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wanderer53 Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: front left seat EE set now departed
SFMTA completes property acquisition for Chinatown Station        
Monday, February 27, 2012  


The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, which manages transportation in the city, said it has completed the acquisition of the property that will be the future home of the Central Subway's Chinatown Station. The property located at 933-949 Stockton Street, will be secured, signage will be removed and a decorative vinyl wrap will be applied along Stockton and Washington streets.

The vinyl wrap will feature renderings of the future Chinatown Station design, a Chinese mural provided by the Chinese Historical Society of America and artwork provided by students from the Chinatown YMCA. The wrap will remain in place until the building is demolished later this year to protect the vacant building from vandalism and enhance its appearance.

The Central Subway Project has contracted with Ferrari Color, a local, registered city vendor, to install the wrap. Installation of the wrap, as well as other work to secure the building and prepare it for demolition, will begin Feb. 24 and continue through mid-March.

The final design of the Chinatown Station has been completed, and the SFMTA plans to advertise the contract for constructing the station by the end of February.
 
wanderer53 Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: front left seat EE set now departed

Groundbreaking kicks off Smart construction

Monday, February 27, 2012  

GROUNDBREAKING ceremonies were held in the town of Petaluma, north of San Francisco, on Friday to mark the start of construction on the $US 690m Sonoma Marin Area Rapid Transit (Smart) commuter rail project, which involves reintroducing passenger services on the 113km Northwestern Pacific Railroad line from Cloverdale to Larkspur.

The initial 62km phase of the line from Santa Rosa to San Rafael is expected to open in late 2014 or early 2015. A joint venture of construction companies Stacey & Witbeck and Herzog Contracting is responsible for civil works.

In the second phase of the project the line will be extended north to Cloverdale and south to Larkspur Landing, where trains will connect with Golden Gate ferries to San Francisco.

Smart has ordered eighteen two-car dmus from Sumitomo (pictured), which will be built by Nippon Sharyo at its plant in Rochelle, Illinois, and delivered to California between October 2013 and May 2014.

 
wanderer53 Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: front left seat EE set now departed

Caltrain celebrates renovations and improvements at two stations

Thursday, March 01, 2012  

San Francisco-area Caltrain and its partners celebrated the completion of a $61 million station improvement project that will allow it to offer more service now and in the future.

The two-year project was completed through a partnership with Altamont Commuter Express, California Department of Transportation, Capitol Corridor, Federal Railroad Administration, Federal Transit Administration, San Francisco Transportation Authority, San Mateo County Transit District and Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority.

The Federal Railroad Administration contributed $18 million to the project under the High-Speed and Intercity Passenger Rail Program. Additional funds were contributed by Altamont Commuter Express, Caltrans, Federal Transportation Administration and Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority.

The project, which modernized the San Jose Diridon Caltrain Station and the Santa Clara Caltrain Station, improves connections with regional rail services and increases operational flexibility at the stations.

The San Jose Diridon station is the busiest station in the Caltrain system, with a train passing through the station every two minutes during peak commute hours. The improvements include two new fully-equipped board platforms on the west side of the station along with tracks on each side of platform will improve operations. The station is used by Caltrain, Altamont Commuter Express, Capitol Corridor and Amtrak Coast Starlight passenger trains and Union Pacific freight trains.

The project also includes the reconstruction of signal control points at both ends of the station, which will allow trains to move more quickly in and out of the station.

The Santa Clara station had a regular platform for southbound passengers but had a narrow center boarding platform for northbound passengers. Three non-signalized at-grade pedestrian crossings connected the two platforms. Due to that configuration, Santa Clara was a "hold-out" station that allowed only one train in the station at a time, creating a bottle-neck in the Caltrain system.

The modernization project added a new outboard northbound platform and extended the southern platform 150 feet. A new pedestrian underpass now connects the two platforms, which allows two trains to pass through the station at the same time and improves safety for pedestrians.

At the same time, a track turnout at the southern end of the station was relocated to improve rail operations.

With the completion of the project, Altamont Commuter Express trains can resume service to the station, which was suspended a few years ago. Capitol Corridor also may add this station stop to its schedule in the future.

 
wanderer53 Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: front left seat EE set now departed

The vice president of PayPal has been killed after being hit by a commuter train in California.

