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2017 in California HSR: Caltrain Wins Bigly + Las Vegas Bullet Train 🚄 Future Transit USA

2017 has been a surprisingly good year
for high-speed rail in the United States. With the assistance of a growing base of non-partisan pro-train grassroots activists such as myself and the good
folks over it the High-Speed Rail America Club, two significant privately
funded high-speed rail projects in Florida and Texas have cast the car
culture loving NIMBYs who oppose them to the side, and are on track to begin
operating in the actually foreseeable future. Here in California, similar
successes have been had with our own high-speed rail project, despite the best
efforts of California’s rail-hating Republican congressional delegation, who spitefully attempted to derail a piece of the project’s federal funding by
asking Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao not to sign the final
approval of over $600 Million that had already been approved
by Congress. But, on May 22nd 2017, after several months of frustrating hesitation
Mrs. Chao at long last caved in to the voices of reason who had
for months clogged USDOT’s phone and email systems urging her to sign off on
the funding as Congress had intended and allowing the electrification of the
high-speed rail’s future route into San Francisco to proceed. While the city of
Atherton, California and their private attorney, California’s NIMBY-In-Chief Mr.
Stuart Flashman will continue to waste Atherton taxpayer dollars with annual
frivolous lawsuits, the courts of California will most likely continue to
dismiss those redundant and baseless legal challenges just as they did in
2016. ‘Constitution California Constitution says when the voters
approve a measure and you want to change it you’ve got to go back to the voters
they didn’t want to do that and so they’ve done and taken the shortcut it’s
illegal and we are filing a lawsuit to challenge’
The argument Stuart is still making, one that has already failed in court at
least once, is that because the California high-speed rail will use the
existing route of Caltrain between San Jose and 4th and King Street in San
Francisco, it is somehow a violation of the language in Proposition 1A; the 2008
ballot initiative with which voters initially authorized the California
high-speed rail project. Essentially, Stuart says that we can’t use the money
voters set aside to improve passenger rail service frequency and shorten
journey times – to improve passenger rail service frequency and shorten journey
times, because the first trains to use the new infrastructure would be trains
that already exist… You can probably see why Stuart and the City of Atherton were
laughed out of court the first time, and you can bet they will be again – so at
least for the time being, all is well for California high-speed rail. Even better
than you might have thought, in fact! It has been over 20 years since one could
last take a train between Los Angeles and Las Vegas, Amtrak’s Desert Wind train service between the two cities having been discontinued in 1997, a time when
beating up on Amtrak in the federal budget was apparently a fashionable
thing to do. But after many years of hard work and collaboration between state,
county and municipal governments, the tide is finally turning for passenger
rail between LA and Vegas, and it’s beginning to look like the once fully-hypothetical XpressWest bullet train might actually happen, in spite of a
number of early setbacks including opposition to providing any federal
support to XpressWest from House Speaker Paul Ryan and Evilest-Elf-on-the-Shelf, former Senator Jeff Sessions – neither of whom ever seem to be on the
right side of anything. Before you rip into me too hard
in the comments section for being a partisan hack I should note that a
number of the heroes in the still-unfurling story of XpressWest are in
fact Republican politicians, although with the exception of Republican senator
from Nevada Dean Heller none of those Republicans serve in
either house of Congress. Along with former Democratic Senator Harry Reid,
senator Heller introduced legislation in 2016 which would have made it easier for
XpressWest to acquire needed right-of-way along Interstate 15.
Unfortunately, as is the fate of most bills, senator Heller’s bill died in
committee. But, let it not be forgotten that he did try. Fortunately, the death of
Heller’s right-of-way bill did not represent the death of XpressWest and
much to my own pleasant surprise, neither did the loss of XpressWest’s former
Chinese partner in the project, mainly due to issues surrounding the Buy
America Act – a law requiring that rail cars be built in the United States if
they are to receive any sort of government financing. Now, back in 2015
the people of Nevada had grown tired of the endless stops and starts of the
various rail projects aiming to fill the void left by the loss of Amtrak’s Desert
Wind in 1997. Having missed several opportunities to obtain federal funding
during the Obama administration due to the lack of government participation in
these various rail projects. In the spring of 2015 the Nevada State
Legislature passed Senate bill 457 with a nearly unanimous vote. On May 27th 2015 Nevada’s Republican Governor Brian Sandoval signed SB 457 into law and the
Nevada High-Speed Rail Authority was born. Since its formation, the Nevada
High-Speed Rail Authority has been working in partnership with XpressWest
to bring the dream into reality and continues to assist XpressWest as it
hacks through the extensive red tape of United States railroad law, and works to
acquire all of the needed right-of-way along the I-15 corridor between the
Vegas strip and Victorville California. West of Victorville the route enters a
more densely populated region of Southern California where the density of
development increases significantly compared to the sparsely populated lands along I-15. As a result of the increased density, the cost of building the line
increases dramatically here to the point that XpressWest
would be unable to proceed on its own. Fortunately, the traffic weary people of
Southern California have been more than happy to foot the bill for
this section. and this section of the future route is being developed by the
high desert corridor joint powers authority a special purpose district
established to develop the line between Palmdale in Los Angeles County in
Victorville in San Bernardino County most likely as a toll freeway with
high-speed rail tracks in the median as well as bicycle and pedestrian
improvements along the way note that the two most powerful members
on the high desert corridor joint powers authority are Los Angeles County
Supervisor Catherine Barger and San Bernardino County Supervisor Robert Lovingood, both Republicans. With the exception of
Republicans in Congress who aren’t Dean Heller, friends of passenger rail
transportation can be found in either major political party, albeit much
more so at state and local levels where governance is generally a bit less of a
partisan circus. The section within Los Angeles County is already at least
partially funded thanks to the landslide approval of a transportation funding
sales tax increase by LA County voters in November of 2016. It remains to be
seen how the portion of the line between
Victorville and the LA County line will be funded in San Bernardino County but
I’m sure that supervisor Lovingood is cooking something up. The high desert
corridor of XpressWest is especially important because it will enable one
seat service between Vegas and LA once the California high-speed Rail has been
completed, with future XpressWest Trains expected to share the high-speed
rail tracks between La Union Station and Palmdale. While no dates have been
formally announced for the initiation of XpressWest service, as of summer 2017
things are looking very promising and the pretty horizon of passenger rail
service between LA and Las Vegas appears nearer by the day.

