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Now and Then in the SCV | Commentary by Darryl Manzer
| Sunday, Nov 23, 2014

darrylmanzer_blacktieI’m going on an excursion up the proposed route of the California High Speed Rail.

I’ve completed most of the interviews I need from folks in Santa Clarita, Agua Dulce and Acton. The statements I heard about the proposed train route can best be told this way:

1. It would be good if they didn’t route the tracks through this area.

2. It would be best if they didn’t build the damn thing at all.

That about sums it up for most of the folks I’ve talked with so far.

It is just one of my screwy theories, but did y’all notice where the proposed route of the train runs? It looks like it was mostly through areas of low population.

Now look at the areas of population that voted for construction of the high-speed rail system. You guessed it: Los Angeles and San Francisco. The new train won’t go through much of either highly populated area. What do they care about some farmland in the Central Valley or Soledad Canyon from Acton all the way through Sand Canyon?

“Build it out there in the wide-open spaces of the Central Valley.” Not much to bother there.

So I’ve got to ask. Why not build it along the coast? Why not build it on the west side of the Central Valley? Why build it so it has to go through Palmdale?

As I look at the current proposed route, I wonder how the planners came up with it. I know that in some places, they want to use some of the existing track. That means the speed of the new train must drop. Our promised 2-hour, 40-minute ride from Los Angeles to San Francisco is now approaching 6 hours. Why not drive? Yes, get in your car and drive.

Just like you’ve always done.

I love trains. I’ve been a passenger on Amtrak and Santa Fe. Got a ride in the engine on the Felton and Big Trees Railroad. Got to ride the train from Boston to New York, plus trains in Spain, France, England and many other places. Can’t forget Metrolink and various subways.

Blue line: Proposed high-speed rail route. Yellow: Alternative tunnel through the San Gabriel Mountains, which subsequently have been designated a national monument.

Blue line: Proposed high-speed rail route. Yellow: Alternative tunnel through the San Gabriel Mountains, which subsequently have been designated a national monument.

I just don’t understand why we need a state-owned railroad going 200 mph between two small towns in the Central Valley. Do you?

If high-speed passenger trains were so necessary and there were a valid need for them, the railroad companies – Union Pacific, Burlington Northern-Santa Fe and others – would have built them.

Those corporations and the railroads that preceded them stopped passenger railroad service because it didn’t make money. People liked planes and cars and buses. We still like our cars and trucks on our freeways. We’re Californians.

Those people in the big cities that maybe don’t have vehicles to drive like the idea of a train. They like the idea of a high-speed train. Why, we’re joining those other countries that have them, and we’re going to build a rail network of “world class” caliber.

And not subsidized.

Inexpensive to ride.

San Francisco to L.A. in a little over 2.5 hours.

And we can keep our doctor and our health plan.

There are more meetings about the route coming up. Nothing new here to see, folks. “We heard you didn’t want it in your valley – but let us show you what we haven’t done.”

If it were a really good deal, they wouldn’t have to send out the sales team so many times.

If it were a really good deal, it would be under construction quickly.

It does look as if the speed is getting slow enough, because of the planned route, that billboards could be effective – because with the lower speeds, you’ll have time to read them.

Maybe that guy who helped write Obamacare should come in and do a sales job on the train. Do you think we’re all stupid enough to buy this boondoggle, too?

Going to be a fun election next time.

 

Darryl Manzer grew up in the Pico Canyon oil town of Mentryville in the 1960s and attended Hart High School. After a career in the U.S. Navy he returned to live in the Santa Clarita Valley. He can be reached at dmanzer@scvhistory.com. His older commentaries are archived at DManzer.com; his newer commentaries can be accessed [here]. Watch his walking tour of Mentryville [here].

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11 Comments

  1. Well I live 4 houses from the proposed route in Acton. As much as our “great” Gov. pushes for it, it’ll never happen. Not in my generation or the next at least.

  2. I liked your other article too!

  3. Neil Arno Neil Arno says:

    The train from nowhere to nowhere.

  4. I hope you’re right, Cindy. I also live right next to the proposed route in Acton.

  5. Don’t blame me. I didn’t vote for Governor Moonbeam. It’s not like we have anything more important to build, like water infrastructure.

  6. Lynn Witt says:

    Once upon a time there was a newscaster named Baxter Ward. He became Supervisor of the L.A County 5th district. He was deposed by a guy named Antonovich. He ran to try to get his old supervisor job back. His platform was to create a pay-as-you-go mass transit system using bus, shuttle, and most importantly, monorail. The monorail would be environmentally friendly (think Disneyland), cheap and fast to build, high speed; and would have used the existing right-of-way in the center of the freeway system. No one would be displaced or disturbed. He had the whole idea completely thought out; you would be able to travel from the Antelope Valley to any point south, with minimal, or no driving. He lost the election, and Antonovich could have made this idea his own. But this plan sits in a secret file cabinet somewhere because it makes too much sense, and there are no contractor kickbacks, or expensive bond fees involved. So now we have the B.S.-ullet train.

  7. Michael Pare Michael Pare says:

    We need desalination plans, not over priced trains to nowhere.

  8. Ed Galindo says:

    Everybody was in conflict with William Mulholland.

  9. I agree with Michael Pare. I am born and raised in Ca and Moonbeam can never make a logical decision. It’s amazing how he is back on office again UGH

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