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Topic Summary
Posted by: George_Harris Posted on: Nov 5th, 2008, 1:19pm
Looks like the bond issue is passing.  
Election Night Results - CA Secretary of State
96.4% ( 24,510 of 25,423 ) precincts partially or fully reporting as of Nov. 5, 2008, at 9:49 a.m. pacific time  Visit our County Reporting Status page to determine if a county has submitted a final report or returns.  
State Ballot Measures
1A - Safe, Reliable High-Speed Train Bond Act
  YES:  4,959,358   52.3%
  NO:   4,535,334   47.7%
Now the real fun begins.
Posted by: Alco83 Posted on: Nov 5th, 2008, 2:15pm
Here's the story:
High Speed Rail bond passes in California
November 05, 2008
Trains Newswire:  SACRAMENTO, Calif. - California Proposition 1A, the high-speed rail bond that would authorize the state to sell $9.95 billion in bonds to partially fund a $45 billion bullet train clone between Southern California and the San Francisco Bay area, won by a small margin Tuesday. With 95 percent of the vote counted early Wednesday, the measure was up 52 percent to 48 percent.
Numbers being bandied about by proponents include train travel at more than 220 mph, which would allow transit time between the two major state population centers in as little as 2½ hours.
Backers included the California High-Speed Rail Authority, various chambers of commerce, the Sierra Club of California, and the state Democratic Party. Major financial supporters included labor organizations and engineering firms. Opponents included the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association, the California Chamber of Commerce, and various state legislators.
Those favoring the high speed train line argued that it would ease traffic congestion and cut down on air pollution, while opponents felt that the cost was prohibitive for a project they felt would not be able to achieve proposed speeds and ridership. Adding to the controversy, the state is in a financial bind with Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger forced to eliminate thousands of state jobs and cut the pay scale of thousands of others to try and balance the budget.
Posted by: George_Harris Posted on: Feb 5th, 2011, 9:07pm
Here we are over 2 years later, much has happened and little has happened.  
At least standards for the work are well under way, and the alignment details are getting nailed down.  
The first piece is supposed to be under construction starting late next year between Fresno and Bakersfield.
For those interested in more, there are some blogs on the subject, and some that are posting as much as they can dig up through the Freedom of Information act.
For some of the technical standards, usually in version zero, go to:
Posted by: ClydeDET Posted on: Feb 6th, 2011, 11:30pm
Are they using existing ROW or new for the Fresno to Bakersfield run? We were out that way in October '09 and man there is some flat land down the Valley, fer shure. Ought to be able to do some fancy running.
Posted by: George_Harris Posted on: Feb 6th, 2011, 11:45pm
Most of the Fresno to Bakersfiled will be right of way to right of way with th BNSF.
Posted by: ClydeDET Posted on: Feb 7th, 2011, 7:44pm
Makes reasonable sense. Apparently there is a bunch of RoW south of Sacramento that is rail-banked, out of service, but not (mostly) pulled up, next to the American River. or at least that was the impression i got on our '06 trip out that way.
Posted by: George_Harris Posted on: Nov 14th, 2011, 1:52am
We now have a section 1A which is supposed to be the first piece to go to contract.  Section 1 being Fresno to Bakersfield.  1A being the piece that is essentially through Fresno.  Location is at-grade now, not elevated, and parallel to and on the west side of the UP (the ex-Southern Pacific). The environmental impact statement showint the alignments is out.  
Now the fun really begins.  All those against the project will now use the EIS against the project.  
Posted by: George_Harris Posted on: Apr 13th, 2013, 9:49pm
Forgot I had started this thread on the subject, so I will put the message here:
I decided to put it here rather than start a new thread on California HSR.  
 Since this is a press release I am assuming that it is OK to reproduce it in full:  
April 12, 2013  
 Robert Wilcox  
 916-403-2675 (w)  
 916-203-2960 (c)  
 California High-Speed Rail Authority Announces Bid Results on  
 Central Valley Construction Project  
 SACRAMENTO, Calif. – The California High-Speed Rail Authority (Authority) has identified Tutor Perini/Zachry/Parsons, a Joint Venture, as the best scoring team for the design-build contract to begin construction of the Madera to Fresno segment, the first section of the high-speed rail system.  
 The Authority had estimated the cost for the design-build contract to be between $1.2 billion and $1.8 billion. The Authority determined that Tutor Perini/Zachry/Parsons, a California-based Joint Venture, who bid $985,142,530, was the “apparent best value.” The ranking and score of all five proposals are attached.  
“Today is a significant milestone,” said Jeff Morales, CEO of the Authority. “We received proposals from five world class teams and are moving forward to deliver a world class program. It’s time to get to work in the Central Valley and create thousands of jobs.”  