The train operator, Caltrain, said that Eric Salvatierra, 39, was standing on the tracks with his bike on Friday morning in Menlo Park when he was hit.

Mr Salvatierre, who had worked for PayPal for five years, was a "doting dad" to three girls under 10, and his family say there was nothing to suggest he was suicidal.

An investigation is underway to try and determine why he was on the tracks, according to the Daily Mail.

 
Tonymercury Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: Botany NSW

Every day, Bay Area residents and visitors take more than 1.4 million trips on one of 27 different public transit operators. But for more than a decade, the costs to operate these transit systems have been increasing far faster than any improvements in the service. Unless we make changes now, the system will not be sustainable in the future.

Regionwide, transit carries one in ten people to work. It costs more than $2.2 billion to run these 27 transit systems each year. More than $700 million comes from fares and $1.5 billion is a direct subsidy from a hodgepodge of sources (sales taxes, federal funds, state gas tax revenues). By looking out to 2035, these systems will face a combined $17 billion capital deficit and an $8 billion operating deficit.

In recent years, the costs of running these transit systems have increased far faster than inflation, even as ridership on some bus systems has declined. About 14,000 people work full time for the region’s public transit systems. Wages and fringe benefits account for more than three-quarters of the operating and maintenance costs of transit, and the cost of fringe benefits in particular is rising fast. At the same time, budget shortfalls, unpredictable revenues and service cuts are degrading the quality of public transportation. Transit systems face competition from an underpriced alternative — driving — and often operate in low-density and auto-oriented environments that are not conducive to growing ridership.

Unless there is some change to costs and revenues, with corresponding improvements in service, the viability of transit in the Bay Area is at risk. Recognizing this looming crisis, the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC), the regional agency that funds transportation, launched the Transit Sustainability Project (TSP).

 

At its most basic level, the goal of the TSP is to highlight the challenges facing Bay Area transit and propose solutions. The fixes would include controlling the rapidly rising cost of running the Bay Area’s buses and trains as well as restructuring the types of service offered. In short, the Bay Area cannot remain economically competitive, nor meet its goals of cutting greenhouse gas emissions, without a transit system that does a better job of getting people where they need to go in a cost-effective and efficient manner. Much of our new investment in transit is quite simply not resulting in better service. This has to change.

SPUR interprets the key findings of the TSP report and offers six suggestions for how to save our transit system.

What Does the Transit Sustainability Project Tell Us About Bay Area Transit?

The TSP made four important findings about cost and service delivery of Bay Area transit.

  • Finding 1: Costs are increasing faster than inflation

 



While inflation increased by 39% from 1996 to 2010, unit costs (the cost to operate a transit vehicle for one hour) grew by more than double that for Muni, SamTrans, Golden Gate and AC Transit and faster than inflation for all other major transit operators except Caltrain.

 

Unit costs — what it costs to operate a bus or train for one hour — are increasing at almost twice the rate of inflation for most operators (See Fig. 1). In the 14-year period from 1996 to 2010, Muni’s diesel bus unit costs increased from $92 to about $170 (an 86 percent increase). Over that time period, Muni’s trolley costs increased from $73 to $155 (a 111 percent increase). By way of comparison, the consumer price index (CPI)increased only 39 percent during this period. Among Bay Area transit operators, only Caltrain’s unit costs were lower (20 percent). Almost all of these unit cost increases are attributable to ineffective management. Among the most striking causes of cost increase are soaring pension and retirement costs, increases in health care premiums, and work rules that negatively affect productivity but do little to improve the working environment.

If costs had grown in line with inflation, Muni would now have an extra $156 million per year, AC Transit $86 million and SamTrans $30 million. These savings equate to as much as one-fifth of the entire operating budget. There is no way to maintain a viable regional transit system without greater control of this cost inflation.

  • Finding 2: Increases in productivity are not sufficient to match cost increases

 



This chart reflects the overall trend that ridership and service are not keeping pace with costs.

