation is no factor, and terrain is no factor, except at the ends. Once you get toward 25o miles (no, I didn't do the fairly easy estimate to get a number like this yet), you get to where the air travel TSA-BS time, and the approach and taxi time at both ends, start to be a major portion of the block time. Train service from downtown to downtown (without possible TSA involvement) skips all of that, and even a 125 mph train can beat the all-included air travel time - especially, if one does live in the inner city.


    The benefits of a rail system are transformational, and don’t show up in budget projections.
     
    Balderdash! What are gonna be the benefits of this rail "system"? "System" is in quotes because one long line doesn't make a rail system. It's just a different country than Japan, and air travel and decent-speed (when the Interstate really avoids the city, like it was designed to) car travel work the best for here. You Japanese do what you do, and more power to ya.
    , @Mr. Anon

    I live in Japan, and it’s hard to explain how great it is to have an efficient, modern rail system.
     
    Yes, it is indeed great. Japan was able to build it and maintain it because they are Japan.

    Just as California will not be able to do likewise because they are California.
    , @Sandmich
    How did California get so far behind?
    ---
    I can think of a couple million reasons...
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  30. Anyone who’s driven the sprawling 4,160-foot-high Tejon Pass, AKA the Grapevine, knew this project was bullcrap from the get-go.

    Man will never set foot on Mars and there will be no high-speed train connecting LA and Gomorrah by the Sea. Bank.

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  31. Anon[395] • Disclaimer says:
    @Farenheit
    Let’s see, an aluminum tube full of a couple hundred people, going a third the speed of a jet liner, across the landscape. Tough to think of a juicier or easiler target for terrorist.

    There was an attack on a TGV some years ago, but the attacker was on the train, there was no attempt to derail it.

    I’m guessing an attack is hard due to 150 years defense against train robbers dating from the Old West to today. The high speed rail is also “grade seperated” so you can’t crash into it with a Truck a la Breaking Bad. There were also attacks on the trains (subways) during the 2000s, and they didn’t seem to cause the propaganda effects desired.

    Also worth recalling that the European secruity state is more invasive than the US, there is no Fourth Amendment to worry about. And several countries have “states of emergency” where one can be detained without trial. Any major attack that happend probably was known about by the state in advance, the Belgian attacks certainly were. Its the “lone nuts” that are harder to stop.

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  32. What California needs is a high-speed line from Los Angeles to Tijuana.

    Southbound only. The northbound track would use handcars.

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    • Replies: @El Dato
    That's for AFTER the Zombie Apocalypse.
    , @interesting
    LA to vegas would make sense........ever been on the 15 frwy on a Monday or Sunday coming home from Vegas? It can be a 9 hour drive.......
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  33. There are a bunch of reasons this will not work:

    1. Airline speeds have not increased in 60 years, in fact they’ve slowed down due to air traffic congestion, airline management concerns over fuel consumption, etc. etc. Passenger trains speeds are slower than they were in the 1940s for crissakes.

    2. Due to federal safety regulations, trains in the USA are much heavier than they are in Japan, China, and Europe. The idea is that the cars have to be able to pass an “end crush” test for the safety of the occupants. Anyone remember the 2008 Chatsworth Metrolink crash?

    3. Those heavier cars means it takes longer to accelerate to track speed, and longer to slow down. A typical passenger car weighs in the neighborhood of 80 tons, plus the locomotive comes in at around 120 tons. A 6 car train takes nearly a mile to slow to a stop from 70 MPH. A 2:40 schedule is just not realistic, unless they plan to get a waiver for the safety standards.

    4. Along similar lines, to reach a 240 MPH speed in less than 4 minutes, the train will have to have airliner-like acceleration, which will require passenger restraints i.e. seat belts. For anyone who takes the train regularly, one of the reasons you do it is so you can move around and don’t have the feeling of being stuck in your seat from the start of your trip to finish.

    5. Even if the train does reach 240 MPH, the scenery will be going by so fast that for some it will be disorienting, even vomit inducing. Ugh.

    6. And the only way to create a straight enough right-of-way would be to tunnel under the Tejon Pass, a highly seismically active area crossed by the San Andreas Fault. To build a system of tunnels capable of withstanding a magnitude 8.0 earthquake would probably render the project economically unfeasible by itself.

    And last but not least, no method of taking people from one place to another pays its own way, period. Airlines, buses, ferries, even cruise ship lines all use facilities paid for by the taxpayers. Amtrak was created nearly 50 years ago specifically because private capital could not compete against other forms of transportation that were at least partially subsidized. Why would HSR be different, if not worse?

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  34. @Farenheit
    Let’s see, an aluminum tube full of a couple hundred people, going a third the speed of a jet liner, across the landscape. Tough to think of a juicier or easiler target for terrorist.

    Let’s see, an aluminum tube full of a couple hundred people, going a third the speed of a jet liner, across the landscape. Tough to think of a juicier or easiler target for terrorist.

    I once asked an Amtrak agent about security. He said, why bother? You could just go ten miles out of town and plant a bomb.

    That Amtrak has never been seriously threatened with terrorism shows just how low in esteem its brand is held.

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  35. densa says:

    March 12,2008

    Mr. Morshed noted that high-speed trains are attractive to private investors because California’s proposed system will bring a $1 billion annual profit or surplus, once built. He stated that the proposed financing model prepared by Lehman Brothers for the planning, design and construction of the system has three tiers: state and local funding, federal funding and “P3”- public-private partnerships. . . .

    The Authority’s finance team anticipates that the commitment of state and federal dollars will attract private sector funding. The Authority’s finance team anticipates public-private partnership opportunities will include project debt financing, vendor financing, system operations and private ownership.

    https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20080312006330/en/High-Speed-Rail-Executive-Director-Promotes-Public-Private-Partnerships

    Medhi Morshed announced his retirement after working ceaselessly to birth this baby. Well, he is 72, but I suspect private opportunities await him. Lehman Bros.! Priceless. $1 billion annual profit, ha, ha, ha. The fleecings will continue until morale improves.

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    • Replies: @Fred Boynton
    Hey, if you can't trust someone with a name like Mehdi Morshed, who can you trust?
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  36. Anonymous[276] • Disclaimer says:

    Steve, what are your thoughts on the Hyperloop idea? It’s supposed to be a lot cheaper and a lot faster – 30 minutes from downtown LA to downtown SF – than the high speed train.

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    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    I try not to opine too much about advanced physics/engineering questions that I'm clueless about.

    Presumably it would have similar issues of right aways and need for extremely gentle curves that HSR would have. But what do I know?

    , @Mr. Anon

    Steve, what are your thoughts on the Hyperloop idea? It’s supposed to be a lot cheaper and a lot faster – 30 minutes from downtown LA to downtown SF – than the high speed train.
     
    The notion that it would be cheaper is, I think, laughable. Building a 6-9 ft. diameter vacuum chamber that's at least 350 miles long doesn't sound very cheap.
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  37. Anonymous[413] • Disclaimer says:
    @William Badwhite
    Generally agreed, but this ridiculous train doesn't go into the "nice things" box. It was a terrible idea from the start. It was just another fantasy of the loons that run CA and their obsession with 19th century technology - trains, windmills, etc. I'm surprised they haven't mandated the use of leeches in medicine.

    The Badwhites were in the process of moving out of CA and managed to vote against this stupid train on the way out.

    I had numerous conversations with people in the runup to this vote and the liberal’s inability or refusal to process basic facts was aggravating.

    WB: "There are approximately a billion flights/day between San Fran and LA, why would we build a train?”
    Liberal: "trains are better for the environment, plus it’ll work. They have the Acela on the east coast. I've taken it from New York to Washington".
    WB: "NY to Washington is a bit over 220 miles. Its 400+ miles to LA. And the tracks and right-of-ways on the east coast have been there for 150 years. Plus they don't have mountains to contend with. They have lots of bays and rivers, but the bridges are already there".
    Liberal: "Yeah but..."
    WB: "To get from San Fran to LA in 2 hours and 40 minutes requires an AVERAGE of 149mph, which includes the time chugging in and out of the stations, so enroute speeds will have to be significantly higher. The super-expensive peninsula is developed all the way past San Jose and there's no way trains are gonna whistling thru Burlingame, San Mateo, San Carlos, Palo Alto, etc at 180 mph. Caltrain can't go a month without running over a bum and they're going less than 1/3 that speed…this train would kill bums, kids, Stanford students, people’s pets…”
    Liberal; "Yeah but trains are good..."
    WB: "And its going to lose money hand over fist. No rapid transit anywhere in the world operates at a profit when capex and maintenance are factored in. Only a few even cover their operating costs - New York, Tokyo, London. Who's going to pay for all this"?
    Liberal: "Yeah but muh train..."
    WB: “and Union Pacific owns the tracks. They’re not going to put freight trains on sidings so the magic choo-choo with 17 people on it can go whistling through…”
    Liberal: “yeah but muh train…I’m voting yes. I’m good for the environment”

    What is existing train travel like between SF and LA or vice versus? Decent way to make the trip?

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    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    The freight companies own the tracks so Amtrak passenger trains get shunted aside to let freight through. So you can't rely on Amtrak to get you anywhere on time.

    On the other hand, the train track is often laid out right next to the ocean from San Diego to San Luis Obispo, so the view is nice. From the train, can go thru areas you can't go by highway, like Vandenberg AFB. They should have a train that takes tourists to see night launches of space rockets at Vandenberg, pulling over on a siding a couple of miles away.

    , @Autochthon
    What Mr. Sailer wrote, but more. Rail service doesn't actually go from L.A. to San José (nevermind San Francisco; you can of course ride the CalTrain between San José and San Francisco every hour or so, but that's a local line for commuting...). Amtrak will plonk you in a bus to travel between San José to San Luis Obispo. Why? Drive the Pacific Coast Highway in that area: there's barely room for the road, nevermind rail. Probably lots of rich, NIMBY opposition to rail in that area too (in the name of the environment, naturally): Big Sur ain't affordably furthering fair railways; that's for the Central Valley where the peasants are....
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  38. The idea of splitting California into multiple states is nutty, but it would have one positive outcome if it put an end to this “high-speed” rail project. With SF and LA in different states, no one would think of connecting them by rail. It would be like connecting SF to Portland or LA to Las Vegas: a wacky idea with little point to it.

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    • Replies: @Space Ghost
    > SF to Portland

    The Amtrak Coast Starlight train does this already. If you like trains and have a ton of time it's a great route to ride. Stick to the Northbound route; the southbound is often delayed by freight trains.

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  39. El Dato says:
    @Reg Cæsar
    What California needs is a high-speed line from Los Angeles to Tijuana.

    Southbound only. The northbound track would use handcars.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LJ3LscuMRV0

    That’s for AFTER the Zombie Apocalypse.

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  40. MG says:

    You mean we can’t build a train traveling at warp speed even after importing all these Indian H-1B tech geniuses?

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    • Replies: @Reg Cæsar

    You mean we can’t build a train traveling at warp speed even after importing all these Indian H-1B tech geniuses?
     