100 thoughts on “2017 in California HSR: Caltrain Wins Bigly + Las Vegas Bullet Train 🚄 Future Transit USA

  1. Excellent information in this video, well done. Looking forward to the completion of CaHSR and XpressWest hopefully, sooner rather than later.

  2. Only in California they continue to spend tax payer money, while Texas and Florida privately funded theirs. Its doom from start cost over run and bloody expensive with california over the top taxes.

  3. A lot of contractors and businesses will do very well off this project. In the end I am sure there will be at least one or two sections that will qualify as high speed. It will be more of a Six Flags or Disney attraction. Some people collect stamps, some watch birds, and some like trains.

  4. We should kill CAHSR and instead let urban areas build high speed regional rail based on metrolink routes but grade separated. That is what is truly needed to fight traffic, into/out of cities/suburbs.

  5. IF california still had s right wing fanatic governor (arnold) we would be hooking up horse and buggies

    CONS only care about themselves and rich friends

  6. One or two aircraft carriers would easily pay for this and other projects without any pain. We have all our priorities screwed up big time. Our politicians need vision . So how about turning loose that tunnel boring machine to create a trans-Sierra straight-shot route between Fresno and Vegas cutting down the distance of that huge 300 mi circuitous route around the Sierras from Bakersfield to Stockton? This would create the first leg of a trans-America bullet train.  And why do farmers have to take the hit? Can't we afford both new dams and new trains?  All we have to do is cut back on bloated military spending in every country in the world being the world's policeman.

  7. We need Bernie in office, i dont even give a fuck about his beliefs anymore hes the only man who advocated for public transportation expansion

  8. What makes you think that people are going to pay the fares to take a train to Vegas when they wouldn't pay before? The fares to Vegas will be at least double to what it used to be. Not to mention, airlines that fly to Vegas. Complete waste of money.