 

Increases in unit cost are not compensated by corresponding increases in productivity (measured in total passengers, passengers per hour or passengers per mile). In fact, in many cases — passengers per hour, for example — productivity has declined. The productivity trends also reflect real and difficult decisions facing agencies. For several agencies, the rise in costs and decline in ridership reflect policy decisions to continue very slow service in neighborhoods and put little priority on suburban arterials. Overall, this results in slower services carrying fewer people per hour of service.

  • Finding 3: Transit speeds are declining, which further exacerbates cost and productivity issues

As the cost to provide an hour of service has increased, the number of miles that hour can deliver (and the number of trips a bus can make in a day) has declined. Traffic congestion results in either service decreases or more costly service.

Among regional operators, Muni averages 8 miles per hour (8.6 for diesel buses and 6.6 for trolley coaches), AC Transit 10 miles per hour, SamTrans 12 and the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) 14. Over the last 15 years, speeds have dropped about seven percent. If the Muni trolley coach system’s average speed increased by just one mile per hour, Muni would save about $19 million dollars annually without any service decrease, just by making the buses go faster.

 



Operating buses and light rail in mixed traffic means that traffic increases and congestion have very real impacts on transit speeds. And slower service means less service or significant increases in costs to maintain the same service.

 

If an entire bus route normally takes 40 minutes and slows to 44 minutes, it means a single operator can only make 10 one-way trips a day instead of 11. So in order to maintain the same level of service, the agency must put additional buses on the road, which increases costs. It will be difficult to either increase service or hold operating costs steady if transit speeds continue to slow.

  • Finding 4: There is no single factor causing these inefficiencies in transit operations

Many parties are responsible for the inefficiency of local transit operations. Transit agencies have not done enough to control the rise in unit costs. Recent contract negotiations at AC Transit (and to a lesser extent Muni) reflect partial savings. But the agencies argue they are not likely to achieve such savings in the near term. Cities too often harm transit by not giving sufficient dedicated space in the streets for buses to operate efficiently. Finally, funding agencies select poor transit investments, which also harms transit efficiencies over time.

Six Ways to Fix Bay Area Transit

Having taken on a study of the issues with the TSP, the Metropolitan Transportation Commission should now take ownership over implementing many of the good ideas to come out of the process. The following suggestions show how to fix transit by improving funding, speeds, fares, competition, information and maps.

  • 1. Change the funding of transit operations from guaranteed revenue to incentive pay for more riders

Transit operations should be funded in ways that create an incentive for adding riders, as well as for making the most cost-effective improvements. For example, if the MTC offered to pay transit operators a $1 incentive (or bounty) per new rider, an agency that increased ridership by 1 million trips in a year would get an additional $1 million from the MTC. This would encourage transit operators to consider the immediate impact on ridership when allocating service.

  • 2. Establish a regional fare policy that does not penalize customers who transfer between systems

 



By shifting from a guaranteed funding stream to a bounty paid by the MTC, operators will have a direct financial incentive to increase ridership. Growing ridership is one of the key goals for improving Bay Area transit.

 

When passengers transfer between BART or Caltrain and a local bus, they almost always pay two fares (there are a few exceptions, such as free transfers from Caltrain to Muni). In general, bus systems have little financial incentive to coordinate schedules with train systems. And the rail systems have no requirement to help pay for the local bus systems, even though they are getting additional riders and fares from these bus systems. This doesn’t make sense. The Bay Area needs a regional fare policy. This is complicated but certainly possible to implement with the Clipper Card as it is rolled out to all agencies. One approach would be for regional rail agencies like BART and Caltrain to pay a bounty to the local operators who deliver passengers to their systems. For example, if a passenger takes a local bus from Martinez to the Concord BART station, BART should share some of the paid fare with County Connection, the local operator. The end result could be better service to passengers, because the local agencies will benefit if they do the right thing — like coordinate schedules, adopt reasonable transfer tariffs and extend their hours of service.

  • 3. Establish a new regional capital investment program that invests in speed improvements on key transit corridors

Improving transit speed and service requires investments in things like dedicated lanes for buses, signal priority and other operational improvements. When streets are designed for auto speeds, transit suffers and costs go up. MTC is already proposing a new $30 million pilot program for prioritizing transit on existing city streets to speed service. This annual program is a good start and should be expanded.