    If you want "warped", you can't do better than India.

    http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_a2Ac_i7cQNk/S7lzMpoxa8I/AAAAAAAAWJA/8l-OdzlJKfM/s1600/india_18.jpg

    https://d23xcmtliku0ki.cloudfront.net/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/04024545/sadhu.jpg

    https://www.fz09.org/forum/attachments/3448d1395186398-awesome-crazy-funny-stupid-picture-video-thread-158957.jpg

    https://www.couponraja.in/theroyale/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/strange-and-bizarre-indian-festivals--631x480.jpg

    http://viajarnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/cosas-curiosas-extranas-india-7.jpg
    , @Reg Cæsar
    Oh, and did I mention Indian education?

    https://oddee.com/wp-content/uploads/_media/imgs/articles/a243_i1.jpg
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  41. @Reg Cæsar
    What California needs is a high-speed line from Los Angeles to Tijuana.

    Southbound only. The northbound track would use handcars.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LJ3LscuMRV0

    LA to vegas would make sense……..ever been on the 15 frwy on a Monday or Sunday coming home from Vegas? It can be a 9 hour drive…….

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    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    LA to vegas would make sense

    Right. A train works well when it runs all the way to downtown and there's only one downtown. But the Bay Area has a whole lot of destinations: San Jose, various points in Silicon Valley, San Francisco, Oakland. Los Angeles, too, is huge.

    In Las Vegas there's really only one place to go, The Strip, and they can build a big terminal at the far end of that trolley they've got running along The Strip.

    , @MikeatMikedotMike
    Or they could just widen the interstate.
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  42. I’d be in favor of a high-speed one-way train from anyplace in California, to Tijuana.

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  43. Pontius says:

    220mph + 7.0 Richter scale earthquake = interesting times.

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  44. El Dato says:

    The main proponent of mandating the trip times was Mehdi Morshed, the longtime chief executive of the rail authority who believes rail speeds would be endlessly compromised were they not backed up by law.

    I don’t understand this phrase. What does it mean to “compromise rail speeds”?

    Also, the infrastructure and skillset to run & high-speed rail service is amazing. As usual, you may get the greenbucks aligned but they won’t have “traction” as you can’t get either people, materials, skills or even basic how-to knowledge for a long, long time. France has been running TGV since the 80s, and they have hit numerous problems in physics, in particular, how to get enough electric power (Watt) through the little surface where the electric power pickup hits the catenary to even run the train without anything melting immediately. Now, if you want to go all Sonic, the power increases faster than linearly as a function of speed, AFAIK. That’s a problem.

    Anyway’ what’s the target here? 2030? 2040?

    Looks like the “Light speed is un-american” magic tech belief hits again. At least the Chinese just copy.

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  45. @International Jew
    The idea of splitting California into multiple states is nutty, but it would have one positive outcome if it put an end to this "high-speed" rail project. With SF and LA in different states, no one would think of connecting them by rail. It would be like connecting SF to Portland or LA to Las Vegas: a wacky idea with little point to it.

    > SF to Portland

    The Amtrak Coast Starlight train does this already. If you like trains and have a ton of time it’s a great route to ride. Stick to the Northbound route; the southbound is often delayed by freight trains.

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  46. @MG
    You mean we can’t build a train traveling at warp speed even after importing all these Indian H-1B tech geniuses?

    You mean we can’t build a train traveling at warp speed even after importing all these Indian H-1B tech geniuses?

    If you want “warped”, you can’t do better than India.

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  47. @MG
    You mean we can’t build a train traveling at warp speed even after importing all these Indian H-1B tech geniuses?

    Oh, and did I mention Indian education?

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  48. Anonymous[276] • Disclaimer says:

    They’re trying to get high speed rail in Ohio. They want to build the Cleveland Steamer and Cincinnati Bowtie Express lines to connect Cleveland and Cincinnati with future expansions to Chicago and Detroit.

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    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    Trains work best for downtown to downtown connections. Chicago's downtown is huge and prosperous, but what other cities in the Midwest have a lot of downtown office workers? Minneapolis?
    , @OFWHAP
    This is the best comment I've seen anywhere on the World Wide Web in awhile. Bravo, sir!
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  49. @interesting
    LA to vegas would make sense........ever been on the 15 frwy on a Monday or Sunday coming home from Vegas? It can be a 9 hour drive.......

    LA to vegas would make sense

    Right. A train works well when it runs all the way to downtown and there’s only one downtown. But the Bay Area has a whole lot of destinations: San Jose, various points in Silicon Valley, San Francisco, Oakland. Los Angeles, too, is huge.

    In Las Vegas there’s really only one place to go, The Strip, and they can build a big terminal at the far end of that trolley they’ve got running along The Strip.

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    • Agree: Autochthon
    • Replies: @Anon
    I wonder how a bullet train would work in the desert. The tracks are inspected at a rate much higher than for normal trains, and during last week's heat wave in Japan the track maintenance guys were really busy, according to TV news reports. Apparently the heat changes the rails, and they showed workers with guage calipers and crow bars adjusting the tracks.
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  50. @Anonymous
    What is existing train travel like between SF and LA or vice versus? Decent way to make the trip?

    The freight companies own the tracks so Amtrak passenger trains get shunted aside to let freight through. So you can’t rely on Amtrak to get you anywhere on time.

    On the other hand, the train track is often laid out right next to the ocean from San Diego to San Luis Obispo, so the view is nice. From the train, can go thru areas you can’t go by highway, like Vandenberg AFB. They should have a train that takes tourists to see night launches of space rockets at Vandenberg, pulling over on a siding a couple of miles away.

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    • Replies: @Corn
    I can’t speak for a hypothetical high speed rail line but currently Amtrak’s train to SF doesn’t even go all the way to SF. Some womenfolk in my family took the train to SF three years ago. They had to disembark in a smaller city (Fuller? Fullerton?) and were bussed in to SF proper (which was a minor adventure in itself).
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  51. @Anonymous
    Steve, what are your thoughts on the Hyperloop idea? It's supposed to be a lot cheaper and a lot faster - 30 minutes from downtown LA to downtown SF - than the high speed train.

    I try not to opine too much about advanced physics/engineering questions that I’m clueless about.

    Presumably it would have similar issues of right aways and need for extremely gentle curves that HSR would have. But what do I know?

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  52. Anonymous[276] • Disclaimer says:

    LA To San Francisco In 36 Minutes? A Look At The Technology Behind The Hyperloop

    Read More
    • Replies: @Autochthon
    Tee hee. Megan Kelly Today. Didn't this programme used to be called The Today Show or at least just Today?

    Just like all ballparks, stadia, and arenas have been renamed with tacky commercial sponsors (who often change every five or ten years, just to keep things extra confounding and annoying), so, too, all television programmes seem more and more to be about (and bear the name of) some cult of personality or schlocky celebrity, rather than a substantive premise.
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  53. istevefan says:

    Shouldn’t there be legal sanctions against people who use the initiative system for bait-and-switch purposes?

    I don’t know about the initiative system, but what about the plain, old federal government giving us promises that turn out to be worthless? Let’s recall one of the most famous statements that was supposed to assuage Americans into accepting a law way back in ’65.

    “First, our cities will not be flooded with a million immigrants annually. Under the proposed bill, the present level of immigration remains substantially the same…. Secondly, the ethnic mix of this country will not be upset…. Contrary to the charges in some quarters, [the bill] will not inundate America with immigrants from any one country or area, or the most populated and deprived nations of Africa and Asia…. In the final analysis, the ethnic pattern of immigration under the proposed measure is not expected to change as sharply as the critics seem to think…. It will not cause American workers to lose their jobs.”

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    • Agree: densa
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  54. Dtbb says:
    @William Badwhite
    Generally agreed, but this ridiculous train doesn't go into the "nice things" box. It was a terrible idea from the start. It was just another fantasy of the loons that run CA and their obsession with 19th century technology - trains, windmills, etc. I'm surprised they haven't mandated the use of leeches in medicine.

    The Badwhites were in the process of moving out of CA and managed to vote against this stupid train on the way out.

    I had numerous conversations with people in the runup to this vote and the liberal’s inability or refusal to process basic facts was aggravating.

    WB: "There are approximately a billion flights/day between San Fran and LA, why would we build a train?”
    Liberal: "trains are better for the environment, plus it’ll work. They have the Acela on the east coast. I've taken it from New York to Washington".
    WB: "NY to Washington is a bit over 220 miles. Its 400+ miles to LA. And the tracks and right-of-ways on the east coast have been there for 150 years. Plus they don't have mountains to contend with. They have lots of bays and rivers, but the bridges are already there".
    Liberal: "Yeah but..."
    WB: "To get from San Fran to LA in 2 hours and 40 minutes requires an AVERAGE of 149mph, which includes the time chugging in and out of the stations, so enroute speeds will have to be significantly higher. The super-expensive peninsula is developed all the way past San Jose and there's no way trains are gonna whistling thru Burlingame, San Mateo, San Carlos, Palo Alto, etc at 180 mph. Caltrain can't go a month without running over a bum and they're going less than 1/3 that speed…this train would kill bums, kids, Stanford students, people’s pets…”
    Liberal; "Yeah but trains are good..."
    WB: "And its going to lose money hand over fist. No rapid transit anywhere in the world operates at a profit when capex and maintenance are factored in. Only a few even cover their operating costs - New York, Tokyo, London. Who's going to pay for all this"?
    Liberal: "Yeah but muh train..."
    WB: “and Union Pacific owns the tracks. They’re not going to put freight trains on sidings so the magic choo-choo with 17 people on it can go whistling through…”
    Liberal: “yeah but muh train…I’m voting yes. I’m good for the environment”

    Thank god for gov. Rick Scott. First thing he did after elected was kill florida’s high speed rail.

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    • Replies: @William Badwhite
    Ha ha, the Badwhites moved to FL from CA. It was like stupid train ideas were following us.

    IIRC, the Soetero administration was going to dole out cash to states to build their own high-speed rail, but the states would then be on the hook for the operating expenses. Florida's was going to be Tampa to Orlando, which you can drive in under an hour and a half. So great, the train might get you to either place a tad earlier. But now you're in a city with no mass transit so you still need a car, so now need to take a cab to the rental car place. They'd be lucky to get 10 people/day on that train.

    Great move by Scott to reject it.
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  55. @Anonymous
    They're trying to get high speed rail in Ohio. They want to build the Cleveland Steamer and Cincinnati Bowtie Express lines to connect Cleveland and Cincinnati with future expansions to Chicago and Detroit.

    Trains work best for downtown to downtown connections. Chicago’s downtown is huge and prosperous, but what other cities in the Midwest have a lot of downtown office workers? Minneapolis?

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    • Replies: @Ganderson
    Lots of folks work downtown Minneapolis, but St. Paul’s downtown is way more happening than when I was a nipper. And the train to Chicago leaves from the old Union Depot in lower downtown St. Paul. That said it takes about 10 hours to get to Chicago- you can drive in 5 1/2 or fly in an hour. In my younger days four of us would take the train to the Windy City and play pinochle on the train. The train ride was the point, not really transportation.
    , @Fred Boynton
    Minneapolis, not so much. It did at one time, but the influx of POCs into Minneapolis plus the usual political b.s. have most large companies out in the suburbs now. There is a Light-Rail that runs from the airport in the southern suburbs into downtown Mpls but that's mostly to make the downtown hotels, restaurants and strip clubs/prostitutes more accessible; you still have to leave Mpls to get to your business destination.
    , @Polynikes
    Minneapolis. Indianapolis has quite a few plus a pretty busy convention scene. The connecting Highway, 65, is always busy . Maybe Milwaukee or Madison. Those latter two already have bus services though.
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  56. g2k says:
    @Western
    They would probably require a security check like at airports. The Eurostar requires it, so that would mean total travel time would go up.

    I don't mind trains at all, but this doesn't seem to be a good place to put a high-speed train.

