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12 hours ago, Lord of Oop North said:

I think he has a good a shot as any. When Byford was brought on to Toronto, our system was not as bad as yours but it certainly wasn't running great. He also had a very hostile government to deal with. In the time he's been here, we haven't got a perfect system, but it has certainly improved a lot. 

Mostof all, I think that he really improved working relationships both within the Byzantine TTC and between the TTC and th city government. It is pretty impressive  considering that he was a complete outsider (came to Toronto via Australia). That experience should really help him in NYC.

And what hasn't improved and is causing the big crisis isn't really his fault anyway (Bombardier being late on streetcar deliveries).

I just read a New York Times article about him, if he can make congestion pricing happen, and get tolls on the East River bridges he might have a chance of getting the money he's going to need to accomplish something halfway positive, he's going to find out PDQ that talk, or even mention of the possibility of closing the subway at night on a permanent basis isn't going to go over well. Bombardier lost the chance to build the new subway cars here because of that.

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On 2018-01-10 at 4:20 PM, SpaceChampion said:

I wish we had more a extensive subway system in Toronto, but apparently the soil / bedrock is swiss cheese with underground ravines, so it is impractical in most places.

Well, decades of underinvestment will give that impression. 

Newfoundland doesn't have much of any public transit apart from buses in St John's. We once had a railway running all the way across the province, but the feds pulled the plus on it around 1990 with the promise of reinvesting in the Trans-Canada Highway. I suppose it's better than it was then, but passing lanes here and there don't make up for the ruts from the trucks, especially when said lanes are plowed more in theory than in practice in the winter...

Anyway, rail is viable when you want it to be viable. 

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Here’s a lovely shit sandwich typical of American public transportation infrastructure:


theyre renovating Los Angeles union station.

currently it is a stub end station and they need it to be a run through station.

what that means is that right now, all trains have to back out of a platform because there is no track in front of them. 

In front of them is the US101 freeway. So converting union station to run through entails building a rail bridge over the free way.

as part of the renovations they are building a new passenger concourse.

currently union station train platforms are at grade, passengers circulate through a tunnel beneath the platforms with long ramps up to the platform, it’s cramped and sometimes crowded, but efficient because via slight grades it funnels you out of the concourse to the at grade station without traversing stairs and elevators.

the above link has two proposals, one for a renovation of the current at grade concourse.

and the other is a soaring circular sky structure for the concourse. So when arriving at union station you have to ascend three stories of stairs to the passenger concourse and then descend another set of stairs to get to the platform. Arriving by train is the reverse, you have to go up then down.

Union station is the most important rail Nexis in Southern California. It uniefies heavy rail subways, light rail lines, cross country Amtrak, and metro link (a five county regional heavy rail commuter service), and eventually high speed rail.

and it’s rather effective and efficient for a passenger to make rail connections there. 

This proposal takes one easy and user friendly aspect of rail in Los Angeles and creates an anti passenger experience by complicating and extensively lengthening the commuting process. It’s a great way to deter ridership.

but I’m sure the pretty elevated structure is very appealing to the board of directors that will undoubtedly approve it.

Edited by lokisnow

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Posted (edited)


and the California Bullet train just increased in cost another eleven billion, it’s now up to a 77 billion estimate.

one of the biggest single line items in the cost increase is the environmental review for the full project is now estimated to cost over a billion dollars. I’m guessing most other countries don’t have billion dollar environmental reviews?

another major line items is that freight rail companies with tracks running parallel to the hsr in the same corridor have won the concession that the HSR has to build hundreds of miles of barriers to protect HSR passengers from the potential of the freight rail disrailing. I mean safety is good and all, but sheesh, this project can’t catch a break.


and in other HSR hostage news, environmentalists are concerned that HSR will cause the extinction of wildlife because it will run parallel to an interstate where that interstate has already caused 80 years of historic harm to wildlife corridors (but clearly HSR is responsible for those eighty years amiright?). Unless of course they can force the HSR to be elevated for the entire run of the area in question, or build them the wildlife overpasses for the corridor they want built.