  • 4. Create a tenured, independent regional transit analysis office to collect and distribute objective information and performance metrics

Just as we have a legislative analyst in Sacramento and San Francisco, we need an independent transit analysis office to both improve the public’s comprehension of the challenges facing transit systems and provide transit operators with clearer information on how and where their particular system should improve. There is already a lot of transit information out there. But there is no office with tenure and structural improving Bay Area transit.

  • 5. Allow transit operators to pick up and drop off passengers within each others’ service territories

Today, transit bus operators all have distinct service territories. These territories are monopolies to the extent that one operator cannot pick up or drop off passengers in a territory controlled by another. Operators should be able to pick up and drop off passengers in each other’s service territories. (This would, however, require changes to state law.)

  • 6. Produce a single transit map for the Bay Area and move toward common branding

While merging many of the Bay Area’s transit systems is impractical and not likely to achieve significant cost savings, making the entire region feel more like a single system could achieve many of the same results. The Clipper card is one step in the right direction. Creating a single transit map for the region would be another. A further step would be to move toward common marketing and branding. This approach has been taken in Melbourne, Australia, where there are numerous transit operators but the public face of transit is a single brand: Metlink.

What’s Next for Transit?

Bay Area transit systems, while operated separately, are owned by the same shareholders: the people. That simple fact should make improving transit for its owners (i.e., its customers) a top priority. To get the Bay Area’s $1.5 billion in annual transit system investments to produce better results requires much more transparency and direct and accountable financial incentives. These are not revolutionary concepts — in fact, they are the basis of all democratic systems. The system will not get better on its own. It will start to unravel unless we make needed changes. A better and sustainable transit system for the region will make a better Bay Area.

 
Tonymercury Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: Botany NSW

The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency has agreed to replace aging track, upgrade dozens of signals and install a new communications cable on the Muni Metro system to satisfy the state Public Utilities Commission, which last year expressed concern about major safety problems on the rail system.

"Our staff is fully committed to working for the people of San Francisco and with the staff of the CPUC to keep our system safe," said Edward Reiskin, the agency's director. "I'm pleased that CPUC staff agrees with us that it is in the best interest of the riding public to spend our limited dollars on improving our aging infrastructure rather than on litigation."

In February 2011, the commission announced it was investigating the agency for repeatedly violating federal, state and local rail safety regulations, "resulting in unsafe operations and endangering Muni passengers." The commission regulates rail transit operations in the state.

Investigators allegedly found numerous track defects and problems with the automatic train-control system that runs trains in the subway. State regulators also said agency officials had ignored their concerns. Muni officials said then that they felt blindsided by the commission's action, and defended the safety of the aging system, citing a $141 million rail rehabilitation project under way.

Once the rhetoric cooled, officials from the agencies began crafting a settlement. It includes completing the MTA's ongoing Church and Duboce rail-replacement project and existing plans to replace tracks at other locations, including the Eureka curve, Muni Metro turnaround, and Duboce Portal. It also calls for upgrading 27 signals that automatically govern train movements, replacing the communications cable that controls the automatic train-control system in the Market Street/Twin Peaks Tunnel, and following the recommendations of an independent safety analyst who will examine the operation through the Sunset Tunnel.

The MTA board will consider the agreement at its 1 p.m. meeting Tuesday. It also requires approval from the commission.

 
wanderer53 Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: front left seat EE set now departed
Hill urges support of Caltrain electrification plan


















Local lawmakers and transit officials are calling on the public to get behind a proposal that would allocate $1.5 billion in public funds to convert Caltrain to an electrically powered commuter system by the year 2019.

 

Assemblyman Jerry Hill, D-San Mateo, today joined Caltrain officials and San Mateo City Council members to preview a new Caltrain electrification proposal that will be released next week by the Metropolitan Transportation Commission.

 

Standing trackside at the San Mateo Caltrain station, Hill had to speak over engine noise from a train that arrived and departed during the news conference.

 

"Hear that noise?" Hill asked. "You won't hear that noise with electrification."