    The Eurostar does have an airport style security check, and passport control if going to/from the UK, but it’s very quick and there’s no check in, so, in theory you could turn up five minutes before departure. They also don’t bother to crosscheck the names on the ticket with ID, so if you buy a discounted ticket with no cancelation, you can sell it on if you need to or buy sold out tickets.

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  57. @Barnard
    When visiting relatives in California in 2008 I asked them what the tickets were expected to cost and they thought similar to plane tickets. My question then was other than people who are afraid to fly, why would anyone ride this train? They didn't have a good answer. It never made sense to me why anyone thought this would work.

    A train is great if you work in a downtown office building and have an appointment in another city’s downtown, so all you have to do is take a cab or just walk to the train station a few blocks away and repeat the process at the other end. (This assumes that the trains go all the way downtown.)

    In contrast, LAX is 19 miles from City Hall in downtown LA.

    O’Hare is 18 miles from Chicago City Hall.

    JFK is 19 miles from City Hall in lower Manhattan.

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  58. Alfa158 says:
    @Anon
    You’re absolutely right that the whole thing is just a pay off for Democrat donors and affirmative action contractors to get lucrative contracts.

    The distance is more like 400 miles at least as the tracks won’t go directly. They’ll first go maybe 75 miles east and then back west to the coast
    I drive LA to SF several times a year. I don’t take the 405 because it’s about 75 miles east of the ocean. Time saved going 95 mph just adds 2 more hours going back west to the ocean.

    Dang, 400 miles? That means I’ll have to bump my dream budget up to over $117B. I must have been figuring the train will take a more direct route than the one I follow when I drive between the cities.

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  59. @utu
    SF-LA 382 miles, 2h 40min --> 144mph

    Starting with the Tōkaidō Shinkansen (615.4 km, 382.4 mi) in 1964,[3] the network has expanded to currently consist of 2,764.6 km (1,717.8 mi) of lines with maximum speeds of 240–320 km/h (150–200 mph)

    As of 14 March 2015, after a speed increase to 285 km/h (177 mph), the fastest Nozomi service now takes 2 hours 22 minutes from Tokyo to Shin-Osaka.
     
    Tokyo to Shin-Osaka is exactly 382 miles as from SF to LA.

    Paris-Marselle is 410.67mile. Time of travel 3h 17min --> Avg speed 125mph

    What do they lie in LA Times?

    Last I checked, the rail route they were planning to build was less direct than the current highway I-5 so quite a bit longer. The politicians want it to go through the inland population centers like Palmdale, Bakersfield, and Fresno, which are well inland from the fastest route through to the empty west side of the Central Valley. Going from LA thru Palmdale to Fresno to San Francisco is about 453 miles by car, not the 382 by taking the direct route. But nobody lives along the direct route.

    An issue with a bullet train is starting and stopping it. Do you stop in Bakersfield and Fresno or roar through at 220 mph?

    Read More
    • Replies: @Anon
    The best approach for Fresno and Bakersfield would be to have moving sidewalk style boarding platforms that accelerate and decelerate. To deboard you'd step out onto a platform moving 220 mph, which would decelerate and stop by the time it reached your destination.

    Another option could be Niagara Falls style barrels into which you and your luggage would be strapped, all cushioned. These would be jettisoned as the 220 mph train passed. Elton Musk could prototype it.
    , @Escher

    An issue with a bullet train is starting and stopping it. Do you stop in Bakersfield and Fresno or roar through at 220 mph?
     
    They'll probably have non-stop trains and those that stop at stations along the way.
    , @stillCARealist
    Personally, I never stop in Bakersfield or Fresno. I'm not sure anyone else does either.

    The real problem is the same as the airplanes: You still need a car at either end of the trip. I'd rather see a big, fast, moving car ferry of some sort. Let me park my car on a flat-something and be whisked at 200 mph to LA, or wherever, and then let off. I'd pay handsomely for that.

    Let me add that when this originally passed, I and everybody I knew voted against it. We all knew it was a boondoggle. who voted for it?
    , @utu

    164 mph, vs. 145 mph for the Japanese one and 119 for the French one….
     
    But 164mph is doable. You do not like trains, write that you do not like trains.
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  60. @Anon
    Steve, do you know if the train actually goes to San Francisco or stops in Oakland forcing passengers to take a bus to San Francisco’s? Or even worse, an Oakland bus to the Bart Station and Bart to San Francisco?

    It sounds like they are planning to go thru Palmdale, Fresno, and San Jose. That’s 465 miles by highway today, about 83 miles longer than Highway 5 through the empty west side of the Central Valley:

    https://www.buildhsr.com/maps/corridoralignment/

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  61. @Anon
    If instead of this California DOT had decided to paint "Bus Only" on a freeway lane in each direction they could have saved roughly $80 billion. You could also drop people off at a BART station if you want to avoid bay bridge traffic.

    By the way, how many Nuclear Power Plants, Priuses, and Wind Farms could you get for $80 billion. Are we even sure that trains running on electricity make up for the carbon emissions from the construction?

    Interstate 5 has 206 miles in central California where the median is big enough to accommodate building 4 more lanes. Perhaps it would make more sense to have buses that could go 100 mph on special bus only lanes for roughly half of the 382 mile trip instead of a train that could theoretically go 220 mph on a 465 mile route.

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    • Replies: @Anon
    The best compromise would be buses going 220 mph in special lanes.
    , @snorlax
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4417N3qvnyk
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  62. Anon[394] • Disclaimer says:
    @Steve Sailer
    Interstate 5 has 206 miles in central California where the median is big enough to accommodate building 4 more lanes. Perhaps it would make more sense to have buses that could go 100 mph on special bus only lanes for roughly half of the 382 mile trip instead of a train that could theoretically go 220 mph on a 465 mile route.

    The best compromise would be buses going 220 mph in special lanes.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Inquiring Mind
    High-speed buses? The Onion had already covered that plan

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QNixDlRoMvA
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  63. Anon[394] • Disclaimer says:
    @Steve Sailer
    Last I checked, the rail route they were planning to build was less direct than the current highway I-5 so quite a bit longer. The politicians want it to go through the inland population centers like Palmdale, Bakersfield, and Fresno, which are well inland from the fastest route through to the empty west side of the Central Valley. Going from LA thru Palmdale to Fresno to San Francisco is about 453 miles by car, not the 382 by taking the direct route. But nobody lives along the direct route.

    An issue with a bullet train is starting and stopping it. Do you stop in Bakersfield and Fresno or roar through at 220 mph?

    The best approach for Fresno and Bakersfield would be to have moving sidewalk style boarding platforms that accelerate and decelerate. To deboard you’d step out onto a platform moving 220 mph, which would decelerate and stop by the time it reached your destination.

    Another option could be Niagara Falls style barrels into which you and your luggage would be strapped, all cushioned. These would be jettisoned as the 220 mph train passed. Elton Musk could prototype it.

    Read More
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  64. Escher says:
    @Steve Sailer
    Last I checked, the rail route they were planning to build was less direct than the current highway I-5 so quite a bit longer. The politicians want it to go through the inland population centers like Palmdale, Bakersfield, and Fresno, which are well inland from the fastest route through to the empty west side of the Central Valley. Going from LA thru Palmdale to Fresno to San Francisco is about 453 miles by car, not the 382 by taking the direct route. But nobody lives along the direct route.

    An issue with a bullet train is starting and stopping it. Do you stop in Bakersfield and Fresno or roar through at 220 mph?

    An issue with a bullet train is starting and stopping it. Do you stop in Bakersfield and Fresno or roar through at 220 mph?

    They’ll probably have non-stop trains and those that stop at stations along the way.

    Read More
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  65. Ganderson says:
    @Buzz Mohawk
    It might be cheaper to just build an autobahn with no speed limits and issue a Mercedes-Benz S Class to every household. The accidents would be glorious; they might even replace your police chases for TV entertainment value. What is it with you people anyway?

    The trip up the length of California was best done in the valley lands fifty years ago in a TR3 with the top down. It took all day, but boy was it fun.

    Your state has been ruined. From here, it's like watching a train wreck. Ha ha, a train wreck.

    Buzz- your comment reminds me- when the Commonwealth of Massachusetts was debating whether or not to give the Patriots a new stadium, Howie Carr pointed out that it would be cheaper to buy every household in the Bay State a big screen TV and the NFL package for 20 years.

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  66. @interesting
    LA to vegas would make sense........ever been on the 15 frwy on a Monday or Sunday coming home from Vegas? It can be a 9 hour drive.......

    Or they could just widen the interstate.

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  67. Ganderson says:
    @Steve Sailer
    Trains work best for downtown to downtown connections. Chicago's downtown is huge and prosperous, but what other cities in the Midwest have a lot of downtown office workers? Minneapolis?

    Lots of folks work downtown Minneapolis, but St. Paul’s downtown is way more happening than when I was a nipper. And the train to Chicago leaves from the old Union Depot in lower downtown St. Paul. That said it takes about 10 hours to get to Chicago- you can drive in 5 1/2 or fly in an hour. In my younger days four of us would take the train to the Windy City and play pinochle on the train. The train ride was the point, not really transportation.

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  68. Enochian says:
    @Autochthon

    When a place gets crowded enough to require ID's, social collapse is not far away. It is time to go elsewhere. The best thing about space travel is that it made it possible to go elsewhere. – Robert Anselm Heinlein

     

    He was right then; he is more right than ever now (grumbling from the grave!).

    Sadly, no one is sorting out the space travel, because the resources are needed for tranny-Afro-Muhammadan conformity...or something....

    I hate to say this, but if space travel is ever cheap enough for you to be able flee overcrowding and over-governing, the crowds and the government will be able to follow you wherever you go. Heinlein’s independent pioneers will lose out to Asimov’s galaxy wide empire and its librarians, just as they are doing so on earth.

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    • Replies: @Autochthon
    Ok

    That's the Whole Point – the universe being infinite, there is literally always somewhere else to go; the bastards would doubtless keep chasing you, but they could never corner you – and likely enough they'd never kind you, at least not for several lifetimes, if you were careful about where you went.

    I despair of our ever achieving interstellar travel, though. I fear it is either insurmountably impossible, or, at any rate, we passed the point when we could have continued developing such technologies, and soon the overpopulation and focus of l energy into dopey shit like so-called social media and globo-homo agenda will mean lack of resources (physical and intellectual) to try even if we want to again. Once all the rare Earth metals are being used for "smartphones" and instead of studying astronomy Billy and Sally are compulsively masturbating and sending each other MeMojis about how superiour African culture is, the point of no return looms.

    , @Dave from Oz

    if space travel is ever cheap enough for you to be able flee overcrowding and over-governing, the crowds and the government will be able to follow you
     
    I never bitch about traffic, because if I'm in a position to bitch about it then I'm part of the problem.
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  69. @Anonymous
    LA To San Francisco In 36 Minutes? A Look At The Technology Behind The Hyperloop

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yLd7pXhIZQo

    Tee hee. Megan Kelly Today. Didn’t this programme used to be called The Today Show or at least just Today?

    Just like all ballparks, stadia, and arenas have been renamed with tacky commercial sponsors (who often change every five or ten years, just to keep things extra confounding and annoying), so, too, all television programmes seem more and more to be about (and bear the name of) some cult of personality or schlocky celebrity, rather than a substantive premise.

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  70. @Anonymous
    What is existing train travel like between SF and LA or vice versus? Decent way to make the trip?