In the competitive bidding process, five teams submitted proposals to the Authority for the first design-build contract. Design-build combines project design and construction in a single contract. The proposals were evaluated and ranked based on 30 percent for technical merit and 70 percent for cost. Factors such as an understanding of the project, schedule capability, project approach and safety were part of the technical scoring.  
 In November 2011, the Authority issued a Request for Qualification for potential design-build teams interested in the contract. Five teams met the threshold and began competing for the contract. In January 2013, the five teams submitted their proposals, which were objectively reviewed by an evaluation panel comprised of California state personnel.  
 The design-build contract will include the Authority’s adopted 30 percent goal for small business participation in the work. The Authority is committed to small businesses playing a major role in delivering the high-speed rail program.  
 The Authority will continue to work through the ongoing procurement process and a contract will be presented to the Authority’s Board of Directors in the coming weeks.  
 For more information on the procurement process for the design-build contract please visit http://www.cahighspeedrail.ca.gov/construction.aspx  
 About California High-Speed Rail Authority  
 The California High-Speed Rail Authority (Authority) is responsible for planning, designing, building and operation of the first high-speed rail system in the nation. By 2029, the system will run from San Francisco to the Los Angeles basin in under three hours at speeds capable of over 200 miles per hour. The system will eventually extend to Sacramento and San Diego, totaling 800 miles with up to 24 stations. In addition, the Authority is working with regional partners to implement a statewide rail modernization plan that will invest billions of dollars in local and regional rail lines to meet the state’s 21st century transportation needs. To learn more visit the Authority’s website at cahighspeedrail.ca.gov and join us on facebook.com/CaliforniaHighSpeedRail and follow us at twitter.com/cahsra/.  
  California High-Speed Rail Authority  
 RFP No. HSR 11-16  
 Apparent Best Value

 The formats of the summary of the quotations were lost in the copy.  Here is the information in a coherent format.  
 Proposer: Tutor Perini/Zachry/Parsons, A Joint Venture  
 Total Proposed Price:   $985,142,530.00  
 Price Proposal Score (max 70%):  70.00%  
 Technical Proposal Score (max 30%):  20.55%  
 Total Proposal Score:  90.55%  
 Proposer: Dragados/Samsung/Pulice, A joint Venture  
 Total Proposed Price:   $1,085,111,111.00
 Price Proposal Score (max 70%):  63.55%  
 Technical Proposal Score (max 30%):  26.13%  
 Total Proposal Score:  89.68%  
 Proposer: California Backbone Builders  
 Total Proposed Price:   $1,365,770,098.00    
 Price Proposal Score (max 70%):  50.49%  
 Technical Proposal Score (max 30%):  27.71%  
 Total Proposal Score:  78.20%  
 Proposer: California High-Speed Rail Partners  
 Total Proposed Price:  $1,263,309,632.23
 Price Proposal Score (max 70%):  54.59%  
 Technical Proposal Score (max 30%):  20.71%  
 Total Proposal Score:  75.29%  
 Proposer: California High-Speed Ventures  
 Total Proposed Price:  $1,537,049,000.00  
 Price Proposal Score (max 70%):  44.87%  
 Technical Proposal Score (max 30%):  21.41%  
 Total Proposal Score:  66.27%  
The above matrix identifies the Total Proposal Scores for determining the Apparent Best Value Proposer. The California High-Speed Rail Authority (Authority) has determined that Tutor Perini/Zachry/Parsons, a Joint Venture, is the Apparent Best Value Proposer. The Authority will proceed with the procurement with the Apparent Best Value Proposer. If the Authority is unable to achieve final contract award with the Apparent Best Value Proposer, it may proceed with the next most highly ranked Proposer.   Due to the ongoing procurement, no further information will be disclosed at this time.

 The uproar is already beginning.  
Posted by: ClydeDET Posted on: Apr 15th, 2013, 5:45pm
No doubt the uproar is (or soon will be) near-deafening.
Posted by: George_Harris Posted on: Apr 23rd, 2013, 1:21pm
For a simple "where is it?" on one page, go to
and about half way down on the page under  
RFP Addendum No. 4  
Book 2: Contract Requirements
click on
AD.4 - B.2 - Pt C.3 - Scope of Work - Attachment 2 - Limits of Work Map
and you get it on one page.  29 miles end to end.
The Attachment 2a is for the highway work that got hung on this.  2.7 miles of 6 lane freeway.
