High Speed Rail-Interface

Designed as independent systems on exclusive rights of way and track networks, high-speed trains are not intended to link, connect or interface with other forms or modes of transportation. Right of way and safety design is primarily focused on maintaining clearance and separation of high-speed rail facilities and equipment from all other vehicles, personnel and environments.

Selection of routes and design of track systems that minimize interface with nearly all other systems, settings and environmental conditions are critical preliminary considerations in the design of high-speed train rail systems. Newly built and operating high-speed rail systems in numerous European and Asian countries consistently avoid urbanized settings; in apparent recognition of the incompatibilities of two hundred mile per hour trains with city and other urban environments. Taken as basic assumptions regarding interface and compatibility between fast trains any virtually all human activity settings, the generally negative impacts of high-speed trains should prescribe separation and isolation of track systems from all but rural and remote settings.

Notwithstanding the need for exclusive track systems and right of way, high-speed trains can be adapted to the settings and existing railway networks that have been developed in industrialized European and Asian countries over the past fifty to one hundred years; while US rail systems and technology have been primarily focused on freight train systems. The resulting state of American railroad networks and technology are limited in their passenger service capabilities, and are not easily extended or adapted to greater passenger services or interface with the high-speed trains being considered for development in American cities and inter-urban travel corridors.

To the extent that interdependence is a form of interface, transportation system and facilities developments that are substantially dependent on high-speed rail systems development, such as the Orange County Transportation Authority’s planned Anaheim Regional Transportation Intermodal Center (ARTIC), the development of which is nearly completely dependent upon the California high-speed rail system for 90% of boardings and traffic through the station, are vitally dependent on completion of high-speed rail projects. With the progress and feasibility of the California High-Speed Rail Initiative diminishing by the month, Orange County transportation officials and planners are forced to reassess their transportation center plans.

The proposed $30,000,000 stake in a joint purchase of Los Angeles Union Station by the California High-Speed Rail Authority and the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transit Authority, as a potential high-speed rail station location, challenges the credibility of both transportation agencies. If, in fact, Union Station could be found to be a suitable location for development of a high-speed train station, the registered architectural and historic status granted Union Station would prohibit any significant destruction or alteration of the station building or surrounding property. In the most recent proposal, the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transit Authority will assume the complete $75,000,000 purchase the 38-acre Union Station site, and 5.9 million square feet of development rights around the station.


*Run planned CA Valley HSR route video

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