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City digs the trench solution

Original post made on May 27, 2010

If 125-mile-per-hour electric trains are going to whoosh through town as planned by the California High Speed Rail Authority, the City Council wants to put most of Mountain View's Caltrain corridor in a partially covered trench, members said Tuesday.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Friday, May 28, 2010, 12:00 AM

Comments (5)

Posted by Martin, a resident of Castro City
on May 27, 2010 at 5:58 pm

I'd suggest closing Castro (or just closing crossing), as the construction of a trench has a very high impact, and unlike other cities, there's no shortage of space.

The HS trains in europe have a certain beauty to them, so don't see the need for hiding them.


Posted by Ken, a resident of Cuesta Park
on May 27, 2010 at 7:32 pm

A trench will be not only expensive to build, but due to the high ground water level, expensive to maintain. Remember this corridor crosses Steven's creek and other streams that routinely cause flooding problems. Not to mention crossing the Hetch-Hetchy aqueduct near Rengstorff. How can any trench even be realistically considered?

I just took my first high-speed train ride two weeks ago in China. It was wonderful! All the comforts of airplane travel without the confinement or airport anxiety. As the train glided along at over 200mph, I thought about how this is possible in China and nearly impossible in USA. Local government and wealthy property owner obstruction is of course one of the biggest obstacles.

But ask yourself which would you rather have, the periodic whoosh of a high-speed train or the non-stop drone of an 8 to 10 lane freeway?


Posted by J Cierra, a resident of Sylvan Park
on May 27, 2010 at 10:14 pm

Electrical superstructure that tops out at five stories tall? What an abomination!

The onerous burden placed on Mountain View by this foolish train is maddening. At least the city council has finally chosen to attempt to protect the value of the community by voting to hide it.

If we must suffer the existence of the train, get it out of sight!


Posted by Clem, a resident of another community
on May 27, 2010 at 10:49 pm

A trench must become a tunnel under the Stevens Creek, as shown in the Alternatives Analysis. The local topography does not allow the rails to rise from a trench at Castro back to grade level across the creek, if freight trains are to be accommodated with 1% gradients.

There are thus two important facts--and they are indeed facts, in the sense that we are entitled to our own opinions but we are not entitled to our own facts. For some reason, these two important facts are not being clearly or accurately conveyed to MV residents:

(1) the trench at Castro requires the tracks to run underneath the creek

(2) the sole reason that the tracks must run under the creek is not Caltrain, not VTA, not high-speed rail, but two Union Pacific freight trains per day that can climb only a shallow 1% slope, rather than 3% for electric passenger trains.

Please keep these facts in mind when the high-speed rail authority eventually hands you a budget for what your trench will cost. Also remember that cost and environmental impact are being weighed equally.

If I may venture an opinion, a Mountain View trench is even less likely to happen than HSR being completed on budget.


Posted by Steve, a resident of Jackson Park
on May 28, 2010 at 8:16 am

I think the tracks should be set at grade level. We ALREADY have a barrier dividing the town in half. It's called Cal-Train. What's the difference?

Jeez, what would this town had done if BART had ever made it past the San Mateo gauntlet decades ago? The track requirements would have been the same (tunnel? elevated track? trench?). How did we ever get light rail in here?


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