    What Mr. Sailer wrote, but more. Rail service doesn’t actually go from L.A. to San José (nevermind San Francisco; you can of course ride the CalTrain between San José and San Francisco every hour or so, but that’s a local line for commuting…). Amtrak will plonk you in a bus to travel between San José to San Luis Obispo. Why? Drive the Pacific Coast Highway in that area: there’s barely room for the road, nevermind rail. Probably lots of rich, NIMBY opposition to rail in that area too (in the name of the environment, naturally): Big Sur ain’t affordably furthering fair railways; that’s for the Central Valley where the peasants are….

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  71. Corn says:
    @Steve Sailer
    The freight companies own the tracks so Amtrak passenger trains get shunted aside to let freight through. So you can't rely on Amtrak to get you anywhere on time.

    On the other hand, the train track is often laid out right next to the ocean from San Diego to San Luis Obispo, so the view is nice. From the train, can go thru areas you can't go by highway, like Vandenberg AFB. They should have a train that takes tourists to see night launches of space rockets at Vandenberg, pulling over on a siding a couple of miles away.

    I can’t speak for a hypothetical high speed rail line but currently Amtrak’s train to SF doesn’t even go all the way to SF. Some womenfolk in my family took the train to SF three years ago. They had to disembark in a smaller city (Fuller? Fullerton?) and were bussed in to SF proper (which was a minor adventure in itself).

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  72. @densa
    March 12,2008

    Mr. Morshed noted that high-speed trains are attractive to private investors because California’s proposed system will bring a $1 billion annual profit or surplus, once built. He stated that the proposed financing model prepared by Lehman Brothers for the planning, design and construction of the system has three tiers: state and local funding, federal funding and “P3”- public-private partnerships. . . .

    The Authority’s finance team anticipates that the commitment of state and federal dollars will attract private sector funding. The Authority’s finance team anticipates public-private partnership opportunities will include project debt financing, vendor financing, system operations and private ownership.

    https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20080312006330/en/High-Speed-Rail-Executive-Director-Promotes-Public-Private-Partnerships
     

    Medhi Morshed announced his retirement after working ceaselessly to birth this baby. Well, he is 72, but I suspect private opportunities await him. Lehman Bros.! Priceless. $1 billion annual profit, ha, ha, ha. The fleecings will continue until morale improves.

    Hey, if you can’t trust someone with a name like Mehdi Morshed, who can you trust?

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  73. @Steve Sailer
    Trains work best for downtown to downtown connections. Chicago's downtown is huge and prosperous, but what other cities in the Midwest have a lot of downtown office workers? Minneapolis?

    Minneapolis, not so much. It did at one time, but the influx of POCs into Minneapolis plus the usual political b.s. have most large companies out in the suburbs now. There is a Light-Rail that runs from the airport in the southern suburbs into downtown Mpls but that’s mostly to make the downtown hotels, restaurants and strip clubs/prostitutes more accessible; you still have to leave Mpls to get to your business destination.

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  74. dfordoom says: • Website
    @Anon
    So what?

    Complaining about this is like complaining that the Olympics will go overbudget. Of course the Olympics will go overbudget. Who cares?

    I live in Japan, and it's hard to explain how great it is to have an efficient, modern rail system. How did California get so far behind? Didn't Tom Bradley promise a subway system way back? It's this anal retentive bean counting that keeps delaying projects like this. The benefits of a rail system are transformational, and don't show up in budget projections.

    Lately there has been a new, rebranded form of bean counting: Elon Muskesque "Rail is passe. Just wait for the real-soon-now next gen transportation system. Tubes. Self-driving pods. Flying cars. Rockets. And by the way, we're going to Mars, so who cares about Earth!"

    And yes, people will die. People die in rail accidents in Japan on a regular basis (although weirdly, not yet in a bullet train accident). Death is part of the deal. People die in car accidents. That's the way life as a "mortal" works. So what.

    I live in Japan, and it’s hard to explain how great it is to have an efficient, modern rail system.

    Mass transit is ghastly but it’s probably fairly OK if you live in a homogeneous low-crime society.

    Trains were a wonderfully civilised means of transport once upon a time. That time has long gone.

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    • Replies: @Anon
    Bullet trains riders are wonderfully self selecting. It's not the subway. The ticket cost and reserved seating filters out the riff raff, and there're conductors, vendors, and other staff keeping an eye on things.

    But come to think of it, there was a fatal stabbing on a Japanese bullet train a few weeks ago, a mentally ill guy. I don't think they ever figured out what his deal was.

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  75. @Dtbb
    Thank god for gov. Rick Scott. First thing he did after elected was kill florida's high speed rail.

    Ha ha, the Badwhites moved to FL from CA. It was like stupid train ideas were following us.

    IIRC, the Soetero administration was going to dole out cash to states to build their own high-speed rail, but the states would then be on the hook for the operating expenses. Florida’s was going to be Tampa to Orlando, which you can drive in under an hour and a half. So great, the train might get you to either place a tad earlier. But now you’re in a city with no mass transit so you still need a car, so now need to take a cab to the rental car place. They’d be lucky to get 10 people/day on that train.

    Great move by Scott to reject it.

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  76. dr kill says:
    @Mr. Anon

    The notion that the NIMBYists of Silicon Valley were going to allow HSR to roar through Palo Alto at 220 mph was always delusional:
     
    San Franciscans wouldn't even permit completion of the Golden Gate Freeway, and that was in 1959.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/California_State_Route_480

    If they really want to spend a lot of money, why couldn’t they just build their super-train-track offshore a-ways? I can think of many legal and local obstacles this would overcome, but perhaps the engineering would be impossible. Full disclosure, I’m not an engineer or railroad planner.

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  77. I’ve read all the comments so far (and it’s my kind of post – very interesting). I have seen a number of references to Japanese trains, but nothing about China. I have not ridden one of the HS trains in China yet, but a family member has, with a decent report about it. These trains have cut travel times (already by train) down to 1/2 to 1/5 of some of the original runs.

    I understand the problems with terrain, buying land off people in a crowded state, and the very good comments here already. However, China has a very high population density (don’t count Tibet and Xijiang(?) out to the West, as they are insignificant pop-wise), AND talk aboutcher terrain. Big portions of China are like big W. Virginias, but, instead of rolling worn-down hills in the old Appalachians, these ones stick out of the ground with 60-deg slopes, and never end.

    I don’t argue for this HS rail in CA at all, BTW. My point here is just that, at this period in history, China is a CAN-DO country, and America is not anymore.

    Here’s a route map, but I’m not sure if some of it is projected routes. These trains do already go from lots of the biggest cities (tier 1) to others.

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  78. Here’s another general comment:

    I LIKE TRAINS!. I still have videos around that are named stuff like “I LIKE TRAINS”. Kids used to watch them. We have books on the old Streamliners, which (as Sgt. Friday noted) used to go 90 to over 100 mph with these huge-ass steam locomotives (at first) that had the big cowling for the streamlining and bringing a whole new aesthetic look to the world. That power and speed is impressive even today.

    I don’t know how any boy grows up even today NOT liking trains. I think it’s the initially very scary noise and mass, that one can get a thrill from … just watching a bunch of hopper, tanker, auto-rack, lumber, and box cars pass from 20 ft away is a blast. We still stay at the crossings and get out of the car to watch.

    I have ridden the Amtrak across the country coast-to-coast a few times. It’s a blast, but, hey, don’t plan that trip to meet a business schedule! It’s 3 days minimum, and you have to give the people on the other end an ETA like “in the morning” or “late-afternoon, at least before midnight” vs.” 6:25 PM”.

    All that said, no matter how much we LIKE trains for various reasons, you don’t spend more of the debt-living taxpayers’ money on something that everyone just LIKES. That train doesn’t pay off. This country, and most people in it, are too broke for this frivolity. It’s not 1965. Hundreds of thousands of people following The Dead around in VW microbuses for the summer while selling weeds and beads was a blast for them, and was not very productive either. However, America and Americans could afford all that back then.

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  79. @Anon
    So what?

    Complaining about this is like complaining that the Olympics will go overbudget. Of course the Olympics will go overbudget. Who cares?

    I live in Japan, and it's hard to explain how great it is to have an efficient, modern rail system. How did California get so far behind? Didn't Tom Bradley promise a subway system way back? It's this anal retentive bean counting that keeps delaying projects like this. The benefits of a rail system are transformational, and don't show up in budget projections.

    Lately there has been a new, rebranded form of bean counting: Elon Muskesque "Rail is passe. Just wait for the real-soon-now next gen transportation system. Tubes. Self-driving pods. Flying cars. Rockets. And by the way, we're going to Mars, so who cares about Earth!"

    And yes, people will die. People die in rail accidents in Japan on a regular basis (although weirdly, not yet in a bullet train accident). Death is part of the deal. People die in car accidents. That's the way life as a "mortal" works. So what.

    Japan has 140-odd million people in an area just smaller than that of California (yes, I lost a bet on that – thought it was just a bit bigger). It has loads of big cities in which loads of people work, downtown, that is, per Steve’s important point. You could tell me better, # 368, but I’d imagine there are plenty of less than 250 mile (400 km) runs between major cities that are perfect for trains.

    Here’s something I haven’t seen mentioned. The~ 400 mile distance on this route is first of all shorter in an airplane, as it will go in as straight a path that air traffic will allow. Navigation is no factor, and terrain is no factor, except at the ends. Once you get toward 25o miles (no, I didn’t do the fairly easy estimate to get a number like this yet), you get to where the air travel TSA-BS time, and the approach and taxi time at both ends, start to be a major portion of the block time. Train service from downtown to downtown (without possible TSA involvement) skips all of that, and even a 125 mph train can beat the all-included air travel time – especially, if one does live in the inner city.

    The benefits of a rail system are transformational, and don’t show up in budget projections.

    Balderdash! What are gonna be the benefits of this rail “system”? “System” is in quotes because one long line doesn’t make a rail system. It’s just a different country than Japan, and air travel and decent-speed (when the Interstate really avoids the city, like it was designed to) car travel work the best for here. You Japanese do what you do, and more power to ya.

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  80. @Steve Sailer
    Last I checked, the rail route they were planning to build was less direct than the current highway I-5 so quite a bit longer. The politicians want it to go through the inland population centers like Palmdale, Bakersfield, and Fresno, which are well inland from the fastest route through to the empty west side of the Central Valley. Going from LA thru Palmdale to Fresno to San Francisco is about 453 miles by car, not the 382 by taking the direct route. But nobody lives along the direct route.

    An issue with a bullet train is starting and stopping it. Do you stop in Bakersfield and Fresno or roar through at 220 mph?

    Personally, I never stop in Bakersfield or Fresno. I’m not sure anyone else does either.

    The real problem is the same as the airplanes: You still need a car at either end of the trip. I’d rather see a big, fast, moving car ferry of some sort. Let me park my car on a flat-something and be whisked at 200 mph to LA, or wherever, and then let off. I’d pay handsomely for that.

    Let me add that when this originally passed, I and everybody I knew voted against it. We all knew it was a boondoggle. who voted for it?

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    • Replies: @utu

    The real problem is the same as the airplanes: You still need a car at either end of the trip.
     
    Correct. People live in suburbs with poor public transportation not in city centers like in Europe.
    , @hyperbola
    I have always enjoyed European public transport where one can usually walk out of his house and within 100 yards get on a bus/tram that connects to public transport throughout Europe. Frankly I think there are deeper things going on than this article "explains".

