Past BayRail Alliance meeting announcements
- 1/18/07 meeting topic: Caltrain's Project 2025, updates on rail projects
We will give a brief overview of Caltrain's Project 2025 plan and discuss
our response. We will also discuss other important developments pertaining
to Dumbarton rail, other regional rail, and
high speed rail.
- 12/21/06 meeting topic: Transit technologies in Hong Kong an South China
BayRail Alliance board member Andy Chow, a native of Hong Kong, will give a
presentation on the latest rail and transit technologies used in Hong Kong
and south China. Come learn about modern, convenient technologies that
riders enjoy that could be implemented here.
- 11/16/06 meeting topic: Dumbarton rail, 11/7/06 election results
There are two community meetings on Dumbarton rail this week. One
of them is scheduled at the same time as the BayRail Alliance general meeting. Despite this, we will hold our meeting as scheduled to
discuss what we learned at the first Dumbarton community meeting,
as well as the ramifications of the results of the recent elections on local rail issues.
- 10/19/06 meeting topic: Transbay Terminal/Caltrain Downtown Extension update
Maria Ayerdi, Executive
Director of the Transbay
Joint Powers Authority, will give us an update
on the Transbay Terminal/Caltrain Downtown Extension Project. Also
present will be engineers with the project, to discuss specifics.
- 9/21/06 meeting topic: Tokyo's Colorful Trains
Ryan Hoover will present highlights of an English narrated video program
describing Tokyo's vast network of subway, surface and elevated rail lines.
All of Japan dispatches around 26,000 passenger trains daily which carry
close to 23 billion people annually. About one third of these are in the
greater Tokyo Bay Area which takes in Yokohama, Kawasaki, Saitama and Chiba.
The Greater Tokyo region is an area inside a radius of 100 km (60 mi) around
Tokyo Central Station, served by over 1,106 km (687 mi) of passenger
Japan is slightly smaller than California but has almost four times the
population. The Greater Tokyo megalopolis, alone, has about 35 million
people vs. around 34 million for all of California. This program will show
how all of the area's urban, suburban and interurban rail systems
interconnect to move close to 10 million passengers on a daily basis. One
Tokyo station, Shinjuku, is the world's busiest: about 750 thousand
people pass through there every weekday. A descriptive handout of relevant
statistics will be available.
- The August 2006 meeting was cancelled.
- 7/20/06 meeting topic: Mini-Shinkansen, a Solution for Extending High Speed Rail
at Low Cost
We continue last month's focus on HSR by looking at what Japan has done.
Ryan Hoover will show us a DVD on Japan's Mini-Shinkansen and Yu Hanakura
will be translating some of the content.
Please join us as we bid a sad farewell to board member and newsletter
editor Ryan Hoover, who recently retired and is moving to Ohio next month.
We give him our thanks for his dedicated service to BayRail Alliance.
East Japan Railway Co. (JR East) now has two "Mini-Shinkansen" services in
operation which are legally and technically separate from the
system. The Akita and Yamagata Mini-Shinkansen lines use existing narrow
gauge rights-of-way that have been re-gauged or dual-gauged to standard.
These services use smaller EMU
high speed train sets -- built to a narrow
gauge profile -- but which can couple on to 170 mph Tohoku Line Bullet
Trains from Tokyo.
At designated points, the "minis" diverge onto their former narrow gauge
corridors at a top speed of about 80 mph. Passengers can ride through
services between Akita or Yamagata and Tokyo without changing trains. Ryan
Hoover will show highlights of a video illustrating these services in
- 6/15/06 meeting topic: Eurostar, a Real-World Model for California High Speed Rail
Ryan Hoover will show highlights of a DVD program of a Eurostar cab ride
from Paris' North Station through the Channel Tunnel to London's Waterloo
Station. Eurostar trains are designed to use both the overhead power of
Paris regional suburban routes, and the 25 kV dedicated high speed line at
up to 186 mph (300 kph). Over the last segment, Eurostar uses the 3rd rail
750 V regular Network Rail system, at up to 90 mph. In addition to using
three power supply systems, Eurostar equipment recognizes five different
Total travel time is 2 hours, 45 minutes. When
section 2 is completed
in 2007 (described by Michael Kiesling in our latest Staying on Track
newsletter), the final terminal will be St. Pancras Station and total trip
time will shorten to two hours, 15 minutes-- the time envisioned between San
Francisco and Los Angeles if California's HSR every becomes a reality.