Edited by lokisnow

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77 billion dollars is a lot for what is essentially just one line. Looks like their speed requirements are excessive. On the Wikipedia page it says they want to go 350 km/h. That's technically possible but the energy cost would be prohibitive. Maintenance cost probably too. So they're building a line to speed requirements way higher that what they'll use. But that's what politics will do to that kind of project.

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Posted (edited)

Actually they’ve publicly admitted that it will be the worlds slowest bullet train, mostly it will travel between 100 and 130 mph, with some extremely limited sections of over 200 mph. Mostly they don’t want to build the curve radii to allow for higher speeds, because it would involve more property takings. And because there is some serious Terrain and grades To traverse and they don’t want to have it going 200 uphill since the energy requirements would be massive.

the whole backbone project is a fairly bad idea, pushed by rail enthusiasts because there is no existing rail corridor between northern and Southern California, and the rail fetishists have wanted such a corridor for a hundred years (never built because of nasty geography options).

they should have started HSR construction with two high demand HSR commuter build outs to supply service from Palmdale to Anaheim via union station in Los Angeles and from Modesto to San Francisco in Northern California then worry about the stupid backbone in the future.

being able to get commuters from Anaheim to Los Angeles in twenty minutes or into San Francisco’s  would have proven HSR as a massive success because the demand for the service is in these corridors. 

Instead they wanted to build the extremely low demand, low revenue per track mile backbone first is because that’s the only place they’ll be able to build a straightaway allowing 200 mph + service and the rail fetishists are excited about that, additionally it was believed fed dollars and FRA approvals would not be available if they weren’t building a service that had 200 + speeds achieved.  They also thought they’d gain more public support building it in rural Ville instead it is out of sight out of mind for virtually all residents of California and support has cratered. On Fresno where it’s being built and people can see the progress support is much higher than the rest of the state.

Edited by lokisnow

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In better news, the large bore Barcelona-style tunnel (12m diameter) for cost effective subway construction is coming to America.


BART is building a 7.25 km extension into San Jose and Santa Clara (aka silicon valley), as part of that, they have officially opted for a large bore single tunnel rather than the traditional pair of 6-7m diameter tunnels.

This is absolutely massive development for transit in the United States. 

The vast majority of subterranean construction costs for subways are not in the tunneling, that is relatively cheap because of TBMs (tunnel boring machines).

The costs are all in the stations.  Most stations cost 500 million each to construct. 

This is because stations entail taking a half a kilometer of a major thoroughfare roadway, spending three years intermittently closing said roadway while relocating utilities, then spend two years excavating said roadway while intermittently closing it, and spending five years with concrete decking roadways while working underneath the decking while constructing a station palace underground, then spending a year restoring the roadway above the station palace while intermittently closing said roadway.

Needless to say, pretty much everyone near the construction hates the eleven years of disruption, annoyance and pain that building station palaces in the United States entails.

The Barcelona solution is to not build any station palaces. To not relocate any utilities. To not excavate any streets. 

Because if the tunnel is 12m in diameter you can have the platform inside the tunnel and not just the track inside the tunnel.

If the platform is inside the tunnel you don't have to build a station palace. You just have to cut into the tunnel to build ingress and egress to and from the platforms. 

That means your station access, rather than taking up half a kilometer of a major street instead takes up a single land parcel with an excavation that is basically in line with a normal tall building footing, nothing outrageous or especially expensive or disruptive about it.

Plus it allows for future infill stations rather easily.

Perhaps what is most remarkable about Silicon Valley adopting the Barcelona single bore method is this: using this method turned NIMBYs into YIMBYs.

Virtually every stakeholder immediately supported this option once they heard about it, a huge transformation. 

And in addition to all that, it costs less than the traditional twin bore+station palaces method. 

Win Win in transit policy.



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