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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 railways.

    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 Shinkansen 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 operation.

  • 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 signaling systems.

    Total travel time is 2 hours, 45 minutes. When CTRL 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 the situation.

  • 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 line.

    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 ACE.

  • 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 applications.

    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 Plan.

    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 Caltrain's announcement).

    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 is completed.

    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.

    View the 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 parking there.

  • 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 excitement.

    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 investigation.
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 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 planning process.
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.

This file last modified Friday, 09-Feb-2007 13:15:34 MST
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