If rail service like this can be accomplished internationally, under the
English Channel, with three different power systems and five signal systems,
California should be able to build its system at less than half of
Eurostar's cost and effort.
- 5/10/06 meeting topic was postponed to 6/15 due to technical difficulties.
- 4/20/06 meeting speaker: VTA General Manager Michael Burns
Please join us for a conversation with Michael T. Burns, who became the new
Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) General Manager last
August. Mr. Burns is responsible for overseeing VTA's $340 million annual
operating budget and 2,300 employees. His key responsibilities include the
management of bus and light rail operations, countywide transportation
planning and the delivery of the $9 billion VTP 2030 plan that includes the
BART extension to Santa Clara County, Caltrain improvements, light rail
extensions, enhanced bus services, highway construction projects and bicycle
and pedestrian improvements.
- 3/16/06 meeting speaker: Chuck Harvey, Chief Operating Officer for Caltrain/SamTrans
Mr. Harvey will be giving us an update on the Caltrain electrification
program. He will also discuss regulatory hurdles that make it more difficult
for Caltrain to use ideal equipment.
- 2/16/06 meeting topic: JR 500, Japan's 186-mph HSR Success
We will show a 40-minute video describes the development of the JR 500
series Shinkansen trains to achieve 300-km/h or 186-mph "Nozomi" (Hope)
super-express rail service west of Hiroshima. It discusses these trains'
new aircraft-like shape, their redesigned pantograph for decreased air resistance and
noise and weight reduction, and raised right-of-way, designed for least
environmental impact. Views from the cab at speed illustrate track layout
with four tracks for passing expresses and locals in stations.
- 1/19/06 meeting topic: HSR and the Governor's Budget
Join us for a discussion of the impact of Gov. Schwarzenegger's proposed budget on
statewide high-speed rail and other transit projects and what we can do to improve
- 12/15/05 meeting topic: Caltrain 2005 DVD
Join us as we show segments from the new video, Caltrain 2005 that was
profiled in the recent Caltrain Connection newsletter. This video was
professionally-produced (and extremely
well done and visually compelling, according to those who have viewed it).
Its two producers, John Abatecola and Dan Cortopassi of TSG Multimedia will
be on hand to answer questions.
Dan is a graphic artist, web designer, long-time rail fan, and model
railroader. He grew up on the Peninsula and rode the commutes a few times
back in Southern Pacific days, so he has a long-standing interest in the
John has been doing video professionally since 1998, and has been running
TSG Multimedia full-time since 2001. He has always liked trains but never got
really fanatic about it. The Caltrain 2005 project has rekindled the
interest in trains he had as a youngster.
They're currently working on their next rail fan production, which is about
- 11/17/05 meeting topic: Alternative Railway Power Sources
What research is being done in the United Kingdom and in Japan on more
economic, environmentally and socially-friendly ways of power
trains? Learn more in this presentation compiled by BayRail Alliance board
member Ryan Hoover. Among these alternatives are: 1) more fuel efficient,
less polluting and quieter diesel and "bio-diesel" engines for existing
diesel-electric and diesel-hydraulic vehicles; 2) continued refinement of
overhead systems using power generated by renewable wind, water, sun,
bio-fuels, etc.; 3) hybrid diesel-electrics with smaller, lighter diesel
engines and electric generator-inverter-motor transmissions, regenerative
braking and storage batteries; and 4) fuel cell and or flywheel
At present, the only practical alternatives for Caltrain are 1) better
diesels or 2) electrification. However, some of these other technologies
may be appropriate for lines that are contemplated to use diesel
multiple-unit trains, such as the e-BART line and other rail expansions.
Slides from this meeting can be viewed in a
PDF file, 3.0 MB.
- 10/20/05 meeting topic: MTC Regional Rail Plan
Howard Goode, a consultant who works for Caltrain and who retired
as Caltrain's deputy general manager last year, will give a presentation
on the MTC Regional Rail Study.
The Metropolitan Transportation Commission is conducting this study in
cooperation with the California High Speed Rail Authority (CHSRA), San
Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit District (BART), and the Peninsula Corridor
Joint Powers Board (Caltrain).
The first element in the study is to make recommendations on a Regional Rail
Plan that integrates passenger rail systems, improves interfaces with
connecting services, expands the regional rapid transit network, and
coordinates public investments in regional rail systems with
transit-supportive land uses.