 

The Caltrain electrification investment proposal comes at a time when the California High-Speed Rail Authority is looking to allocate funds to transit systems in northern and southern California that will eventually connect with the statewide high-speed rail system.

 

Peninsula politicians have been galvanized by the concept of a "blended" rail system between San Jose and San Francisco, one that would accommodate high-speed trains and Caltrain on a shared, two-track route and prevent the build-out of a larger, more disruptive four-track system.

 

The MTC proposal seeks to allocate about $750 million in local transportation funds for Caltrain electrification that would be matched dollar-for-dollar by high-speed rail bond money, thereby raising $1.5 billion for the six-year project, Hill said.

 

Hill said that electrification would allow for quieter, faster trains with more trips and more stops, making the commute between San Francisco and the South Bay much faster than the current schedule or having to drive on gridlocked roadways.

 

"It takes me longer to get from San Mateo to San Jose than it takes me to get from San Mateo to Sacramento," Hill said.

 

An electrified Caltrain would be able to accommodate an increase in daily ridership from 45,000 to more than 70,000, and greenhouse gas emissions would be reduced by 90 percent, Hill said.

 

In order for the electrification proposal to move forward, the High-Speed Rail Authority must include in its business plan the $750 million allocation of Proposition 1A bond money to Caltrain, Hill said.

 

The Legislature then must include the allocation in the state budget and approve it, he said.

 

Hill urged public support for the Caltrain electrification project and suggested that Peninsula residents "let their voices be heard" by contacting state and local officials and showing up at upcoming meetings.

 
wanderer53 Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: front left seat EE set now departed
Last week, the Alameda Corridor-East Construction Authority (ACE) invited 14 pre-qualified construction firms to submit bids for the San Gabriel Trench grade separation in San Gabriel, Calif. Bids are due May 2.

To be completed in about four years, the project calls for constructing a 1.4-mile-long, 65-foot-wide, 30-foot-deep, concrete-walled railroad trench and building street bridges at four grade crossings.

The $498.5 million project will involve lowering a 1.4-mile section of Union Pacific Railroad track in a trench running through the city of San Gabriel. The project will help ease local traffic congestion by grade separating four crossings with cumulative daily traffic of 89,740 vehicles, ACE officials said in a bid notice. The crossings are intermittently blocked by rail traffic, which averages 14 freight trains per day and six passenger trains per week.

The trench is the largest project in ACE’s ongoing program involving grade separations and traffic safety improvements in the San Gabriel Valley. Nearly 60 percent of the region’s container traffic travels along ACE’s corridor to destinations nationwide.
 
wanderer53 Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: front left seat EE set now departed

 

Last week, San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) and local officials unveiled a decorative vinyl wrap that was installed at the future site of the Central Subway’s Chinatown Station, an event that served as an opportunity to highlight progress on the Central Subway project.

Bids for station construction are due May 8 and a groundbreaking will be held later this year. Construction is scheduled to be complete in 2017, SFMTA officials said. The station was designed by the Central Subway Design Group, a joint venture between Parsons Brinckerhoff, Michael Willis Architects and Kwan Henmi Architects.

Several other project milestones are anticipated in 2012, as well. Later this year, SFMTA expects to learn whether it will receive a Full Funding Grant Agreement from the Federal Transit Administration; workers will begin preparing the alignment for construction of a 1.6-mile tunnel; and contracts for three other Central Subway stations are scheduled to go out for bid.

The Central Subway project calls for extending the T Third Line from the 4th Street Caltrain Station to Chinadown, providing a direct link from the Bayshore and Mission Bay areas to the South of Market and downtown areas. The project is the second phase of SFMTA’s Third Street Light Rail Transit Project. The first segment of the T Third Line opened in April 2007. The Central Subway is scheduled to open in 2019.

 
wanderer53 Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: front left seat EE set now departed

March 21, 2012 1:03 a.m.