  9. I`d like to warn everyone who posted comments to be aware of a TOTALLY AUTOMOBILIATED MORON GOING BY: ' J. Calhoun '!! This guy says: "build all the passenger trains you want, just not on my dime!"; make a sensible, intelligent effort to prove to this jackass that his MOST FAVORITE TWO OTHER MODES, THE AUTOMOBILE AND THE AIRPLANE, HAVE NEVER PAID THEIR OWN WAY FOR ANYTHING THAT THEY`'VE RECEIVED SINCE THEIR INCEPTION!!

    He (Or she) will then tell you about railroad land grants, and other choice items from the transcontinental railroad days,and then further (EXTREMELY STUPIDLY) state that "trains are an old, outdated technology…." I then ask him/her (I think I`ll use the term "it"): "HOW OLD IS THE WHEEL, AND IS IT PRESENTLY OUTDATED?!"…..I receive no answer; thus proving that the automobiliated mind is TRULY an ADDICTED mind!!



  10. Have you ever driven from LA to LV or back?
    You don't even have to get stuck in the traffic jam to go slow.
    Everybody slows down to 20 to 30 mph no matter what.
    Because the road goes over the mountain, the air becomes pretty thin at near the top, the engine just doesn't run as fast as it does at the sea level.

    There's no such problem with the electrified train.
    Even at slow speed of 120 mph, the difference is night and day.
    Over 200 mph?
    I'll visit LV weekly.

  11. California has been insolvent for nearly 20 years. California cannot dig itself out of a hole that borrow-and-spend has created. The California HSR project is a Federal bailout disguised as a mass transit project. Today, the California HSR budget has ballooned to over $90billion with no let up in sight. The California HSR is pure pork and boondoggle. First, California's HSR is not high speed rail in any sense of the word; its average speed is 55mph. The proposed rail starts at LA Union Station, makes nearly half dozen stops along the way to the Grape Vine, a region of mountainous terrain. At the Grape Vine travelers must abandon their train and board a bus that will take them over the Grape Vine and into the city of Bakersfield where a second non-HSR train will continue their northern journey. The current $90billion budget does not include any construction and design of HSR rail from Bakersfield to Frisco, only a preliminary feasibility report. As there is no profitable mass transit in the entire world (including Moscow, Japan, China) the California HSR project will require future government subsidies in the form of higher taxes and fares to sustain it. As electric vehicles gain popularity the reduction in gasoline tax collection will also means more money diverted from highway construction/maintenance to mass transit. As California's cities are less densely populated due to urban sprawl , HSR makes no economic or transportation sense. The primary beneficiaries of California HSR are the construction companies, the trade unions and their members.

  12. I really want to do the miserable drive through the traffic to Victorville, leave my car there unsupervised, skip the really beautiful part of the drive, and then not have a car in Vegas. Winning!

    Not to mention the tens of thousands of dollars each ride will cost, even if taxpayers pick up the majority of the tab. Like driving a Tesla, with an 85% tax subsidy–you're welcome, Elon!

    What is the point of extending the runway all the way to the destination? And Obama's crack about not having to take our shoes off notwithstanding, does anyone think it won't be a target for terrorism? And it can't be protected just by screening passengers–EVERY SINGLE FOOT will need to be patrolled 24/7. It will require the building of TWO walls–so much for the view!

  13. As a Texan I'm waiting for this project to come full circle and see how it works out for you guys. I won't support hsr in Texas if it goes badly for you guys. So you all in a way are the guinea pigs for the rest of the country. fingers crossed that it goes over well.

  14. Just to be clear Im mainly republican and I fully support these projects as they help further our infrastructure and are shown to help communities near these networks. The only thing is that if these projects are in government hands then it usually goes much slower (compare Brightline Progress to California High Speed).

  15. American like to talk, discuss and talk when it comes to budget for a new infrastructure project( not to mention abandon or postponed in the middle of the project) and its come to the final decision that we don t have the money or local issues.

  16. American like to talk, discuss and talk when it comes to budget for a new infrastructure project( not to mention abandon or postponed in the middle of the project) and its come to the final decision that we don t have the money or local issues.

  17. Florida just announced its own highspeed rail project; and guess what; liberal. it will be completely built by the private sector and won't be funded by the taxpayer. I suspect that it will also be completed on time and on budget; unlike the bloated high speed train to no where in California.

