rohr turbo wrote:... a few Pacific Surfliner runs should be extended all the way ... a great corridor for tourists, college students, business travel.
Thing is that LA-SJ was 8:45 back in flagship-passenger service days, and several hours worse now.
Glad to see that 8 hrs 45 min is a reasonable target for the run. Current schedule leaves San Jose at 10:06 a.m., arrives L.A. at 9 p.m. An 11-hour timetable.
Back up to Santa Barbara: depart 6:02 p.m., arrive L.A., 103 miles away, at 9 p.m. Help me with the math now, fellas, I'm old n tired. Seems like the train goes at an average of 34 mph thru the western extensions of Greater L.A. Dayum. If capital investment could raise the speed on that segment alone to a still-slow 50 mph, the Starlight
would pull into L.A. an hour earlier, by 8 p.m. (Yeah, I know the 'Coast Starlate' sometimes needs the padding in the schedule.)
But you've given us a target of an 8:45 run, like the old days. I'd think we can do even better nowadays, but I'll say a 9-hour run from San Jose getting into L.A. by 8 p.m. There's a Surfliner
heading to San Diego at 8:25 p.m., arriving downtown at 11:24 p.m. That's not prime time, but it's tolerable. Much much better than the current 10:10 p.m. Surfliner
arriving in San Diego at 1:06 a.m. Most of Amtrak's LD riders aren't into the post-midnight thing at all. Really want to see an earlier arrival in San Diego like this, to more solidly link the San Diego metro area to the Coast Starlight'
The California State Rail plan (or something I read linked to it), makes it clear that California is getting ready to invest in this route. One study, of the L.A.-Santa Barbara-San Luis-Obispo segments, has been studied and a report could be released soonish, iirc. Another study, of the San Luis Obispo-Salinas segment, is underway. These studies aim to identify needs -- passing sidings, curve straightening, new bridges, the usual -- to prepare the line for more and faster passenger trains.
I won't be surprised to see another two or three trains added L.A.-Santa Barbara, with one of them going thru to SLO, just as soon as California can get its hands on more equipment. (Siemens Chargers, soon; Nippon-Sharyo bi-level coaches, not so soon.)
But under the plan as I recall it, the full length Coast Daylight
is the lowest priority, behind the L.A.-Santa Barbara segment and the Santa Barbara-San Luis Obispo segment. That would follow the pattern set with the Surfliner
L.A.-San Diego, where the first investments were near L.A., and the spending only recently accelerated on the south-most leg into San Diego. As time is whittled off the near-to-L.A. segments, those time savings pass thru to schedules to San Diego and Santa Barbara/San Luis Obispo/Bay Area, helping ridership to grow farther out while waiting for upgrades toward the lower-population (or simply more costly to reach) end points.
Of course, the state has another north-south connector underway and it's gulping down funds as it builds thru the Central Valley. Haters in Congress want to block HSR -- it's President Obama's and Governor Brown's baby. But California seems ready to pay for the damn thing themselves if they have to! (The Resistance!) Sadly, collateral victims may include all the other potential rail investments, as yet unfunded, while state taxes go to build HSR.