    I happened to be in Spain when a jewish-controlled Goldman Sachs subsidiary bought the biggest national newspaper (El Pais). In their very first post-acquisition editorial there was an article from a French-German zionist and a Chicago Tribune zionist talking about how "good government" in places like California meant elite-planned public transport like the LA-SF train. Then Diane Feinstein's zionist husband got the main contract.

    The corruption of the racist-supremacist, foreign sect is world-wide.
    Europe’s “Bought Journalists”
    https://www.counterpunch.org/2016/08/02/europes-bought-journalists/
    , @Desiderius
    Your kids and their friends.
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  81. countenance says: • Website

    The real big hurdles for 250+ mph hypercars are tires and fuel.

    The Bugatti Chiron is physically capable of 310, but is governed to 261 because of concerns over tires.

    The 2019 Corvette ZR1, which can get into the 220s, needs 100+ octane fuel to do that.

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  82. Anon[395] • Disclaimer says:
    @dfordoom

    I live in Japan, and it’s hard to explain how great it is to have an efficient, modern rail system.
     
    Mass transit is ghastly but it's probably fairly OK if you live in a homogeneous low-crime society.

    Trains were a wonderfully civilised means of transport once upon a time. That time has long gone.

    Bullet trains riders are wonderfully self selecting. It’s not the subway. The ticket cost and reserved seating filters out the riff raff, and there’re conductors, vendors, and other staff keeping an eye on things.

    But come to think of it, there was a fatal stabbing on a Japanese bullet train a few weeks ago, a mentally ill guy. I don’t think they ever figured out what his deal was.

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  83. @Alfa158
    At the time of the initiative there were critics contending that there was never any intent to actually build a train system that couldn’t even work because of the elevation changes, right of way route battles, and lack of demand. (The Japanese and French systems don't have to climb and descend 4000 foot mountains). The critics said it was just a means to subsidize the deficits in the transit systems in Los Angeles and The Bay Area. The idea was that the project would begin by “preparing” the infrastructure at each end which meant siphoning money off into covering the deficits. It would also be a way to payoff Democrat political supporters with grants for environmental studies, engineering reports, public relations programs etc. They must have burned through that first $33B faster than expected.
    BTW, I ran some numbers and wish to go on record that I want the budget to increase to $102.5B. The reason I picked that number is that if we assume the train route is 348 miles long, then based on the fact that a $20 bill is .0043 inches thick, that is the sum you would get if you stacked $2o bills the entire length of the route.

    I think Alpha nailed it. California is nearing the end of the Ponzi scam.

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  84. Aardvark says:

    Maybe LA could annex half the land in between LA and SF (say something like LA to San Miguel) and SF could annex the other half.
    Then it should be quite easy to get from LA to SF in the required time.

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  85. @Anon
    The best compromise would be buses going 220 mph in special lanes.

    High-speed buses? The Onion had already covered that plan

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  86. Anon[395] • Disclaimer says:
    @Steve Sailer
    LA to vegas would make sense

    Right. A train works well when it runs all the way to downtown and there's only one downtown. But the Bay Area has a whole lot of destinations: San Jose, various points in Silicon Valley, San Francisco, Oakland. Los Angeles, too, is huge.

    In Las Vegas there's really only one place to go, The Strip, and they can build a big terminal at the far end of that trolley they've got running along The Strip.

    I wonder how a bullet train would work in the desert. The tracks are inspected at a rate much higher than for normal trains, and during last week’s heat wave in Japan the track maintenance guys were really busy, according to TV news reports. Apparently the heat changes the rails, and they showed workers with guage calipers and crow bars adjusting the tracks.

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  87. OFWHAP says:
    @Anonymous
    They're trying to get high speed rail in Ohio. They want to build the Cleveland Steamer and Cincinnati Bowtie Express lines to connect Cleveland and Cincinnati with future expansions to Chicago and Detroit.

    This is the best comment I’ve seen anywhere on the World Wide Web in awhile. Bravo, sir!

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  88. Mr. Anon says:
    @Anon
    So what?

    Complaining about this is like complaining that the Olympics will go overbudget. Of course the Olympics will go overbudget. Who cares?

    I live in Japan, and it's hard to explain how great it is to have an efficient, modern rail system. How did California get so far behind? Didn't Tom Bradley promise a subway system way back? It's this anal retentive bean counting that keeps delaying projects like this. The benefits of a rail system are transformational, and don't show up in budget projections.

    Lately there has been a new, rebranded form of bean counting: Elon Muskesque "Rail is passe. Just wait for the real-soon-now next gen transportation system. Tubes. Self-driving pods. Flying cars. Rockets. And by the way, we're going to Mars, so who cares about Earth!"

    And yes, people will die. People die in rail accidents in Japan on a regular basis (although weirdly, not yet in a bullet train accident). Death is part of the deal. People die in car accidents. That's the way life as a "mortal" works. So what.

    I live in Japan, and it’s hard to explain how great it is to have an efficient, modern rail system.

    Yes, it is indeed great. Japan was able to build it and maintain it because they are Japan.

    Just as California will not be able to do likewise because they are California.

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    • Agree: Autochthon
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  89. Mr. Anon says:
    @Anonymous
    Steve, what are your thoughts on the Hyperloop idea? It's supposed to be a lot cheaper and a lot faster - 30 minutes from downtown LA to downtown SF - than the high speed train.

    Steve, what are your thoughts on the Hyperloop idea? It’s supposed to be a lot cheaper and a lot faster – 30 minutes from downtown LA to downtown SF – than the high speed train.

    The notion that it would be cheaper is, I think, laughable. Building a 6-9 ft. diameter vacuum chamber that’s at least 350 miles long doesn’t sound very cheap.

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  90. utu says:
    @stillCARealist
    Personally, I never stop in Bakersfield or Fresno. I'm not sure anyone else does either.

    The real problem is the same as the airplanes: You still need a car at either end of the trip. I'd rather see a big, fast, moving car ferry of some sort. Let me park my car on a flat-something and be whisked at 200 mph to LA, or wherever, and then let off. I'd pay handsomely for that.

    Let me add that when this originally passed, I and everybody I knew voted against it. We all knew it was a boondoggle. who voted for it?

    The real problem is the same as the airplanes: You still need a car at either end of the trip.

    Correct. People live in suburbs with poor public transportation not in city centers like in Europe.

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  91. Mr. Anon says:

    Why is it that Los Angeles, a city built on the promise of vicarious experience through movies and television, and Silicon Valley, built on the idea of virtual meeting and telepresence, want a concrete and steel rail system to connect them? It’s almost as if their fundamental premises are lies…….

    Perhaps the people of California could settle for a fantasy rail-system, much like fantasy football leagues. Train-geeks could purchase a stake in an imaginary high-speed rail network. They would be sent tickets, brochures, conductors-caps, and a home video-game that would give them the full experience on their big-screen TV.

    Of course, it’s only a pretend high-speed railroad, but then……………….so is their “real” one.

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  92. hyperbola says:
    @stillCARealist
    Personally, I never stop in Bakersfield or Fresno. I'm not sure anyone else does either.

    The real problem is the same as the airplanes: You still need a car at either end of the trip. I'd rather see a big, fast, moving car ferry of some sort. Let me park my car on a flat-something and be whisked at 200 mph to LA, or wherever, and then let off. I'd pay handsomely for that.

    Let me add that when this originally passed, I and everybody I knew voted against it. We all knew it was a boondoggle. who voted for it?

    I have always enjoyed European public transport where one can usually walk out of his house and within 100 yards get on a bus/tram that connects to public transport throughout Europe. Frankly I think there are deeper things going on than this article “explains”.

    I happened to be in Spain when a jewish-controlled Goldman Sachs subsidiary bought the biggest national newspaper (El Pais). In their very first post-acquisition editorial there was an article from a French-German zionist and a Chicago Tribune zionist talking about how “good government” in places like California meant elite-planned public transport like the LA-SF train. Then Diane Feinstein’s zionist husband got the main contract.

    The corruption of the racist-supremacist, foreign sect is world-wide.
    Europe’s “Bought Journalists”

    https://www.counterpunch.org/2016/08/02/europes-bought-journalists/

    Read More
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  93. utu says:
    @Steve Sailer
    Last I checked, the rail route they were planning to build was less direct than the current highway I-5 so quite a bit longer. The politicians want it to go through the inland population centers like Palmdale, Bakersfield, and Fresno, which are well inland from the fastest route through to the empty west side of the Central Valley. Going from LA thru Palmdale to Fresno to San Francisco is about 453 miles by car, not the 382 by taking the direct route. But nobody lives along the direct route.

    An issue with a bullet train is starting and stopping it. Do you stop in Bakersfield and Fresno or roar through at 220 mph?

    164 mph, vs. 145 mph for the Japanese one and 119 for the French one….

    But 164mph is doable. You do not like trains, write that you do not like trains.

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  94. Sandmich says:
    @Anon
    So what?

    Complaining about this is like complaining that the Olympics will go overbudget. Of course the Olympics will go overbudget. Who cares?

    I live in Japan, and it's hard to explain how great it is to have an efficient, modern rail system. How did California get so far behind? Didn't Tom Bradley promise a subway system way back? It's this anal retentive bean counting that keeps delaying projects like this. The benefits of a rail system are transformational, and don't show up in budget projections.

    Lately there has been a new, rebranded form of bean counting: Elon Muskesque "Rail is passe. Just wait for the real-soon-now next gen transportation system. Tubes. Self-driving pods. Flying cars. Rockets. And by the way, we're going to Mars, so who cares about Earth!"

    And yes, people will die. People die in rail accidents in Japan on a regular basis (although weirdly, not yet in a bullet train accident). Death is part of the deal. People die in car accidents. That's the way life as a "mortal" works. So what.

    How did California get so far behind?

    I can think of a couple million reasons…

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  95. @stillCARealist
    Personally, I never stop in Bakersfield or Fresno. I'm not sure anyone else does either.

    The real problem is the same as the airplanes: You still need a car at either end of the trip. I'd rather see a big, fast, moving car ferry of some sort. Let me park my car on a flat-something and be whisked at 200 mph to LA, or wherever, and then let off. I'd pay handsomely for that.

    Let me add that when this originally passed, I and everybody I knew voted against it. We all knew it was a boondoggle. who voted for it?

    Your kids and their friends.

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  96. fitzGetty says:
    @Luke Lea
    Where is Musk's tunneling machine when you need it?

    … better ask that dodgy Theranos bird …

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  97. some years ago i read from a transportation engineer (yeah, a real one) who said that for a measly $5 billion or so you could upgrade existing track, ROW, etc. such that you could pare the current 11 hour AMTRAK trip LA-Union Station to Oakland (Emeryville) down to about 5 1/2 hours. Yes. HALF. (Of course this would be using the more direct Valley route, rather than the longer but more scenic coast-hugging route currently used….so that’s part of the time savings.)

    Use current technology such as they have on the ACELA corridor. Just a handful of stops, trains cruise 80-90 mph. Which is ho-hum when you think about it.

    It’s not Jetson’s speed, but it’s not the current speed (which is about what you might find in an 1895 timetable) either.

