We hear that the California High Speed Rail Authority has finally gotten around to adopting resolutions of public necessity to begin acquiring some three dozen parcels of property for high-speed railroad rights-of-way. Click on http://www.fresnobee.com/2014/12/12/4283181/state-oks-condemnation-for-37.html?sp=/99/406/ So you’d think that everything regarding the right of way and projected rolling stock is all copacetic. Not quite.
It turns out that there is an intramural donnybrook going on as to what kind of rolling stock is to be used and where. One faction wants the high-speed electric trains to run on their own, dedicated special rights of way, while the other wants them to share rights of way (at least in some stretches) with regular, diesel-powered trains. But “the cost of installing an electrical system, buying new electric cars and operating a mixed system of electric and diesel trains is unknown.”
You can read all about this in today’s L.A. Times, in an article by Ralph Vartabedian, Bullet Train to L.A. Poses Issues, Dec. 14, 2014, at p. AA 1.
Our favorite item to come out of this latest kerfuffle is the dispatch that came out in a legislative committee hearing, that “bullet train doors would be 25 inches [that’s over two feet] higher than existing train doors on California’s cars in the Bay Area, where blended service is being planned.” So the high-speed cars could not use the same platforms as the existing trains.
So when will all that wonderful stuff come to pass? Oh, about 2028, or about a 15 years from now, reports the Times. The train is supposed to be operating then between Burbank and Modesto, even though nobody we know contemplates much travel between those two metropolises. And what will it all cost then? We fear that not even God is able to predict that, but being the cynical sort we tend to be when it comes to government projects, there is a distinct possibility that by then California will be broke, so it all may be academic.