Electric bullet train coming to California

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While Californians were protecting gay people from the horror of marriage on Tuesday, they were not afraid to send miles of high-speed bullet trains screaming through of the loins of the state. With the passing of Proposition 1A a bond will be issued to fund part of the development of the 220MPH electric train that will connect Sacramento to San Diego (with a little fork to reach San Francisco). Despite the $45 billion price tag, it is generally thought that the California High-Speed Rail Authority’s program will be cheaper overall than a similar capacity expansion of the state’s freeway system.

Plus, you know, bullet trains are nifty. And easier on the environment than cars or planes.

It’s unclear when the first routes would start operating, but we’re obviously several years away from seeing the system fully in place. The Authority is aiming to carry 100 million passengers a year by 2030.

California High Speed Rail Authority info page [cahighspeedrail.ca.gov]
Rail lines on Google Maps

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24 Responses to Electric bullet train coming to California

  1. artbot says:

    The reason these things won’t work in this country is that there are no effective connection systems in place to take advantage of the HS rail. Perhaps at the major city destinations there is, but for anything in between, zippo. Therefore, a HS train running from SF to LA doesn’t offer any clear advantage over planes or driving. And God forbid any bullet train run by Amtrak, the most inept and miserable transportation organization on the earth.

    Now, if there were a web of bullet trains connecting every major American city (we can leave out The South to save money), then you’d have something. By the time anything like that could be built, space travel will probably be a more efficient means of transport between cities.

    The European/Asian examples that are always put up as success stories of HS rail are successes for a reason: Thousands of miles of connecting rail routes, buses, ferries, all within countries the size of Utah.

  2. ridl says:

    boo and hiss to the naysayers.

    i’ve been waiting for this country to wake up and start reinvesting in rail infrastructure most of my 29ish years. I’m glad Cali’s doing it. Where Cali goes, there go the rest of us.

    Bullet Train down the I5 Corridor FTW!

    Also, zeppelins.

  3. caseyd says:

    we have to build these things while we can – so my kid can drive oxen-hauled carts of avocados down to LA in the future.

  4. spazzm says:

    So, in 22 years the US will have technology that Japan and Europe has been enjoying for years already?

    Yay.

    I’m assuming these trains go fast enough to suprise slow moving bovines,…

    Snails go fast enough to surprise bovines.
    Heck, stationary objects surprise bovines. The sky surprises bovines.
    They are not known to be particularly bright.
    Which is a good thing, because if they were they’d follow the tracks and escape the deadly clutches of Mickey D.

  5. muteboy says:

    Amtrak won’t own or run it.

    It will have PTC, and be completely separate from other trains and roads.

    The Reason Foundation report is riddled with wilful misunderstandings and distortions. Don’t trust any organisation with the words “Reason”, “Truth” or “Common Sense” in their names.

    Not building it because some of the stations don’t have supporting links is a backwards argument. Someone’s got to be first. Many of the cities involved are working on metro systems.

    There will be fences and “intrusion detection”.

    The bond measure will not cause new taxes.

    Oh, and that pic is a frame from the video. It looks better moving.

  6. jamesey says:

    1. If this was a good idea, a train company like Amtrak would have tried to get this going years ago.

    2. The taxes earmarked for the project will be funneled into other projects to offset the state’s budget immediate crisis. Tax payers will never see a tax reduction for this. Everyone in the state is about to get a 2% hike in sales tax as well.

    3. This thing is never going to be built, and we Californians will pay higher taxes for no reason. If it does get built, we’ve gotta wait 22 years to use it.

    4. The I-5 (and 101) does a fine job of handling traffic between LA and SF. Granted, holidays are a bit busy, but the rest of the year, people drive between the two sites just fine.

  7. Anonymous says:

    With all that money they could have made a better graphic rendition. This one is terrible!

  8. sunbreaks says:

    I never thought to wonder about cows getting hit by these things; will that be a problem? How will they stop them from wandering on to the tracks? I’m assuming these trains go fast enough to suprise slow moving bovines, but I’m sure they’ve figured out a method to deal with that issue. Or I guess maybe the train won’t go through pastures. Still the image of a fast moving electric train spearing an unwitting cow is something I’m not going to get out of my head any time soon.

  9. aj says:

    Fencing, or elevation, or both.

  10. the Other michael says:

    blaine is a pain and that is the truth

  11. celynnen says:

    They’re going to have to provide for species migration one way or the other or it will never pass CEQA or NEPA. I think cows will be the least of their concerns.

