California High Speed Rail

Other countries have had high speed rail for decades. Now, California wants to build high speed rail from San Diego to Sacramento. Rail is by far the cheapest and most carbon friendly way to ship goods. High speed rail would reduce carbon emissions and provide an alternative way to get from LA to SF, as the train ride would be a mere 2 1/2 hours.

It will cost billions to build and, when you think about it, is a necessity. California and the rest of the US needs a modern high speed rail system.

  • rafael

    California’s HSR system is for passengers only. It will feature all-new grade-separated dual track featuring up to 3.5% grade, most of it next to but separate from existing freight rail and highway rights of way. All active fault systems will be crossed at grade. Trainsets will be electric, probably articulated for maximum crash safety and operate at speeds up to 220mph. If California voters approve a $9.95 billion bond measure in November 2008, expect trains with 400-800 seats to start running every 20 minutes in each direction in the 2018-2020 time frame. A one-way economy class ticket from SF to LA is expected to cost around $55 (in 2005 dollars).

    A much smaller and separate project for freight rail, the Alameda Corridor between the port of Los Angeles and the city center, has been in operation since 2002. Key to its success was an agreement between competitors UPRR and BNSF to share this grade-separated multi-track facility. It replaced separate single-track alignments featuring a total of over 200 level crossings.

    A particular concern is air quality in communities near the ports, as both ships and trucks emit large quantities of particulate matter and NOx. Switching to electric rail would go a long way toward improving both traffic and public health in the most heavily affected areas. In addition, ships will soon have to cold-iron while docked and use low-sulfur diesel in US territorial waters off the California coast.

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