  18. It will never be finished and the cost will be closer to 500 billion after all the corrupt politicians fill their pockets and contractors. Head contractor is Senator Feinsteins husband, like that is a real surprise. Come 2030, or 2050 there still won't be a high speed rail, by 2100 and beyond there will be no rail. Not that it can't be actually built, but CA is incapable of doing this. Way too much corruption and the price tag is going to sky rocket and yet there will be no high speed rail…California you have been fucked yet again and don't even know it.

  19. Great for those people in Los Angeles wanting to go to Las Vegas, but how about San Diego. First we have to either drive, take a slow train or bus, or fly to LA. And then take another train to Vegas..Once in Vegas you either rent a car or you at the mercy of public transportation. In the long run it is cheaper and faster to drive on the freeways if you time it right. I don't mind high speed rail being built, but this one in California is being put together with bailing wire and duct tape. Who are you kidding with a cost of 64 billion . More likely to cost upwards of 200 billion and there is no way it is going to pay for itself. The people of San Diego and Orange counties got screwed on this one.

  20. Assume one train leaving every 15 minutes, carrying 1000 passengers each paying $200. That's $19,200,000 a day, or about $7 billion a year. Sounds like a lot, but it will cost over $70 billion to build it. That also does not cover the billions needed to operate it. In other words this boondoggle will NEVER cover its costs, let alone generate enough profit to expand the system. Another albatross around the necks of California taxpayers.

  21. Looking forward to high speed rail. Essential for future travel. modernizing and catching up with Europe & Asia high speed rail. Reducing traffic congestion and increasing jobs. All positive! We need this!

  22. We have fallen back on high speed rail partly because in California it would be one of the highest priced high speed rail projects [ per mile ] in the world . I think the Hyperloop is much cheaper to operate and cheaper for the consumer .

  23. This would be a good video…if it were honest. California does not have a high speed rail project. It has a train that maxes out IF ever built at 125. That is 30 MPH slower than the minimum high speed rail standard. If you actually want to enjoy high speed rail, you have to leave California, and get on down to Texas. They have a great project down there for a 200 MPH high speed train because they knew what they were doing and got the Japanese involved.

  24. unlike a High speed monorail or a MAGLEV , the high speed rail is 50 years old already and one can buy well engineered rail stock ( TGV , Shinkansen , etc.) if you don't want to design your own. as to H.S. Rail , any decent construction company can do it.

  25. Don't worry, we have Nimbys here too down under…you are not alone. They are from both sides of parliament…a bi partison approach against any kind of progress.

  26. A suggestion, learn how to pronounce Nevada. It's "Ne VAH da," not Ne VAUGH da." And even if he in his last months as governor of the state his name is "Brian San Dough Vol. You come across as an eastern journalist with these mispronunciations.

    Other than that I appreciate the news in this video. If I lived in southern California and traveled to Las Vegas I would look forward to taking a train as opposed to driving the entire route.

  27. California’s high speed rail 4 years over deadline (so far) and 40% over budget. This thing will end up well over 80 Billion when all is said and done for us in California. The Governor just added a huge tax to our gas to help pay for it even though it says it’s for the roads. It took me 30 minutes to read it all before you see the little part that says a chunk goes to pay for the high speed rail. Be careful Nevada because California ain’t ponying a dime for this one!

  28. It's "na VA da", not Na "Vaaauuugh da." There is one scene in this video showing high speed rail through the Bridgeport Valley in the eastern Sierra Nevada of California. Leave the eastern Sierra alone, it is one of the last good places in the state. Otherwise this is a good video and I support high speed rail. Use much of the existing Interstate Highway System as a basis of where to route future lines.

  29. This video is utter bullshit. The Cali high speed train has been nothing but a lie from the get go. Where was Fresno or Sacramento in the original bill. Or how the line is going to share slow lines. Better yet the 77 billion dollar price tag, that couldn’t possibly recuperate the cost before profit. 8 billion gone on the flattest and easiest part of the route hahaha. While the idea is grand the reality is a joke. Vegas to LA is definitely the more profitable and realistic goal.

  30. You are a self described "partisan hack" : )  I could care less about partisan politics or anything of the sort. The fact is, that high speed rail, doesn't make good economic sense, or good sense from a "use perspective" in terms of TTD (time to destination), cost of both construction, and cost of "paying fare", benefit to taxpayers, ROI (return on [capital] infrastructure investment, etc. etc. etc. I am a rail fan (somewhat), and was initially a fan and supporter of California HSR until about 2009/2010, when I began researching and studying the metrics, finances, overall benefit and cost to society, and damage/ displacement to tens of thousands of residents, farms/ranches, private property rights, noise, etc. 