The second element examines various California high-speed rail alignments
between the Central Valley and the Bay Area and how they would impact the
development of the Regional Rail Plan. These two elements are to be
integrated in order to provide a fully comprehensive Bay Area Regional Rail
The scope of the plan considers both freight and passenger traffic. It
includes conventional rail, BART, future high-speed rail and emerging
diesel light rail technologies, popular elsewhere in the world for years.
- 9/15/05 meeting topic: Caltrain performance under new 96-train schedule
Our guest speaker will be Michelle Bouchard, a Senior Planner in the Rail
Transportation department of SamTrans/Caltrain. Ms. Bouchard will present a
preliminary assessment of the performance of the new 96-train schedule and
discuss the tweaks to the service planned, taking effect October 10 (see
Prior to joining the San Mateo County Transit District in May 2000, Michelle
worked as a planner at the Capitol Corridor,
in the Stanford Office of
Parking and Transportation, and as a consultant with Nelson\Nygaard. She
holds a BA in economics from Brown University and a MSc in Urban and
Regional Planning from the London School of Economics.
- 8/18/05 meeting topic: Getting our Message Out -- How to Staff a Table or Booth
Like talking to strangers? Have you wondered why some people staffing
booths at conventions are effective at engaging passersby, and others just
sit looking bored?
Whether at community events, transit fairs or farmer's markets, BayRail
Alliance relies on volunteers like you to get our message out to the general
public. After this workshop, you'll be more effective and comfortable at
engaging people to take action for causes that you believe in. We will
provide training on how to engage passersby and interest them in joining our
group. Hone your tabling skills and help make our outreach a success!
- In lieu of our meeting on 7/21/05, we encourage you to attend the VTA Policy Advisory Committee
meeting Thursday at 4 PM at VTA headquarters, in San Jose at 3331 North First Street, room B-104. Two items of
importance to our organization will be discussed there.
Agenda Item 9, a discussion of VTA's Long-Range Capital Plan, provides us an
opportunity to introduce our new Regional Rail plan to local city council
members on the committee, as an alternative to the current, financially
disasterous capital plan.
Agenda item 10 is on High-Speed Rail and will touch upon the controversy
over proposed routes into the Bay Area. Please join us in asking members of
local city councils to refrain from endorsing any specific high-speed rail
alignment until the MTC Regional Rail study and further environmental study
Sunnyvale Mayor Dean Chu will be asking the committee to support a Pacheco
Pass routing, while we have been asking that an Altamont route be studied.
Altamont HSR Q & A page explains why BayRail Alliance favors the Altamont routing.
VTA PAC agenda.
The Thursday, July 21 meeting will run from 4 PM until approximately 6 PM.
How to get there:
VTA offices are located near the River Oaks light rail stop. Via transit,
either take LRT from Mountain View (be prepared for an hour-long ride) or
else take Caltrain to Santa Clara station, take the free airport shuttle to
Metro LRT station, then take LRT to River Oaks (takes just as long either
way). It is about a 30-min bike ride from either the Santa Clara or
Lawrence Caltrain stations to the VTA offices. They also have plenty of car
- 6/16/05 meeting topic: A New Rail Vision for the South Bay, presented
by Michael Kiesling
A campaign for a new 1/4-cent sales tax in Santa Clara County to support
the 2000 Measure A program is heating up. The tax might not receive enough
votes for approval, and it also isn't enough to deliver the full program if
the BART extension is made the
centerpiece project. Even if a new tax
passed, it would not create real gains in making public transit functional
and convenient for most in the county. What is the alternative?
Until now, the absence of a consensus around the details of an alternative
to connect Fremont and San Jose through Milpitas has hampered our outreach
efforts (should it be light rail, a DMU,
an EMU, or BRT, and where?), but we
now have a unified rail proposal that is so sensible, it ought to built.
Come and find out about a rail plan that unlike the BART extension, is
eminently feasible, is enormously superior to the BART plan in meeting the
transportation needs of our county and region, and is real cause for
Michael Kiesling will present on elements of this vision that he has
developed, including a new service that would connect Redwood City to Gilroy
via Newark, Fremont, Milpitas and the San Jose airport using his proposed
high-speed rail alignments. See our
South Bay Rail Vision
web page, where you'll find a map showing this proposed new line.