  12. SuperMarina says:

    Since I work in a train-related industry, I felt a bit selfish voting for this one…

    But bullet trains are just too cool!

  13. 5000! says:

    The train will absolutely go through pastures. In fact, it has to built pretty much in a straight line between here and SF and it’s going to go right through all kinds of stuff and there’s not much they can to accommodate agricultural, environmentally sensitive or historic properties.

    I wish I could be more excited about the prospect of this, but it’s still a long, long way from becoming a reality and there’s a lot more wrong with it than it seems on first blush.

  14. Anonymous says:

    I’ve been on Japan’s Shinkansen “Bullet” trains hundreds of times in the past 10 years. Great high-speed public transport in a country that “needs” high-speed public transport. California is so much a driving culture that we will never EVER accomplish this project. Also, with Amtrak’s (and in general the U.S.’s) shoddy rail transport safety record in the past 10 years alone proves that we do not have the discipline nor the attention to detail to keep a high-speed rail system safe. I’d take my chances on the 5 Freeway any day than trust that death trap. They can’t even keep up with their own rail schedule! Hey Amtrak! Show me 10 or 20 years of accident-free operation then maybe we’ll talk.

  15. Anonymous says:

    I’ve been on Japan’s Shinkansen “Bullet” trains hundreds of times in the past 10 years. Great high-speed public transport in a country that “needs” high-speed public transport. California is so much a driving culture that we will never EVER accomplish this project. Also, with Amtrak’s (and in general the U.S.’s) shoddy rail transport safety record in the past 10 years alone proves that we do not have the discipline nor the attention to detail to keep a high-speed rail system safe. I’d take my chances on the 5 Freeway any day than trust that death trap. They can’t even keep up with their own rail schedule! Hey Amtrak! Show me 10 or 20 years of accident-free operation then maybe we’ll talk.

  16. walkabout1952 says:

    At some point we need to take steps to move into the future. In past the road system everyone seems to want to protect was just such a step. We are ready for new steps.

  17. Anonymous says:

    Oh, you don’t have to worry about the cows – this thing will never get built! “The high-speed rail system will cost tens of billions more than advertised and ridership numbers will be much lower than predicted, according to a due diligence report on the California High-Speed Rail Authority’s plans.”

    And as for “100 million passengers”? “After compiling numerous ridership studies previously conducted for California rail systems, the study demonstrates the state can expect 23 million to 31 million riders a year in 2030.”

    According to the Reason Foundation Policy Study 370.

  18. Stefan Jones says:

    Bullet trains will be equipped with electromagnetic cow-catchers that fling offending bovines to the side at speeds exceeding 139 kph.

    “You never realize how many parts a cow has inside until you see one busted open like that.” — Red Green.

  19. dculberson says:

    *cough* *cough* *sputter* forty five billion dollars. Ouch. Good thing California isn’t having major budget issues! Oh wait…

  20. Not a Doktor says:

    @#10 HAHAHAHAHA You think Amtrak some level of compentency.

  21. dequeued says:

    Agreed on Muteboy.

    Just because the connecting cities don’t have good mass transit is no argument against HSR.
    If someone wanted to build a good subway system in a city along the way, people would use the exact same argument, that a subway would be pointless without good intra-city transit.

    Starting top-down with a good HSR trunk acting as the “spine” is the best way to build a modern transportation infrastructure.

  22. OLAF9000 says:

    U know, we could really really really use a bullet train to fix the 91 freeway! or the 5 or the 405 but the 91 is the worst of all offenders really…

  23. dequeued says:

    @JAMESEY
    Amtrak is struggling to make ends meet, and having to slash routes, and beg the government to support them.
    The last thing they could do is open up a new high speed route in CA.

    High speed rail is a proven technology that has worked out well in Europe and Asia.
    It has many advantages over America’s transportation mono culture.
    It scales much better, and is much less sensitive to energy costs.

    Also, after initial government investment, it usually becomes profitable and can pay for it’s own expansion.
    Look at Japan and France…

    Once the infrastructure is in place, we can encourage airline companies to lease and operate their own high speed trains as well.

  24. urshrew says:

    Its funny when people complain about any state investment in mass transit as if roads for personal vehicles were paid for by magical bunnies and fairy investments. Roads were built by HUGE government subsidies, too, and from a certain perspective could be viewed just as wasteful.

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