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Details for high-speed rail displayed at open house

The California High Speed Rail Authority held an open house on Thursday at Alhambra City Hall to share its plans for the high-speed rail project, with special attention paid to the portion connecting Los Angeles and San Diego.

The open house featured a video presentation, as well as a line of placards explaining the planning process, the amount of funding accumulated thus far, the paths that are being considered, and the comparison of noise levels of coming from at-grade, above-grade and below-grade rails.

The CHSRA expects to start the building process with 123 miles of track in the Central Valley. The tracks will extend from Madera, just north of Fresno, down to Bakersfield. Construction is expected to begin in the second half of 2012. After the completion of the 123 miles of track, which the CHSRA described as "the backbone," it will then be decided if construction will continue up north to the Bay Area, or down south towards Los Angeles. The rail is expected to extend from Sacramento to San Diego upon completion.

Explaining why the project is being approached in a piece-meal fashion, Regional Manager Jose Martinez said that construction is dependent on funding.

"What we do will be contingent on funding. So it's being built incrementally," Martinez said. "We start with this core at the Central Valley, but essentially we have to go to where many of the people are, in northern and southern parts of the state."

The project currently has approximately $6 billion in state and federal funding. The CHSRA estimates that the entirely of the project will cost about $43 billion. Funding has been a hot button topic as of late, as Congress had eliminated subsidies for local high-speed rail projects back in April.

The majority of the placards traced the proposed pathways going from East Los Angeles to the San Gabriel Valley. In the propose routes, the train will enter East LA through Union Station, then connect with either the 10 Freeway or the 60 Freeway.

Another set of placards compared the varying noise levels of railways on different grades. According to the graphics, the noise coming from an aerial rail would be one to two decibels higher than that of a ground-level rail, while the noise from a trench rail would be five to seven decibels lower than that of a ground-level rail. For a train going below 160 mph, the placement of a 12 foot sound barrier along the sides of the rail would reduce noise by five to nine decibels. Putting the numbers in perspective, the graphics stated that a rise of 10 decibels is perceived by the human ear as a doubling of the original sound.

More open houses are planned for the upcoming weeks, with one in Rosemead on June 29 at the Rosemead Community Recreation Center. A listing of schedules and locations can be found at the CHSRA's events calendar.

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2 thoughts on “Details for high-speed rail displayed at open house”

  1. It did seem like a farce to me as well. The people staffing it were nice and very knowledgeable but the whole show was literally that.

    Public comments were not really welcome or wanted, the details of the construction were super technical to make it seem like the answers were already in place and the thing is being built in the Fresno to Bakersfield corridor. Nothing is planned to be built anywhere near us for 5 years and the funding isn’t really in place.

    They kept falling back on how may jobs it will create but if that’s the goal, then let’s just hire people to do stuff here in LA. Why build a railroad to nowhere in the middle of San Juaqin valley?

  2. The Whole thing was a farce – Little info was effectively transfer from the materials and people weren’t really even told there was a small white box for comments and cocnerns regarding the >$10BBBBB LAUnion Station – San Deigo Segment

    The “Open Houses” are only to record the “public participation” – clock the time and chat with staffer/consultants/hangerson and local officials – to make them feel that someone is “listening” to them.

    My comments into the white box were
    Give us good rail service – Convert exisitng LOSSAN/MetroLink/AmTrak Routes to moderate speed rail – 100+mph

    Give realistic times for the trip – reported as 80 minutes to do 170 miles = 200+mph counting any station stop

    BUT If HSRA chooses HSR – Make it real high speed – Eliminate all but one station in the Riverside area AND
    > Eliminate any grade greater than 1%,
    > Have changes in grade (vertical curve at least 6000ft
    > Eliminate any horizontal curves of less than 8000ft radius – suitable for sustained speeds of 125mph
    > Any elevated section <40ft above ground to top of rail
    > Any bored underground section >50ft below ground

    Without these changes CHSRA can’t meet the trip/speed requirements….

    BUT If HSRA chooses a Route -> West of Ontario –
    > Withdraw I-10/ElMonte Route to Union Station;
    > Use only Montebello/SR60 Route
    > Underground route west of Montebello (better east of SanGabriel River) to
    LA Union Station

    BUT If HSRA chooses I-10 Route –
    Eliminate the El Monte Station and Withdraw Station entirely
    Go underground from 2miles east of El Monte site to Union Station –
    Put Double cross-over in portal structure or tunnels

    BUT If HSRA chooses to keep the El Monte Station go underground west of I605 to LAUS
    NO above/elevated ground rail west of ElMonte –
    [LACMEd Reyes got much of the Palmdale Route through Chinatown/Lincoln Heights/ CypressPark underground] –
    Withdraw all at or above grade facilities west of Ontario, except for portal at 1% grade

    > Fully underground Union Station LA-SanDiego Platforms and LA-Palmdale Route –

    > Withdraw any at/above grade or at/above platform level facilities west of LA River