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  98. @Alfa158
    At the time of the initiative there were critics contending that there was never any intent to actually build a train system that couldn’t even work because of the elevation changes, right of way route battles, and lack of demand. (The Japanese and French systems don't have to climb and descend 4000 foot mountains). The critics said it was just a means to subsidize the deficits in the transit systems in Los Angeles and The Bay Area. The idea was that the project would begin by “preparing” the infrastructure at each end which meant siphoning money off into covering the deficits. It would also be a way to payoff Democrat political supporters with grants for environmental studies, engineering reports, public relations programs etc. They must have burned through that first $33B faster than expected.
    BTW, I ran some numbers and wish to go on record that I want the budget to increase to $102.5B. The reason I picked that number is that if we assume the train route is 348 miles long, then based on the fact that a $20 bill is .0043 inches thick, that is the sum you would get if you stacked $2o bills the entire length of the route.

    This is what happened in Miami. In 2002, the voters were told that, if they approved a half-penny sales tax, the money would be used to expand the Metrorail system. The tax passed, and the money was diverted to cover the transit agency’s ongoing operational shortfalls.

    Aside from a short spur to the airport, no new rail lines were ever built.

    Lately, there has been some talk of building a 20-mile Metrorail extension to Homestead (40 miles south of downtown Miami) along the old FEC right-of-way (now devoted to dedicated bus lanes). This was only one of several new lines that were promised to the voters back in ’02.

    The cheaper alternative is to convert the existing bus stops into bus “stations” that will speed things up by having riders pay their fare before they board.

    Most of the existing bus stops were built over twenty years ago. Their fabric canopies have long since succumbed to the ravages of time. Waiting for a bus on a summer afternoon is like being boiled alive. (Even with the canopy, it’s a miserable, sweaty ordeal.) The stops that do still have canopies tend to be homeless hangouts.

    https://www.miamiherald.com/news/local/community/miami-dade/homestead/tckxdl/picture203418384/alternates/FREE_1140/SQA04%20Shelter%20News%20rk

    As proposed, the bus system would have iconic stations and new vehicles designed to imitate trains by offering group boarding level with the platform and advanced ticket sales.

    “Iconic” is a trendy word these days. It means “supposedly cool-looking”:

    https://www.miamiherald.com/opinion/op-ed/v2i6r7/picture214881925/alternates/LANDSCAPE_1140/south%20dade%20brt%20rendering

    Supposedly this is the magic ticket that will entice suburbanites to abandon their cars. “Make it look hip enough, and they will come!”

    Of course, the real problem with the Busway is that the buses are jam-packed with NAMs (mostly blacks). Everyone bitches and moans about the traffic – U.S. 1 is a six-lane parking lot – but no one wants to admit that spending an hour (or two) in one’s own car is preferable to spending thirty minutes on a bus full of vibrant bums, drug addicts, and thug wannabes.

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  99. snorlax says:
    @Steve Sailer
    Interstate 5 has 206 miles in central California where the median is big enough to accommodate building 4 more lanes. Perhaps it would make more sense to have buses that could go 100 mph on special bus only lanes for roughly half of the 382 mile trip instead of a train that could theoretically go 220 mph on a 465 mile route.

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    • Replies: @Achmed E. Newman
    "It's probably just been one coincidence after another" I'm gonna use that one.
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  100. ChrisM says:

    I’m definitely against California’s HSR project, but if we are going to try it, they should scale back to something like the following.

    Extend BART down to Tracy/Stockton. Metrolink already goes up to Lancaster in the high desert.

    Then build the HSR between these two points. The only geographic difficulty is descending through Tehachapi to Bakersfield. The rest is a straight shot on the level terrain of the Central Valley, the only stretch where you are going to realistically get to 200+ mi/hour.

    BART/Metrolink are definitely not high-speed, but non-stop trains can be scheduled to arrive/leave on schedule with the arrival of a high-speed train.

    This is *MUCH* less expensive than trying to get HSR into downtown LA/SF, which will never happen due to reasons already mentioned by other posters (NIMBYism mostly).

    Then get a Vegas Casino conglomerate to pay for a rail line from Lancaster to Vegas, which is again a straight shot over largely flat desert, where you can get true high speeds.

    Chris

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    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    LA to Vegas on I-15 has some big ups and downs but the highway is quite straight except for a curves near the Cajon pass. That's a big reason so much freight traffic goes through LA Harbor rather than the Bay Area: it's hard to drive from Oakland to the rest of the country because of the Sierras. I-15 and I-10 are pretty easy drives from LA to Vegas and Phoenix.

    What if you used regular trains to get out of LA and out of SF and then attached more locomotives when you reached the Central Valley and went 200 mph there?

    , @Autochthon
    These are sensible, good ideas. They'll therefore never be embraced by the government of Mexinchifornia.
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  101. Polynikes says:
    @Steve Sailer
    Trains work best for downtown to downtown connections. Chicago's downtown is huge and prosperous, but what other cities in the Midwest have a lot of downtown office workers? Minneapolis?

    Minneapolis. Indianapolis has quite a few plus a pretty busy convention scene. The connecting Highway, 65, is always busy . Maybe Milwaukee or Madison. Those latter two already have bus services though.

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  102. @ChrisM
    I'm definitely against California's HSR project, but if we are going to try it, they should scale back to something like the following.

    Extend BART down to Tracy/Stockton. Metrolink already goes up to Lancaster in the high desert.

    Then build the HSR between these two points. The only geographic difficulty is descending through Tehachapi to Bakersfield. The rest is a straight shot on the level terrain of the Central Valley, the only stretch where you are going to realistically get to 200+ mi/hour.

    BART/Metrolink are definitely not high-speed, but non-stop trains can be scheduled to arrive/leave on schedule with the arrival of a high-speed train.

    This is *MUCH* less expensive than trying to get HSR into downtown LA/SF, which will never happen due to reasons already mentioned by other posters (NIMBYism mostly).

    Then get a Vegas Casino conglomerate to pay for a rail line from Lancaster to Vegas, which is again a straight shot over largely flat desert, where you can get true high speeds.

    Chris

    LA to Vegas on I-15 has some big ups and downs but the highway is quite straight except for a curves near the Cajon pass. That’s a big reason so much freight traffic goes through LA Harbor rather than the Bay Area: it’s hard to drive from Oakland to the rest of the country because of the Sierras. I-15 and I-10 are pretty easy drives from LA to Vegas and Phoenix.

    What if you used regular trains to get out of LA and out of SF and then attached more locomotives when you reached the Central Valley and went 200 mph there?

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    • Replies: @Sgt. Joe Friday
    It's little more complicated Steve.

    First of all, as for the LA - Las Vegas line, there is a reason the railroad doesn't parallel the I-15 (or more properly, vice versa): the grades. Trains are a steel-wheels-on-steel-rails technology, which means low rolling resistance*, but also puts limits on the grades that can be ascended or descended. Anything more than a 2% grade (i.e. 2 feet rise or decline per 100 feet) is considered less than ideal. So railroads have generally been engineered to find low and relatively flat passes to cross mountain ranges, even if that comes at the cost of extra mileage.

    As for the speed along flat land like that in the valley, added horsepower is really not the issue. Modern diesel locomotives provide more than enough power to haul the trains, so adding horsepower is not going to make the trains go faster. Depending on whether the locomotive is designed for freight or passenger service, it is geared to either offer maximum tractive effort at lower speeds (for getting a long, heavy freight train moving) or to accelerate relatively quickly from a standing start, as would be the case with a passenger train. There would also be issues with the spacing of signals and other minutiae that would cause the eyes of most Unz readers to glaze over, so I won't cover them.

    *Jack LaLanne's famous stunt pulling a railroad car with a rope was really not that difficult. If he was hauling the car down even the slightest incline, the much bigger problem would be getting out of the way of the car once it started to roll and run him him over.
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  103. What I can’t wait to see is the display “art” that will be required at each station.

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  104. “Top speeds require precise track alignment — straight and level. A curve that allows a train to operate at the max speed of 220 mph would have a circumference of more than 50 miles, were it to make a complete circle.”

    That sounds like a nice high-school physics problem. A train runs around a circular track of radius R (here, R = 50 mi) at a given speed s (here, s = 220 mph). At what angle does the track need to be tilted so that the net acceleration on the passengers (the vector sum of the outward acceleration, which is a function of R and s, and downward acceleration g due to gravity (on this planet, g = 32 ft/sec^2 = 9.8 m/sec^2) is directed perpendicular to the floor of the train? And at what radius R and speed s does the track need to be tilted so steeply that a stationary train on the track will fall over toward the center of the circle?

    Another problem with a famous high-speed rail system is sociological: certain grade crossings will become — like Niagara Falls or the Golden Gate Bridge — a favorite site for suicides (Japan has a number of such 自殺の名所, jisatsu no meisho). Wouldn’t it be glorious to be the first suicide on this world-famous high-speed rail system? Hurry up and built it! Don’t let Trump beat you with his Wall.

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    • Replies: @Dtbb
    They said C=50 miles. R would be 50÷2pie
    , @Mark Spahn (West Seneca, NY)
    “Top speeds require precise track alignment — straight and level. A curve that allows a train to operate at the max speed of 220 mph would have a circumference of more than 50 miles, were it to make a complete circle.”

    That sounds like a nice high-school physics problem. A train runs around a circular track of radius R (here, R = 50 mi) at a given speed s (here, s = 220 mph). At what angle does the track need to be tilted so that the net acceleration on the passengers (the vector sum of the outward acceleration, which is a function of R and s, and downward acceleration g due to gravity (on this planet, g = 32 ft/sec^2 = 9.8 m/sec^2) is directed perpendicular to the floor of the train? And at what radius R and speed s does the track need to be tilted so steeply that a stationary train on the track will fall over toward the center of the circle?
    - - - - - - - - - -
    Okay, so I went ahead and did the arithmetic (with the correction that 50 mi is the circumference of the circle, not its radius; thanks, Dtbb). Using the formula that the acceleration of the train toward the center of the circle is its speed squared divided by the radius of the circle and the facts that 1 hr = 3600 sec and 1 mi = 5280 ft, this horizontal acceleration is a = 2pi*(11/15)^3 = 2.4779 ft/sec^2. Meanwhile the downward acceleration due to gravity is g = 32 ft/sec^2. So the track must be tilted inward at an angle of arctan(a/g) = 4.4278 degrees, which is not much tilt at all. At this tilt, there is no danger that a stationary train on this tilted track will tip over. (For the sake of California high-speed train riders, check my arithmetic!)

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  105. @ChrisM
    I'm definitely against California's HSR project, but if we are going to try it, they should scale back to something like the following.

    Extend BART down to Tracy/Stockton. Metrolink already goes up to Lancaster in the high desert.

    Then build the HSR between these two points. The only geographic difficulty is descending through Tehachapi to Bakersfield. The rest is a straight shot on the level terrain of the Central Valley, the only stretch where you are going to realistically get to 200+ mi/hour.

    BART/Metrolink are definitely not high-speed, but non-stop trains can be scheduled to arrive/leave on schedule with the arrival of a high-speed train.

    This is *MUCH* less expensive than trying to get HSR into downtown LA/SF, which will never happen due to reasons already mentioned by other posters (NIMBYism mostly).

    Then get a Vegas Casino conglomerate to pay for a rail line from Lancaster to Vegas, which is again a straight shot over largely flat desert, where you can get true high speeds.

    Chris

    These are sensible, good ideas. They’ll therefore never be embraced by the government of Mexinchifornia.

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  106. Wilkey says:

    If only there were a technology that could get people from San Francisco to L.A. at speeds faster than 165 mph that didn’t require building a $100 billion track and tearing up miles upon miles of green space.