Please join us for a lively discussion and dialogue over the details of the
plan. We will also discuss our outreach strategies and ideas for marketing
the plan to the public (for example, one proposal calls for talking about
"Bullets Around the Bay"), and how you can help.
Descriptions of Past Meetings, 2003-2004
|June 17, 2004
Discussed creation of a regional rail authority. We concluded that such a
super agency is not necessary in order to expand regional rail which we
advocate. However, the Bay Conservation and Development Commission looked like
a governance model for a regional rail committee which merited further
|March 18, 2004
BayRail Alliance Executive Director Margaret Okuzumi spoke about her
two recent trips to Washington, DC to lobby for cost effective regional
rail. From her meetings with Washington insiders, she
learned in particular that our representatives in Washington take their
cues from our local officials.
|February 19, 2004
Howard Goode of SamTrans/Caltrain presented on, and BayRail members gave input
on, San Mateo County's Measure A Expenditure Plan
|January 15, 2004
Chuck Harvey, Chief Operating Officer of SamTrans/Caltrain, discussed current
activities on the Caltrain system, including the completion of the CTX
construction project, Baby Bullet service, and
the pending decision by the Caltrain JPB on the new Caltrain schedule and service.
|December 8, 2003
Corrine Goodrich of Caltrain presented on Caltrain's Strategic Plan.
|November 10, 2003
Michael Kiesling discussed the controversy surrounding the Bay Area-Central
Valley routing options of the proposed California high speed rail system.
He presented his work on the Altamont routing (See
arch21.org for details.)
|October 13, 2003
No BayRail meeting. BayRail members were invited to attend a meeting
(scheduled during our normal meeting time)
organized by the Transportation
and Land Use Coalition (TALC) with representatives of
the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC), to
discuss goals and priorities of the
Transportation 2030 plan.
|September 8, 2003||
David Schonbrunn spoke on his organization TRANSDEF's efforts to make the
Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) more accountable to
the goals of controlling sprawl and promoting cost-effective
transportation projects which actually improve air quality and
address and manage congestion problems. See
MTC Watch for
more information on TRANSDEF.
|August 11, 2003||
Michael Kiesling gave a slide presentation on rail systems of London, the
new high speed line linking London with the Channel Tunnel, the Thalys and
Eurostar high speed rail lines, new large train stations under construction
in Liege (Belgium) and Berlin, and trains of the latter city. He concluded
with Portland's nicely designed downtown streecars.
|July 14, 2003||
Caltrain planner Ian McAvoy gave an update on Caltrain's strategic
|June 9, 2003||
San Francisco half-cent sales tax renewal expenditure plan|
A proposition to renew San Francisco's half-cent sales tax for
transportation was slated to appear on San Francisco's November
2003 ballot. An advisory committee to the San Francisco County
Transportation Authority had drafted an expenditure plan which
set likely priorities and funding allocations for specific
projects, including the Caltrain downtown extension to a rebuilt
Transbay Terminal. BayRail executive director Margaret Okuzumi
gave a presentation on the plan. (Later known as Proposition K,
San Franciscans approved the measure with 74% voting in favor on
Nov. 7, 2003.)
|May 12, 2003||
San Mateo County Measure A sales tax renewal|
We discussed priorities for what projects should be included in the
expenditure plan for this half-cent sales tax to be voted on in 2004.
We also discussed scenarios of funding for BART and/or major upgrades
to Caltrain which might be included in the plan.
|April 14, 2003||
Caltrain staff presented current progress of the CTX project (addition
of express tracks and upgrades to signaling system)
|March 10, 2003||
Caltrain Fare Policy Discussion|
As Caltrain was poised to adopt a new fare structure, discussion
concentrated mainly on proposed schemes for distance-based fares,
and the use of zones versus an even distribution of fare levels
between every station, which most in attendance favored.
|Feb 10, 2003||
James Corless of the Surface Transportation Policy Project spoke about
efforts to preserve and advocate for federal spending on public transit
and livable, walkable, bikeable communities.
|January 13, 2003||
Conveying our Vision to the Public|
When someone expresses to you that Caltrain should be replaced by BART, how
do you typically respond? Do you find yourself bashing BART, spouting
innumerable technical details? Does that tactic work with most people?
How can our organization convey a positive vision for Caltrain in a way
that most people can understand? Public relations expert Paul
Bendix shared his ideas and advice on how to get our vision across in
an effective way.