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The Madera Tribune

Steep terrain presents HSR challenge

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webmaster | 09/01/12

I think you need to teach a class in the new engineering econ.

I think that scaling up a Lionel Electric Train and getting rid of the freight cars so that it can haul only people makes no sense. My other view of this is that we are going to build a hot rod using 19th century technology.

Our Zen Buddhist governor has proposed a budget 5 percent greater than last year’s budget and has threatened to curtail schooling and essential government services if we do not approve the taxes necessary to cover the increase.

He also proposes to sell billions in bonds to complete his father’s legacy, the peripheral canal, and billions in bonds to start his own legacy, the amusement park ride from near Madera to Hanford (HSR).

He and his buddies keep all sales tax revenue to cover state obligations and, as far as I can tell, laugh when cities and districts go bankrupt.

I conclude from a remark deep in your article that you do know that the original presentation to the public routed HSR through the Altamont Pass into the Central Valley. It has been a long time, but, I think, the route from S.F. Bay to the Diablo Valley was through Niles Canyon. These were old rail routes.

This is no longer necessary since BART now serves Livermore. This would terminate HSR in the Diablo Valley which is politically not viable. But, these trains cannot climb steep grades.

Since Santa Clara County and others on the peninsula refused to join BART and for other political reasons they now propose to route HSR along the rail line from S.F. through Gilroy then follow a new route near Highway 152 to the Pacheco Pass; flatland untill the Pacheco Pass. Then, there is an enormous technical problem. These trains cannot climb steep grades!

There is actually a practical route to serve the bay. Connect up to Bart at Bay Point near Port Chicago and follow the old rail routes into the valley. This would terminate HSR near Pittsburg which is not politically viable.

Once in the Central Valley the land is flat. The trains must be routed around the delta in the north and the preferred route is the east side in the south to minimize seismic hazard. However routed through the valley, at the Tehachapies, there is an enormous technical problem. Again, these trains cannot climb steep grades. That is why the propaganda cartoons on television always show these trains going in and out of tunnels. I think they are proposing the longest tunnel on earth!

The best route for High Speed Transit is to improve ground handling at airports so that planes can be handled in low visibility. ALS is available at most major airports now, but, the system on the ground cannot handle what cannot be seen. The FAA is behind the curve and still operating some WWII equipment.

HSR hurts economically and has no near term benefit. Now is not the time to be building monuments.

By the way, I think Pasadena would be an excellent place to build the nuclear power plants necessary to make up the current power deficit and power this project. These plants could also supply district heating.

Robert Christiansen,


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