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  107. @Steve Sailer
    LA to Vegas on I-15 has some big ups and downs but the highway is quite straight except for a curves near the Cajon pass. That's a big reason so much freight traffic goes through LA Harbor rather than the Bay Area: it's hard to drive from Oakland to the rest of the country because of the Sierras. I-15 and I-10 are pretty easy drives from LA to Vegas and Phoenix.

    What if you used regular trains to get out of LA and out of SF and then attached more locomotives when you reached the Central Valley and went 200 mph there?

    It’s little more complicated Steve.

    First of all, as for the LA – Las Vegas line, there is a reason the railroad doesn’t parallel the I-15 (or more properly, vice versa): the grades. Trains are a steel-wheels-on-steel-rails technology, which means low rolling resistance*, but also puts limits on the grades that can be ascended or descended. Anything more than a 2% grade (i.e. 2 feet rise or decline per 100 feet) is considered less than ideal. So railroads have generally been engineered to find low and relatively flat passes to cross mountain ranges, even if that comes at the cost of extra mileage.

    As for the speed along flat land like that in the valley, added horsepower is really not the issue. Modern diesel locomotives provide more than enough power to haul the trains, so adding horsepower is not going to make the trains go faster. Depending on whether the locomotive is designed for freight or passenger service, it is geared to either offer maximum tractive effort at lower speeds (for getting a long, heavy freight train moving) or to accelerate relatively quickly from a standing start, as would be the case with a passenger train. There would also be issues with the spacing of signals and other minutiae that would cause the eyes of most Unz readers to glaze over, so I won’t cover them.

    *Jack LaLanne’s famous stunt pulling a railroad car with a rope was really not that difficult. If he was hauling the car down even the slightest incline, the much bigger problem would be getting out of the way of the car once it started to roll and run him him over.

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  108. Anon[235] • Disclaimer says:
    @Anon
    It probably would be faster to take a 2 hour 40 minute train than fly considering the waste of time standing in security lines and walking a mile or so in LAX and SFO.

    You”re assuming a zero sum, fixed pie situation. The market may well expand, considerably. People could go on trips they wouldn’t have previously. It could become more of a thing to spend a couple of days in San Francisco and then rent a car for the wine country or Yosemite if you don’t have I-5 or air travel in the mix. You could see more commuters, living in one city, working in the other (or in Fresno!), which exists now even with air travel. You cannot predict what will happen.

    I love riding the bullet train and mildly dislike riding on planes. Planes are especially distateful to me for short (by air standards) hops. I’m not afraid of flying (that much, maybe a teesy bit) and fly between the U.S. and Japan regularly, and I realize intellectually that trains do crash from time to time. But there are a lot of small but incremental things about bullet trains that make them nicer. The seats are a skosh bigger, and you upgrade for much less than an air business or first class seat. The toilets are less claustrophobic. The noise is a bit less. The view is a toss up, depending on your tastes and interests, but I like trains better here.

    Japan is a natural experiment, because you can now go almost anywhere by either plane or bullet train, and the prices are not so different. I don’t know the data, but the trains are doing very well and are usually filled. You don’t continue to add line after line to a mode of transportation that isn’t working.

    Japan is not California, so I realize that the comparison may not completely apply.

    - Los Angeles to San Francisco: Is SF still a tourist attraction? It’s been getting bad PR lately. Las Vegas may have been a better first line. Or maybe not, since it’s attractions are more one dimensional.

    - Location of terminals within the cities: In Japan it’s not as important, since you have a network of subways, trains, and really, really nice buses and taxis to take you to the terminal. Tokyo has two bullet train terminals, one at Tokyo Station and one at Yokohama station. Getting to either of these on normal trains is easy. You can also send your luggage ahead the day before via an inexpensive courrier or by dropping it off at the convenience store.

    - Security: There is no search or X-ray or the like for Japanese bullet trains. The degree to which this will degrade the experience in California I don’t know. This could conceivably change even in Japan. The Disney parks now have a simple bag search, which they didn’t have before. Subway stations lost most of their trash containers post Sarin attack. And we have the Olympics coming up.

    Speaking of which, I mentioned the Olympics before. I think that the same type of smart, economically savvy person who bitches about the Olympics coming to his city is the same sort who is anti bullet train. There is just a dimension to it that such a person cannot understand. I’ve lived in two Olympic cities during the Olympics, Los Angeles and Nagano, and will live in Tokyo during theirs. The few weeks of my life living in an Olympic city remain some of the most vivid memories of my life, even as memories fade as I age. The experts are wrong when judging things like this. I still chuckle over empty L.A. freeways in 1984, when all the “smart” people went on vacation to avoid traffic jams. The California bullet train probably needs, and hasn’t found, its Peter Ueberroth.

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  109. @snorlax
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4417N3qvnyk

    “It’s probably just been one coincidence after another” I’m gonna use that one.

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    • Replies: @Autochthon
    It's how come white people are more successful than mestizos, Negroes, Amerindians, Hindoo, Orientals, etc.

    Just one coincidence after another.
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  110. RD says:

    Autobahn + Koenigsegg = fun :)

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  111. Dtbb says:
    @Mark Spahn (West Seneca, NY)
    "Top speeds require precise track alignment — straight and level. A curve that allows a train to operate at the max speed of 220 mph would have a circumference of more than 50 miles, were it to make a complete circle."

    That sounds like a nice high-school physics problem. A train runs around a circular track of radius R (here, R = 50 mi) at a given speed s (here, s = 220 mph). At what angle does the track need to be tilted so that the net acceleration on the passengers (the vector sum of the outward acceleration, which is a function of R and s, and downward acceleration g due to gravity (on this planet, g = 32 ft/sec^2 = 9.8 m/sec^2) is directed perpendicular to the floor of the train? And at what radius R and speed s does the track need to be tilted so steeply that a stationary train on the track will fall over toward the center of the circle?

    Another problem with a famous high-speed rail system is sociological: certain grade crossings will become -- like Niagara Falls or the Golden Gate Bridge -- a favorite site for suicides (Japan has a number of such 自殺の名所, jisatsu no meisho). Wouldn't it be glorious to be the first suicide on this world-famous high-speed rail system? Hurry up and built it! Don't let Trump beat you with his Wall.

    They said C=50 miles. R would be 50÷2pie

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    • Replies: @Mark Spahn (West Seneca, NY)
    Dtbb says: "They said C=50 miles. R would be 50÷2pie"

    Yes, you're right. Thanks for the correction.
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  112. Anonymous[249] • Disclaimer says:

    Not PC to say so, but HST can never work in California (or elsewhere in the U.S.) because it would instantly be infested by hordes of SEIU-type union staff who treat trains as a convenience for staff rather than passengers.

    Anyone who has seen what public transportation can achieve in Japan, China or even France will have been struck by the professionalism of staff running all aspects of the system.

    The only way to achieve this level of professionalism in the U.S. would be a strictly foreign-owned system, where all staff are required to be Japanese raised and trained only in Japan, and would need to have at least 10 years of experience with excellent performance in the Japanese rail industry.

    Of course, all rail staff have to pass a language test to ascertain whether they understand about 100-200 basic English words. The cut off is 5%. Any candidate who understands more than 30 words of English is automatically disqualified to prevent cultural contamination.

    The Japanese staff and their families will live in well-appointed staff compounds with all Japanese mod cons, subsidized sushi and ramen, etc. Electronic communications will be provided, strictly to Japan only. Of course, they will not be permitted to mix with Americans or other nationalities, on or off duty. North Korean expertise in maintaining ideological purity among workers in international manufacturing zones will prove invaluable.

    While the HST system starts operating with Japanese staff, leading research institutions in the U.S. will be set to work using CRISPR and similar gene editing technologies to create an endogamous HST staff jati (profession-based caste) to run HST rail and other services, combining the best traits of Japanese HST staff with the old Pullman porters. President Trump should give a speech challenging the U.S. to start a crash program for putting Americans to work in the cockpit and cars of an HST within a 50 short years.

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  113. @Enochian
    I hate to say this, but if space travel is ever cheap enough for you to be able flee overcrowding and over-governing, the crowds and the government will be able to follow you wherever you go. Heinlein's independent pioneers will lose out to Asimov's galaxy wide empire and its librarians, just as they are doing so on earth.

    Ok

    That’s the Whole Point – the universe being infinite, there is literally always somewhere else to go; the bastards would doubtless keep chasing you, but they could never corner you – and likely enough they’d never kind you, at least not for several lifetimes, if you were careful about where you went.

    I despair of our ever achieving interstellar travel, though. I fear it is either insurmountably impossible, or, at any rate, we passed the point when we could have continued developing such technologies, and soon the overpopulation and focus of l energy into dopey shit like so-called social media and globo-homo agenda will mean lack of resources (physical and intellectual) to try even if we want to again. Once all the rare Earth metals are being used for “smartphones” and instead of studying astronomy Billy and Sally are compulsively masturbating and sending each other MeMojis about how superiour African culture is, the point of no return looms.

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  114. @Dtbb
    They said C=50 miles. R would be 50÷2pie

    Dtbb says: “They said C=50 miles. R would be 50÷2pie”

    Yes, you’re right. Thanks for the correction.

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  115. @Achmed E. Newman
    "It's probably just been one coincidence after another" I'm gonna use that one.

    It’s how come white people are more successful than mestizos, Negroes, Amerindians, Hindoo, Orientals, etc.

    Just one coincidence after another.

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  116. @Mark Spahn (West Seneca, NY)
    "Top speeds require precise track alignment — straight and level. A curve that allows a train to operate at the max speed of 220 mph would have a circumference of more than 50 miles, were it to make a complete circle."

    That sounds like a nice high-school physics problem. A train runs around a circular track of radius R (here, R = 50 mi) at a given speed s (here, s = 220 mph). At what angle does the track need to be tilted so that the net acceleration on the passengers (the vector sum of the outward acceleration, which is a function of R and s, and downward acceleration g due to gravity (on this planet, g = 32 ft/sec^2 = 9.8 m/sec^2) is directed perpendicular to the floor of the train? And at what radius R and speed s does the track need to be tilted so steeply that a stationary train on the track will fall over toward the center of the circle?

    Another problem with a famous high-speed rail system is sociological: certain grade crossings will become -- like Niagara Falls or the Golden Gate Bridge -- a favorite site for suicides (Japan has a number of such 自殺の名所, jisatsu no meisho). Wouldn't it be glorious to be the first suicide on this world-famous high-speed rail system? Hurry up and built it! Don't let Trump beat you with his Wall.

    “Top speeds require precise track alignment — straight and level. A curve that allows a train to operate at the max speed of 220 mph would have a circumference of more than 50 miles, were it to make a complete circle.”

    That sounds like a nice high-school physics problem. A train runs around a circular track of radius R (here, R = 50 mi) at a given speed s (here, s = 220 mph). At what angle does the track need to be tilted so that the net acceleration on the passengers (the vector sum of the outward acceleration, which is a function of R and s, and downward acceleration g due to gravity (on this planet, g = 32 ft/sec^2 = 9.8 m/sec^2) is directed perpendicular to the floor of the train? And at what radius R and speed s does the track need to be tilted so steeply that a stationary train on the track will fall over toward the center of the circle?
    - – – – – – – – – -
    Okay, so I went ahead and did the arithmetic (with the correction that 50 mi is the circumference of the circle, not its radius; thanks, Dtbb). Using the formula that the acceleration of the train toward the center of the circle is its speed squared divided by the radius of the circle and the facts that 1 hr = 3600 sec and 1 mi = 5280 ft, this horizontal acceleration is a = 2pi*(11/15)^3 = 2.4779 ft/sec^2. Meanwhile the downward acceleration due to gravity is g = 32 ft/sec^2. So the track must be tilted inward at an angle of arctan(a/g) = 4.4278 degrees, which is not much tilt at all. At this tilt, there is no danger that a stationary train on this tilted track will tip over. (For the sake of California high-speed train riders, check my arithmetic!)