Posted by: HSSRAIL Posted on: Oct 31st, 2013, 11:49am
I have some reservations about how California went about this. It seems to me that the High Speed rail proposal involves the inland route between San Francisco to Los Angeles. That would be basically the San Joaquin route. In looking at that route it really looks from afar like a railroad that goes from nowhere to nowhere. It seems to me that strengthening the route structure of the San Joaquin route should have a high priority. I am of the opinion that the first part of the high speed rail link that should have been done was the portion between Oakland and San Francisco, and/or Bakersfield to Los Angeles. Both segments would benefit existing Amtrak services and be usable by them while the rest of the route was under construction. I am aware of the political opposition in Bakersfield however; there is considerable political opposition on the segment they are proposing to build.
Posted by: George_Harris Posted on: Oct 31st, 2013, 1:41pm
Wherever it is planned there will be "significant opposition".  That is simply the nature of the beast.  Nowhere to nowhere is their mantra today.  It costs too much, it takes too long, and no one will ever ride it is their fallback position.  I have heard this one for every rail system I have ever worked on and it has proven false every time.  
This "significant opposition" scream reminds me somewhat of what we experienced when watching Nixon's second inaugural parade.  If you looked at it on TV but not too closely it appeared that the parade route was lined with protestors.  If you were standing there on the street watching it and saw what was really happening was this:   There were 20 or so loud screamers on each side of the street walking along opposite his car so they could be seen by the cameras.  In reality there were very few people standing and watching that were doing anything negative.
The currently planned route goes where the people are.  The "follow I-5 crowd" are using airplane thinking dreaming up a line that misses all the population centers in the valley.  If there was not a lot of traffic between these mid points and between the major end points and these center points the state would not be in the process of 6 laning Hwy 99.  
The first part of the plan is from a few miles north of Fresno to Bakersfield.  This mainly  because it is easiest an necessary regardless of whether the next part is going north to San Francisco or south to Los Angeles.  I don't think it is giving away any secrets to say this, or the next paragraph.
Bakersfield to Palmdale to Los Angeles will probably be the second part built primarily because "everyone" recognizes the need to fill the gap, but look at the terrain.  Major mountains and major fault crossings.  There is no comparison here with any of the European lines people love to point to.   Tehatchapi and Palmdale are at higher elevations than any of the 19th century built tunnels in the Alps, and far higher in elevation than any of Euroschemes, whether built, planned or pipe dreams.  Long tunnels to avoid having to climb to these high elevations?  Crossing major active faults underground is a REALLY BAD IDEA.  Plus, it would give you a longer tunnel than exists anywhere else.  
(Crossing major faults underground is not a bad idea solely because it will move, not if it will move, but when will it move.  It is also a bad idea because you will be tunneling through bad rock which is what kills people during construction.  Tunneling is still a dangerous activity, and tunneling through bad rock extremely so.)
The more you look at crossing these mountains, the smarter those 19th century engineers that developed the route Bakersfield to Tehatchapi and Palmdale to Los Angeles look.
Posted by: HSSRAIL Posted on: Oct 31st, 2013, 2:43pm
Correction noted Oakland changed to Fresno.
The Bakersfield to Los Angeles segment is in the high speed rail plan I said this should be built first because, right, (there will always be opposition) so build the more useful portion first.  
The earthquake concern applies to running high speed trains in California period. Tunneling technology has come a long way. While I agree that tunneling under fault lines is a problem the shortest distance between two points is a strait line. A tunnel boring machine can go under these mountains and bore the tunnels. Some kind of movable insert will be needed to earthquake proof the tunnels which will be more expensive but since this is in the plan anyway CDOT knew that. Tunnels of 30 miles in length have already been built overseas and electric operation makes them more than feasible.  
The Bealville Tunnel on the former Southern Pacific traverses the White Wolf Fault and was damaged in the Bakersfield Earthquake. The current Tehachapi Pass thus has tunnels thru active fault lines so I am less than convinced the new tunnels should not be built.  
My nowhere to nowhere comment is tongue in cheek what I mean is that the San Joaquin route does not connect the two biggest cities in California, San Francisco and LA fixing that omission would improve the viability of that  rail corridor.
Posted by: George_Harris Posted on: Oct 31st, 2013, 6:38pm
on Oct 31st, 2013, 2:43pm, HSSRAIL wrote:       (Click here for original message)
Correction noted Oakland changed to Fresno.

My previous post modified accordingly.  
All I can say about major tunnels through faulted ground is that, technological advances or not, it is still a major undertaking and not for the fainthearted.  Someone who is going to be part of such a thing needs to carefully read all the exclusions in their life insurance policies.  
