Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
All the players are public authorities under different boards, as described in the update "The Players" in the diary.

North American terminology ... this always trips me up too, since I started riding trains in Oz, which used Commonwealth expressions ... a platform is a physical structure, an island platform will have two platform tracks. Wherever possible I try to say "island" and "platform track" and avoid "platform", but I probably do not entirely succeed.

TBT has money to start building the main building, but not to build the train box. They are trying to get the train box funded out of HSR stimulus funds.

As noted in the update, "The Players", CHSRA has no money at all right now. They are partially bond funded for $9b thanks to Prop 1A, and some of those bonds could be used for overheads and planning, but the bonds could not be sold because of the California budget crisis. The first post crisis state bond sale is scheduled for this week.

Whether CHSRA is seen as having no money, or access to $9b plus, they want to be on the hook for as little money as possible for the access tunnel and TBT train-box itself. Tunneling is expensive, and they have tunneling of their own to do south of San Jose and north of Los Angeles.

As in the update, the TBT is a transit/redevelopment authority, so they are public, operating under an independent board, with most of their funding so far coming from the state, some from the participating cities, very little from the transit-hating Bush administration, and hoping for much more from the Feds.

Claiming that they are a HSR project makes more Federal money possible ... CHSRA does not want that money tallied against their total, since under current economic conditions, they may need more Federal funding than they were hoping for, if they cannot get as much private funding as they were hoping for.

The opposing demands:

CHSRA wants 400m straight platforms, and 9 to 10 of them, and access capacity for 12tph. At least they say they do. What they really want? Unclear.

TBT seems to want a train-box that they can claim satisfies their long-standing local statutory requirement to serve as the terminus for both Caltrain and HSR, ideally without spending a dime of their own money. From the clip, building their original train box design as part of the original structure cuts the projected cost from $490m to $390m. If they can get $390m from the Feds to do that, they'll be very happy.

If the access tunnel can wait for eight years to start building, they are obviously just not going to worry about it, assuming that it can be sorted out closer to the time. By contrast, the California HSR authority is going to want to make sure that their share of the tunneling cost is as low as possible.

The TBT does not seem to see the train-box as something that will substantially increase the property value of the properties they are developing, so from that perspective there would be no incentive to do more than the bare minimum. For Peak Oil, De Nile seems to be more than a river in Egypt.

For the CA HSR authority A train box with an effective capacity of, say, 5 1/3 tph would mean a dramatically different mode of operation, and likely mean when they do their ridership survey a lower projected ridership, which would then undermine the size of the bids they can hope to receive to operate the services. So if I was guessing, they would be hoping to get the main northern terminus that does the most good for their ridership projections, without allocating more than the bare minimum in their budget to it.

A narrower but deeper 2-deck train box, with two side platforms and one island in each level and the mezzanine in between, could offer 6 HSR terminating platforms and 2 Caltrain platforms connected to tail tracks ... which could then be rolled out in two stages, with the mezzanine and lower deck done first, and Caltrain temporarily using two of the platforms intended for HSR, and then the upper deck and tail tracks built, and the lower deck side platforms rebuilt to HSR platform height.

6 platforms is plenty for 40 minute maximum allowable platform dwells (what the CHSRA asked for) and the 8tph access capacity.

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Mon Mar 23rd, 2009 at 02:09:08 PM EST
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