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  117. “Top speeds require precise track alignment — straight and level. A curve that allows a train to operate at the max speed of 220 mph would have a circumference of more than 50 miles, were it to make a complete circle.”

    That sounds like a nice high-school physics problem. A train runs around a circular track of radius R (here, R = 50 mi) at a given speed s (here, s = 220 mph). At what angle does the track need to be tilted so that the net acceleration on the passengers (the vector sum of the outward acceleration, which is a function of R and s, and downward acceleration g due to gravity (on this planet, g = 32 ft/sec^2 = 9.8 m/sec^2) is directed perpendicular to the floor of the train? And at what radius R and speed s does the track need to be tilted so steeply that a stationary train on the track will fall over toward the center of the circle?
    - – – – – – – – – -
    Okay, so I went ahead and did the arithmetic (with the correction that 50 mi is the circumference of the circle, not its radius; thanks, Dtbb). Using the formula that the acceleration of the train toward the center of the circle is its speed squared divided by the radius of the circle and the facts that 1 hr = 3600 sec and 1 mi = 5280 ft, this horizontal acceleration is a = 2pi*(11/15)^3 = 2.4779 ft/sec^2. Meanwhile the downward acceleration due to gravity is g = 32 ft/sec^2. So the track must be tilted inward at an angle of arctan(a/g) = 4.4278 degrees, which is not much tilt at all. At this tilt, there is no danger that a stationary train on this tilted track will tip over. (For the sake of California high-speed train riders, check my arithmetic!)

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    • Replies: @Achmed E. Newman
    It's not just arithmetic, Mark, but simple physics. It's the same way race track curves and highway exit ramp curves are determined. There is a certain bank angle that is right for the average speed. Any (say) car going faster will tend to skid to the outside, and any car going slower will tend to slip toward the inside. I say "tend to", as friction prevents this, so long as the friction force (normal force from the road onto the car x the coefficient of friction) is less than that transverse force due to that acceleration x car's mass.

    For the railway, the rail-car can't skid, but I imagine side-loads on the wheel flanges must be kept to a minimum, meaning appropriately banked curves for the speed, but as you say, a train may be as slow as stopped too.

    As to your math: It's really a balance of forces in the transverse direction of the train, but the mass does cancel out. Doing a force balance transverse to the car (hence rails) gives: (mg)sin(θ) = (mv^2/r )cos(θ). tan(θ) = v^2/rg, or θ = arctan( v^2/rg).

    Let's see:
    v = 220 mi/hr x 5280 ft/ 1mi x 1 hr/3600 s = 323 ft/s,
    r = 50 mi/2π x 5280 ft/1 mi = 42,000 ft.

    Yep, I get 4.4 degrees, Mark (I wanted to do it independently to check it, and refresh myself on this)
    , @Achmed E. Newman
    The tipping problem would require knowledge of the vertical position of the center of mass (the highest, worst case) and the track guage. Common sense would tell one, no, it's not a problem.

    However, that brings up the basic point of where the 7.9 mile radius came from in the 1st place. If it were based on maximum bank angle based on the tipping of a stationary car, as you speculate, then that 4.4 degree seems very low. I think there is much more involved, but hellifiknow.

    Any railway engineers on here? (No, not the guys that drive the trains - they may know the answer, but I'm not sure.)
    , @Dtbb
    Your original guote from the official said the track must be " straight and level". Could this be the reason the curve must have such a large radius?
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  118. MEH 0910 says:

    OT:

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  119. @Mark Spahn (West Seneca, NY)
    “Top speeds require precise track alignment — straight and level. A curve that allows a train to operate at the max speed of 220 mph would have a circumference of more than 50 miles, were it to make a complete circle.”

    That sounds like a nice high-school physics problem. A train runs around a circular track of radius R (here, R = 50 mi) at a given speed s (here, s = 220 mph). At what angle does the track need to be tilted so that the net acceleration on the passengers (the vector sum of the outward acceleration, which is a function of R and s, and downward acceleration g due to gravity (on this planet, g = 32 ft/sec^2 = 9.8 m/sec^2) is directed perpendicular to the floor of the train? And at what radius R and speed s does the track need to be tilted so steeply that a stationary train on the track will fall over toward the center of the circle?
    - - - - - - - - - -
    Okay, so I went ahead and did the arithmetic (with the correction that 50 mi is the circumference of the circle, not its radius; thanks, Dtbb). Using the formula that the acceleration of the train toward the center of the circle is its speed squared divided by the radius of the circle and the facts that 1 hr = 3600 sec and 1 mi = 5280 ft, this horizontal acceleration is a = 2pi*(11/15)^3 = 2.4779 ft/sec^2. Meanwhile the downward acceleration due to gravity is g = 32 ft/sec^2. So the track must be tilted inward at an angle of arctan(a/g) = 4.4278 degrees, which is not much tilt at all. At this tilt, there is no danger that a stationary train on this tilted track will tip over. (For the sake of California high-speed train riders, check my arithmetic!)

    It’s not just arithmetic, Mark, but simple physics. It’s the same way race track curves and highway exit ramp curves are determined. There is a certain bank angle that is right for the average speed. Any (say) car going faster will tend to skid to the outside, and any car going slower will tend to slip toward the inside. I say “tend to”, as friction prevents this, so long as the friction force (normal force from the road onto the car x the coefficient of friction) is less than that transverse force due to that acceleration x car’s mass.

    For the railway, the rail-car can’t skid, but I imagine side-loads on the wheel flanges must be kept to a minimum, meaning appropriately banked curves for the speed, but as you say, a train may be as slow as stopped too.

    As to your math: It’s really a balance of forces in the transverse direction of the train, but the mass does cancel out. Doing a force balance transverse to the car (hence rails) gives: (mg)sin(θ) = (mv^2/r )cos(θ). tan(θ) = v^2/rg, or θ = arctan( v^2/rg).

    Let’s see:
    v = 220 mi/hr x 5280 ft/ 1mi x 1 hr/3600 s = 323 ft/s,
    r = 50 mi/2π x 5280 ft/1 mi = 42,000 ft.

    Yep, I get 4.4 degrees, Mark (I wanted to do it independently to check it, and refresh myself on this)

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  120. @Mark Spahn (West Seneca, NY)
    “Top speeds require precise track alignment — straight and level. A curve that allows a train to operate at the max speed of 220 mph would have a circumference of more than 50 miles, were it to make a complete circle.”

    That sounds like a nice high-school physics problem. A train runs around a circular track of radius R (here, R = 50 mi) at a given speed s (here, s = 220 mph). At what angle does the track need to be tilted so that the net acceleration on the passengers (the vector sum of the outward acceleration, which is a function of R and s, and downward acceleration g due to gravity (on this planet, g = 32 ft/sec^2 = 9.8 m/sec^2) is directed perpendicular to the floor of the train? And at what radius R and speed s does the track need to be tilted so steeply that a stationary train on the track will fall over toward the center of the circle?
    - - - - - - - - - -
    Okay, so I went ahead and did the arithmetic (with the correction that 50 mi is the circumference of the circle, not its radius; thanks, Dtbb). Using the formula that the acceleration of the train toward the center of the circle is its speed squared divided by the radius of the circle and the facts that 1 hr = 3600 sec and 1 mi = 5280 ft, this horizontal acceleration is a = 2pi*(11/15)^3 = 2.4779 ft/sec^2. Meanwhile the downward acceleration due to gravity is g = 32 ft/sec^2. So the track must be tilted inward at an angle of arctan(a/g) = 4.4278 degrees, which is not much tilt at all. At this tilt, there is no danger that a stationary train on this tilted track will tip over. (For the sake of California high-speed train riders, check my arithmetic!)

    The tipping problem would require knowledge of the vertical position of the center of mass (the highest, worst case) and the track guage. Common sense would tell one, no, it’s not a problem.

    However, that brings up the basic point of where the 7.9 mile radius came from in the 1st place. If it were based on maximum bank angle based on the tipping of a stationary car, as you speculate, then that 4.4 degree seems very low. I think there is much more involved, but hellifiknow.

    Any railway engineers on here? (No, not the guys that drive the trains – they may know the answer, but I’m not sure.)

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    • Replies: @Dtbb
    See my comments 121 and 122. Just a guess
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  121. Dtbb says:
    @Mark Spahn (West Seneca, NY)
    “Top speeds require precise track alignment — straight and level. A curve that allows a train to operate at the max speed of 220 mph would have a circumference of more than 50 miles, were it to make a complete circle.”

    That sounds like a nice high-school physics problem. A train runs around a circular track of radius R (here, R = 50 mi) at a given speed s (here, s = 220 mph). At what angle does the track need to be tilted so that the net acceleration on the passengers (the vector sum of the outward acceleration, which is a function of R and s, and downward acceleration g due to gravity (on this planet, g = 32 ft/sec^2 = 9.8 m/sec^2) is directed perpendicular to the floor of the train? And at what radius R and speed s does the track need to be tilted so steeply that a stationary train on the track will fall over toward the center of the circle?
    - - - - - - - - - -
    Okay, so I went ahead and did the arithmetic (with the correction that 50 mi is the circumference of the circle, not its radius; thanks, Dtbb). Using the formula that the acceleration of the train toward the center of the circle is its speed squared divided by the radius of the circle and the facts that 1 hr = 3600 sec and 1 mi = 5280 ft, this horizontal acceleration is a = 2pi*(11/15)^3 = 2.4779 ft/sec^2. Meanwhile the downward acceleration due to gravity is g = 32 ft/sec^2. So the track must be tilted inward at an angle of arctan(a/g) = 4.4278 degrees, which is not much tilt at all. At this tilt, there is no danger that a stationary train on this tilted track will tip over. (For the sake of California high-speed train riders, check my arithmetic!)

    Your original guote from the official said the track must be ” straight and level”. Could this be the reason the curve must have such a large radius?

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    Does the train itself tilt?
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  122. Dtbb says:
    @Dtbb
    Your original guote from the official said the track must be " straight and level". Could this be the reason the curve must have such a large radius?

    Does the train itself tilt?

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  123. Dtbb says:
    @Achmed E. Newman
    The tipping problem would require knowledge of the vertical position of the center of mass (the highest, worst case) and the track guage. Common sense would tell one, no, it's not a problem.

    However, that brings up the basic point of where the 7.9 mile radius came from in the 1st place. If it were based on maximum bank angle based on the tipping of a stationary car, as you speculate, then that 4.4 degree seems very low. I think there is much more involved, but hellifiknow.

    Any railway engineers on here? (No, not the guys that drive the trains - they may know the answer, but I'm not sure.)

    See my comments 121 and 122. Just a guess

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  124. @Enochian
    I hate to say this, but if space travel is ever cheap enough for you to be able flee overcrowding and over-governing, the crowds and the government will be able to follow you wherever you go. Heinlein's independent pioneers will lose out to Asimov's galaxy wide empire and its librarians, just as they are doing so on earth.

    if space travel is ever cheap enough for you to be able flee overcrowding and over-governing, the crowds and the government will be able to follow you

    I never bitch about traffic, because if I’m in a position to bitch about it then I’m part of the problem.

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