There will probably be at some time a report out analyzing the issues involved.  Meanwhile, it can be worthwhile to read up on recent exercises in long tunnel construction in the Alps and in Japan.  I am not talking about some of these planned tunnels, some of which approach hallucinaton status, but ones that are either under construction or fairly recently completed, such that they do incorporate recent developments in the field.  While doing it, pay attention to the ground conditions through which they were built and how they compare with that prevailing in the Bakersfield to Burbank area.  There is a fairly good amount of information available on ground conditions there, but there are a lot of gaps and unknowns as well.
Posted by: George_Harris Posted on: Aug 25th, 2015, 8:07pm
Construction is well under way in the Fresno area, in general starting with such things as the San Joaquin River bridge.  Now there is the beginning of clearing of the right of way through the middle of town where the line is adjacent to the UP (ex SP) line.  The newspaper article makes it sound like these are buildings of significance, but for the most part they were single story dumps.
Posted by: George_Harris Posted on: Sep 28th, 2017, 8:09pm
Here we are a little over 2 years since the last post, and it was mine, on this system.  Look at the following article in the Fresno Bee:
It has a short video, after suffering through a near two minute advertizement, that consists of an interview with the project chief and some views of structures near Fresno.  They are getting some impressive lines of columns in place.  This makes it far more likely that system will actually be completed.  Generally once any significant portion of any such projects gets to be usable and its benefits seen, opposition melts away.  
Worth noting that this post is 5 weeks short 9 years after the bond issue to fund this project was passed.  Working on high speed rail systems, or for that matter rail transportation projects of any kind is not for anyone in the "instant gratification" crowd.  Their discussion on schedule slippage very much confirms the comment made between two of us involved upon, several years back, saying the schedule revisions could be summed up in one sentence, "Not in our lifetime."  At least we are getting to see some concrete being poured and dirt being moved, and might even get a chance to ride a piece of the line in the middle of the valley.
Posted by: Henry Posted on: Sep 29th, 2017, 2:21am
Wow, they have actually spent some money on infrastructure and not just on jabber-mouthing about it?
Posted by: George_Harris Posted on: Nov 17th, 2017, 4:47pm
An announcement from the California HSR authority that they have chosen an operator for the  first segment in the Central Valley.  It is the German group out of those that submitted proposals.
The picture in the article looks suspiciously like it is a doctored up picture of the Taiwan train in Taipei Main Station.
There were four groups that submitted proposals.  The Japanese were notable by their absense.
If you go back to the press release that listed the proposals received on Sept 7, 2017 there were four:  "Proposals Received HSR 16-13 Request for Proposal for Early Train Operator"  found in:
These were:
China HSR ETO Consortium  (Chinese, obviously)
DB Engineering & Consulting USA  (German)
FS First Rail Group  (Italian)
Renfe  (Spanish)
Note that other than the Chinese, all these were European.  Amtrak was in the list of participants in the Renfe group, but that group had a cast of thousands so I have no idea how much Amtrak's experience would be respected, nor for that matter how much benefit it would be to the California system.  Since much of the Chinese HSR technology and concepts are knock offs of the Japanese technology, with the Chinese group we would have the benefit of much of the Japanese experience.   After all, the Shinkansen system probably carries more people in a couple of days than all these European systems combined do in a year.  We just won't mention the experience that many people have had with the consistency of Chinese quality.  But at the least we would then have cars with the dimensions of Shankansen cars.
The Europeans tend to be, at least in my perspective, very small minded, in quite a few ways,  Not the least in the size of their equipment.  Thanks to having a much narrower vehicle than the Japanese, they haul around much more metal per passenger than the Japanese.  Their cars are only a little wider than a bus (a little exaggeration their cars are just under 10 feet wide), while the Shinkansen cars are over 11 feet wide and can have 3-2 seating quite comfortably.  This extra width also means that you can have a high level platform for the Shinkansen car that meets ADA and at the same time will pass a standard American freight car.  This is not possible with the European cars.  
At the least, with the Germans we are probably getting the best of the bunch, although the Italians tend to be much better than they are usually given credit for being.  The Spanish are primarily warmed over French in their standards.
All this is just my own personal opinion for those that want to use it to make issues of things.
Posted by: ClydeDET Posted on: Dec 18th, 2017, 4:32pm
I find that very interesting, George. Maybe I will live to see something.
Everything seems to be quiet down here on that front. I (sadly) do not expect to see HS trains here in Tejas anytime soon enough to ride, but I suppose will eventually find out. Maybe.
Haven't tracked link, but recent SMITHSONIAN had a full page cover add for a proposed NEC Maglev. Gather probably same tech the Chinese are using. Supposed to supply an hour (or maybe an hour and a half) portal-to-portal NYC to DC. That would, I expect, do a considerable mischief to shuttle ridership, if prices were comparable and too much security wasn't added to the stations.