    I call it like it is: Liberals like yourself (I am a Constitutional libertarian and neither Republican or Democrat), like something like trains and are rail fans, and therefore don't care about the negatives since they don't affect yourselves and since you are not affected by it in any way. You are not paying for it. You want to ram it down everyone's throat despite all the objections, noise/disruption/terror (literally) to people's personal lives, violating their property rights, sovereignty, and forcing eminent domain on people for a system that will be hugely expensive, have low ridership, and will be far slower than flying, etc. 

    HSR makes sense in Europe, and it makes sense in Japan (where large population centers are closely linked (and roughly 20 to 80 miles apart). It is justifiable in other nations also in a limited perspective, for one reason or another (such as China, where the massive population justifies it, and the cost is 4 to 5 times less to build, and can get built 4 to 5 times faster than in America, due to a lot of reasons, such as safety and environmental regulations, or politics, not existing in China). The bottom line simply put, is that by the time it is fully built out, it will have cost close to $200 Billion dollars, + another tens of $Billions of dollars in lost or diminished property values (do to many things, such as noise).

    This money will be debt, for [the citizens of] a state that is already bankrupt. "D" rated bonds (in the end) will be floated in the investment markets. Services of all kinds will be cut to make up for it. Lawsuits will be filed over things the state is already familiar with (such as pensions). Such a massive project has infinite levels of complexity and effect on society. But liberals care not, for the rights of others, or to do the research to determine cause and effect, and the infinite negative consequences down the line, our society, our state, and our economy.

    Lastly: If we are going to get butthurt about not being the leaders in rail technology, and seriously want to implement an HSR system, it should be Elon Musk's Hyperloop technology. A system that would be a true global first, and implementation of California's technology leadership; Where the cost could be recovered by other nations of the world, wanting our engineering, design, project management, and process technology, innovation for their own Hyperloop projects.

    No matter what you say about Stuart Flashman, he is right. The corrupt liberal politicians ramming HSR through, have received and will continue to receive $Millions of dollars in bribes (lobbying, campaign contributions, and private off the books "donations") from construction contractors and their ilk. They have been pushing HSR from the beginning for totally illogical and unfounded reasons, one of the worst being financial and political corruption. Welcome to California, – the state whose government and politicians are destroying it, and forcing millions of people born and raised here, to leave out of necessity (or for greener pastures).

  31. Stuart you're a real dumbass and iam so happy you don't represent the great state of Oregon stay in California where you belong

  32. California is a sewer – cesspool that needs to be drained. This video is full of inaccuracies and is probably Moonbeam's trip on weed

  33. No one has the technology and experience of making highspeed rail. The politician thinks the train runs at high-speed if you lay down the rail. The curve issue and other technology issue is not in their mind. This will fail.

  34. Republicans ruin everything in California by wanting cars and more cars. Their anti-train ways mean more frustration for the rest of the state even when it's NOT rush hour…

  35. ca high speed rain has derailed on its own the cost over runs are going to force ca into bankruptcy.
    and please name the none tax support for ca and other high speed rail boon-dongles.

  36. the rail line to las vegas was shut down cause it took five times as much money to just fuel the trains, then they took in via paying passengers.

  37. All is well with California's High Speed Rail project? You're delusional. This will never happen and is a massive waste of taxpayer's money. CHSR is dead.

  38. Brown`s Boondoggle is a joke. Commiefornia needs water containment facilities, not a train that wont go any faster than the Amtrak. Already over budget and climbing. Hope it fails miserably and its looking that way. Fucking Suckers in Commiefornia fell for it big time.

  39. Worried about useless rail transit, should be worried about about EMP attacks and preparing for that instead of propping up Jerry Brown p*nis measuring with his father. I shouldnt have to pay for a bunch of liberals to ride a train. Since you Cali folks want to seperate from the rest of America you should do that and pay for the rail road for yourself. Have Nacy Pelosi and Max Watters pay for it. Pelosi has over 200 million dollars and Waters over 2 million dollar net worth.

