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Passenger Trains > CA HSR -- entering Bay Area via Altamont Pass


Date: 10/15/20 08:33
CA HSR -- entering Bay Area via Altamont Pass
Author: WP17

The current alignment/route for CA High Speed Rail to approach its northern terminus in the Bay Area is through Pacheco Pass west to around Gilroy and then follow the UP tracks to San Jose and then the CalTrain tracks up to San Francisco. There have been several proposals to enter the Bay Area further north through the Altamont Pass, but none of these indicate a proposed route once the trains enter the Livermore Valley. Following the existing UP/ACE alignment through Sunol and Niles Canyon seems to be a long roundabout way. I'm wondering if anyone on this board is aware of any proposed alignment west of Altamont Pass all the way into downtown San Francisco or has a suggestion of their own. I'm trying to assess this alternative and would like some possible routes to consider.

Many of us on this board have very strong opinions about both CA HSR in general and how it's being currently implemented in particular. A request: Please restrict your responses on this thread to the specific issue of alignment and let's save the more general discussion to another time and place. Thanks

WP17 



Date: 10/15/20 11:02
Re: CA HSR -- entering Bay Area via Altamont Pass
Author: will74205

Altamont vs Pacheco alignment had been debated numerous times before, with both has some merits. Costwise they are about the same, including the new Bay crossing and Pacheco tunnel.

Altamont:
- faster SJ-Sacramento trip time (but this may be double investment of Capitol Corridor)
- new passenger-only railroad through Altamont Pass; faster running time compare to existing ACE
- does not serve San Jose directly unless curves downwards, which increases SF-LA, SJ-LA time compare to Pacheco, or have multiple Bay terminii
- to have equal SF-LA time compare to Pacheco, a new rail bridge needed to be built, perhaps replacing the Dumbarton rail bridge
- no obvious alignment through Fremont without tearing down houses

Pacheco
- faster SJ-LA time
- serves SF and SJ in one line (unless Altamont curves down to avoid new Bay crossing)
- does not serve Altamont Pass commuter market
- does not improve SJ-Sacramento time (although improvements on Capitol Corridor were already planned)



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 10/15/20 11:11 by will74205.



Date: 10/15/20 12:10
Re: CA HSR -- entering Bay Area via Altamont Pass
Author: goduckies

Or C neither...and save the money.

Posted from Android



Date: 10/15/20 14:58
Re: CA HSR -- entering Bay Area via Altamont Pass
Author: dwatry

Take a look at Fig 2.5-3 in the Program EIR for the Northern California segment of the CHSR system.  It shows all the alternative alignments considered in the Bay Area.   Link below.

https://hsr.ca.gov/docs/programs/bay_area_eir/2008_Bay_to_CV_EIR_EIS_Volume_1.pdf



Date: 10/15/20 16:08
Re: CA HSR -- entering Bay Area via Altamont Pass
Author: WP17

dwatry Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Take a look at Fig 2.5-3 in the Program EIR for
> the Northern California segment of the CHSR
> system.  It shows all the alternative alignments
> considered in the Bay Area.   Link below.
>
> https://hsr.ca.gov/docs/programs/bay_area_eir/2008
> _Bay_to_CV_EIR_EIS_Volume_1.pdf

Duncan:

Thanks for the link. Just what I was looking for. I find it interesting that the various Altamont alignments all traverse the Niles Canyon area rather than heading directly west towars Castro Valley. 

WP17



Date: 10/16/20 00:15
Re: CA HSR -- entering Bay Area via Altamont Pass
Author: cchan006

WP17 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Thanks for the link. Just what I was looking for.
> I find it interesting that the various Altamont
> alignments all traverse the Niles Canyon area
> rather than heading directly west towars Castro
> Valley. 
>
> WP17

There's a geographical reason why, which may not be obvious to people unfamiliar with the Bay Area. Will74205 already mentioned the reason above: Dumbarton Bridge.

You might already know this, but for others who may not know, Prop 1A is supposed to connect San Francisco to Los Angeles first. Going over Castro Valley (following the current BART alignment, which WON'T be shared without additional land acquisitions) means "inexpensive" bridge options to reach San Francisco is off the table. Closest bridge using Casto Valley, San Mateo Bridge is longer than the Bay Bridge, because San Francisco Bay is wider there. So a Castro Valley alignment is feasible if Oakland is the primary destination, and other public transportation (BART, buses )is used to connect HSR riders to San Francisco.

Altamont Pass usually has Niles Canyon included, to reach the Dumbarton Bridge to Redwood City, then to follow the Caltrain alignment to San Francisco. When Sierra Club was signed up to support CA HSR around 2004 (4 years before it was legislated as Prop 1A), they strongly supported the Altamont alignment.

BART to San Jose project "reappropriated" any funds allocated to the Dumbarton Bridge rehab project to BART, which happened a few years ago. So if you read between the lines, Altamont Pass alignment is not an option at this time.

CA HSR planners obviously ignored the idea of a transit network (like Tokyo), where BART can act like the Yamonote Line loop, where CA HSR riders can access the rest of the Bay Area via non-HSR trains. They can de-train at Fremont/Union City then use BART to access the rest of the Bay Area like San Jose, Oakland, San Francisco, and other cities served by BART. That would make Altamont Pass alignment feasible, but unfortunately, our automotive society will find that idea "unpalatable."



Date: 10/17/20 15:52
Re: CA HSR -- entering Bay Area via Altamont Pass
Author: SanDiegan

Altamont and Tejon always made more sense. Political corruption got in the way. Joining the Pacific Surfliner and San Joaqin Corridors by building high speed segments on Tejon (Burbank Junction-Bakersfield) and Altamont (Tracy to Redwood City via Dumbarton) should have been the first priority. It would have cut L.A-Bay Area travel time by 33%, from 9 hrs. to 6 hrs., while increasing trip pairs and preserving local service in the valley. Building on the success of the first phase, the second phase would be a high speed bypass, along the the I-5 corridor from Grapevine to Altamont for L.A.-Bay Area express trains, which would cut travel time by another 33% to 3 hrs. This is how it would have been done in Europe and is why private investors walked away from the project when the political desicison was made to go the longer, more disruptive and expensive route through Palmdale and Gilroy.



Date: 10/18/20 23:30
Re: CA HSR -- entering Bay Area via Altamont Pass
Author: ORNHOO

One *really* out there idea I had once while looking at my California atlas ( that never seems to have been considered) would be to route from San Jose to Gilroy to Hollister (then tunnel) and then due east to the San Joaquin Valley mainline somewhere between Madera and Fresno.



Date: 10/18/20 23:51
Re: CA HSR -- entering Bay Area via Altamont Pass
Author: cchan006

ORNHOO Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> One *really* out there idea I had once while
> looking at my California atlas ( that never seems
> to have been considered) would be to route from
> San Jose to Gilroy to Hollister (then tunnel) and
> then due east to the San Joaquin Valley mainline
> somewhere between Madera and Fresno.

Need SP folks to verify this, but it WAS considered before HSR, part of the San Benito Railroad plan? Panoche Rd. between Hwy 25 and I-5 could have been the alignment. A relatively short route to Fresno.

Tunneling east from Hollister probably isn't much better than Pacheco Pass.



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