Part of the Bay Area News Group

Archive for the 'high-speed rail' Category

Amtrak and mag-levity

ready, set ... GO!! 

As I noted earlier, the wheeled speed record set by France’s train à grande vitesse (for you non-francophones, that’s “high-speed train”) got everyone talking, especially Assemblywoman Fiona Ma, who was onboard when the train hit 357 mph.

The Scramento Bee’s Buzz column quibbled over the San Francisco legislator’s claim to have been aboard the world’s fastest train:

“The world’s fastest train remains a Japanese bullet train that hit Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Monday, April 9th, 2007
Under: Altamont Commuter Express, Capitol Corridor (Amtrak), driving, Environment, Freeways, high-speed rail, rail, Transit vs. driving | No Comments »

357 miles per hour: too fast for Fresno?

tgv-record.jpgAfter dropping $208 plus $105 in Commuter Checks for my monthly train ticket today, I should feel ripped off that it takes me 90 minutes to get to Oakland from the Central Valley.

Especially so after reading today that Assemblywoman Fiona Ma took a train that went a record-breaking 357 miles per hour through the Champagne region of France, the same type of train that I know could get me to Oakland in 11 minutes for a price so low that Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Wednesday, April 4th, 2007
Under: Capitol Corridor (Amtrak), Environment, Freeways, Funding, high-speed rail, rail, technology | 26 Comments »

lessons learned from the third world?


After many delays and distractions, I finally got a chance to hear how Rod Diridon‘s trip to Hong Kong went.

The Mineta Transportation Institute director and member of the California High Speed Rail Authority found that countries like India and China, where a few trains are still powered by coal and steam, regard the United States as Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Wednesday, December 6th, 2006
Under: Funding, high-speed rail, rail | 6 Comments »

how dense do we need to be for high-speed rail?

Map from The Ralph & Goldy Lewis Center for Regional Policy Studies,

LA density 2000.jpg

Now, I can’t claim to have lived a lifetime in California or anything, but I think I’m as California-centric as the next person.

Earlier this week, I mentioned that a European Union official intimated that the population density of parts of Europe might be responsible for the success of high-speed rail there. You can get to the next city’s downtown just as fast, if not faster, than you could fly there and make your way from the airport.

One of the comments, from Transit Dependent, took issue with such thinking:

I saw your conclusion, about California not being terribly dense, as a poor excuse for our meandering Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Friday, October 13th, 2006
Under: high-speed rail | 13 Comments »

for whom the road tolls

Photo from

tilting high speed rail from rewin-nl.jpg

The Bay Area’s dean of tranportation politics, Norm Mineta, was the star attraction at the annual meeting of the American Public Transportation Association.

What he had to say was, basically, that our transportation can’t go on being strictly public. What we need to do is get more private investors to help build our transportation infrastructure, as well as sucker Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Thursday, October 12th, 2006
Under: BART, Freeways, high-speed rail, rail, tolls | 1 Comment »

keeping up with the Jeanses

 Artwork by John Mattos from

train_stylized-John Mattos from mtc site.jpgThis week the American Public Transportation Association is having its annual confab in San Jose, chosen, I suppose, because it is a city on the cusp of being viably connected to the rest of the Bay Area.

What I got out of it was some instant national relevance for BART’s latest ridership record.

To avoid spending an extra Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Tuesday, October 10th, 2006
Under: BART, Capitol Corridor (Amtrak), Freeways, Funding, high-speed rail, Planning, rail | 6 Comments »

one ear to the rail

Photo from 

coastal tracks.jpg

Speaking of rail service, I was surprised to see some discussion down the coast about not simply saving the pathetic Coast Starlight Amtrak route from LA to Seattle, but add to it.

According to this account, communities along the line between the Bay Area and LA would like to see a daytime route named Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Thursday, August 17th, 2006
Under: Caltrain, high-speed rail, rail, transit equity | No Comments »

coasting into Amtrak’s twilight

MAP-LG_coaststarlight.gifIt’s official. High-speed rail is not the same thing as Amtrak’s Coast Starlight line.

Here’s a train service that is scheduled, I mean scheduled, to take twice as long to get to LA from the Bay Area as you can drive.

But now we have a grim pronouncement from the Train Riders Association of California that passengers can expect not only an average speed of 40 mph along the line, but they are also routinely experiencing 5- to 11 1/2-hour delays.

I’ve read that the ride is quite a scenic treat, running (or rather, plodding) through the  Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Thursday, July 27th, 2006
Under: high-speed rail, rail | 1 Comment »

to infinity! and beyond!

In the midst of Sacramento’s efforts to save the prison system, get the state budget passed, boost the infrastructure bond and avoid Phil Angelides, the legislature and governor took a few moments out to affirm that high-speed rail is the absolute slowest mode of travel between government and the voters.

This leg of a very long journey began four years ago, when the legislature approved a $10 billion bond measure that was to go before the voters on the November, 2004 ballot.
Then came Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s bond measure to dig the state out of its massive revenue shortfall, which today’s windfall will help pay off early. That bond measure prompted the delay Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Tuesday, June 27th, 2006
Under: Environment, Funding, high-speed rail, transit equity | 1 Comment »