  40. I’d hate to see the Nippon Sharyo gallery cars, bombardier passenger cars, the F40PHs and the new locomotives disappear

  41. If the high-speed rail program in California made any sense, private investors would be jumping on it in droves. They won't put a dime into it, they won't touch it with a ten-foot pole. It's a project that stinks.

  42. HSR will be build in 2029…
    Speed:200 kpm

    Funding will become a problem… Delay for 7+ years…

    By that time the already build structure need to be refurblished due to change/prpgress in technology…

    In the end the structures will be scrapped for good until "hyperloop" idea and example of oversea… comes around…

    Oh US can get one except oh US is too poor to build it, but may build x2 stations between x2 cities as trial…

    Merry wheel. Here goes again

  43. It’s not really hating instead why don’t we fix our water infrastructure? People like to drive their car. Just put an extra lane or two on I-5? It’s a hell of a lot cheaper. Let the private companies put the high-speed rail in.

  44. Billions of dollars on high speed rail that will never see high speeds…What a waste.It really was voter fraud,But,the courts in California have proven themselves rigged many times.

  45. Car culture club loving nimbes? Really. Clutching at shaws aren't we. Name me a car club that gives a shit about what trains do or dont.

  46. Do you know why people hate CHSR, its due to the fact that it will cost well over 100b for build, not only will it be the most expensive HSR in history but also the slowest, the vast majority of the rail line will be closer to the speed of conventional rail, very rarely will the train go over 200mph, not only that but this train has no possibility of being profitable, hell not a single private sector buissnes or individual has put in a single dime of investment funds to the project. Also this project will also require eminent domain, or in other words, theft, the fact is that CHSR is a boondoggle and should be abandoned

  47. We need these rails all over the united states. Starting and stopping is a waste of money, we just need to get it done. It will improve our economy, if we just do it. This is a better investment than a stupid wall.

  48. Lol. So how is that lie of a train in California working out for you. It wasn't hate that put people against it , THE IGNORANT BLINDLY BELIEVING LYING POLITICIANS that was the problem lol. Everyone but the blind saw this collapse coming. People got screwed out of their land and cities like Anaheim are on the hook for HINDREDS OF MILLIONS OF DOLLARS that has to come out of the general fund for the city. AS LONG AS YOU GOT YOURS SCREW THE VICTIMS RIGHT? Karma is a bitch ain't it 😉

  49. EXCUSE ME but the DEMOCRATIC GOVERNOR (because of their mismanagement and wast) as of this date have CANCELED this project so get your facts straight!

  50. If we could ever get the money out of politics I am sure we would have High-speed rail and more, big money from oil and airlines don't want High-speed rail, people would take a train any day over an overcrowded airplane. All you have to do is watch videos from Europe, Japan, and China and anyone can see its better.

  51. I’m a car guy. Love driving. Driving to Vegas is so overrated. It sucks.
    And for a state as big as CA, a full high speed passenger rail system makes so much sense

  52. This is a stupid video, CA taxpayers have forked over billions for some stupid line in the central valley that goes from no where to no where. All at the cost of vital infrastructure like the dams and roads. A good 70 to 80 mph rail service is all that's required, if speed is vital then take an airplane.

  53. Money Pit and price has more than doubled and that's not to San Francisco to Los Angeles but from merced to Bakersfield now only cut by a liberal. Your an idiot!

  54. Privately-funded HSR is a great idea. Corrupt taxpayer-funded boondoggles like the California project are not a good idea.

  55. Hey idiot. California is now a one political party system.
    And yet you continue to blame the evil Republicans.
    HSR is a waste of taxpayer’s money.

  56. Didn’t we already waste $40+ billion and accomplished nothing? When California government finds something, best believe it is tainted with corruption.

  57. All rail lines including Amtrak should be privatized… if it can't make money and garner enough demand, it won't be around to eat up taxpayer money. This is why Brightline to Tampa will be a safe and promising bet, you can see the elegance and top-notch service compared to Amtrak under a privatized company due to the necessity to become profitable and another befit being no costs to the taxpayer if it does not become profitable.


  59. The failure of California High speed rail. The failure of Democrats to deliver what they promised to the voters. The waste of billions of dollars on a train to the nowhere.

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