The late Bob Cabral’s vision may one day come true for Manteca.Cabral anticipated that the day would come when people living in the East Bay and San Jose would catch an Altamont Commuter Express train and head west to jobs in Manteca, Tracy and Stockton. The reverse commute, Cabral believed, would bolster the Northern San Joaquin Valley economy.Cabral was an Escalon almond grower who served on the San Joaquin County Board of Supervisors. He is credited with being the driving force that got ACE service launched.ACE currently is working on its own high speed rail project that would slash the travel time to San Jose in half to 55 minutes. That would be accomplished by accessing high speed rail bound money to secure right-of-way over the Altamont for a route that would allow trains to travel at speeds in excess of 100 mph before slowing down on both sides when going through cities. Currently ACE shares tracks with Union Pacific on rails that force trains to slow down to 25 mph.“Cutting travel time between San Jose and Manteca down to 55 minutes or less would be a big deal for the economy,” noted Don Smail who serves as the City of Manteca’s economic development manager.Smail sees the faster rail service working to Manteca’s advantage in two ways if it materializes down the road.“Not only would you be able to get from Manteca to the new (San Francisco) 49ers stadium in Santa Clara by rail but if Great Wolf Resort is built here people from San Jose could reach it by rail as well,” Smail said.The development of a high speed ACE system would offer Manteca the chance to develop an economic hub around a future station stop.Smail could see small scale offices on top of the transit station that would allow people to work there and then - if needed - catch an ACE train to San Jose, Pleasanton or Santa Clara to go to meetings and such.“If you cut travel down to 55 minutes it creates a lot of possibilities,” Smail emphasized.The extension of ACE to Modesto would be the game changer for Manteca.Smail noted current Lathrop/Manteca station that serves the existing Stockton to San Jose trains that is located on Yosemite Avenue is away from services.“You can’t even buy a cup of coffee there,” Smail noted.Yet because of the number of commuters that drive to the station from as far away as Sonora and Merced, it is always the top or second highest boarding stop on the system for commuters.Service to Modesto would create the opportunity for a Manteca station stop.Smail could see a transit village build up around an ACE stop whether it is part of downtown across from the $6.1 million station breaking ground this spring on Moffat or a location along the 120 Bypass possibly at Main Street.No route has been selected as of yet if ACE gets funding for such a line. The preferred ACE route could be down the 120 corridor median.In such a case a station could be built in the freeway median such as the BART station in Pleasanton. That would allow for the possibility of a transit village possibly on the southern side of the 120 Bypass and Main Street interchange.

 
wanderer53 Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: front left seat EE set now departed

Caltrain construction and maintenance this week


Wednesday, March 21, 2012


Southern California's Caltrain will conduct construction on the San Bruno Grade Seperation Project and perform maintenance at several locations.

San Bruno Grade Separation Project
Pile driving, which is the first step in the construction of the foundation of the grade separation, began last month. The work will involve excavation, drilling and machines that hammer or drive columns into the ground. A total of 361 piles will be driven into the ground over the course of six to eight weeks. A total of 228 piles have been driven to date.

Other work, which includes digging with a backhoe, mini-excavator and jackhammer, will be done. Temporary shoring will be installed in preparation for concrete pouring. Crews will locate and perform work on utilities, which may involve driving light duty construction vehicles through city streets.

The $147 million project will elevate the Caltrain tracks above three existing at-grade street crossings at San Bruno, San Mateo and Angus Avenues. A new elevated Caltrain station between San Bruno and San Mateo Avenues will replace the station at Sylvan Avenue.


Maintenance
Caltrain will perform routine maintenance at several locations next week.

San Francisco to South San Francisco
Tuesday, March 20 through Thursday, March 22, crews will operate light on-track machinery to grind and align tracks between 22nd Street and South San Francisco stations. Crews will also weld and grind tracks between the Bayshore and South San Francisco stations.

San Bruno to Millbrae
Tuesday, March 20 through Friday, March 23, crews will excavate, lay utilities, grade and remove ballast along the right-of-way between the San Bruno and Millbrae stations.

Redwood City to Menlo Park
Tuesday, March 20 through Thursday, March 23, crews will operate light on-track machinery to remove and replace rail ties between Redwood City and Menlo Park stations.

 
Tonymercury Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: Botany NSW

First San Francisco streetcar to lead centennial celebration

Published: March 23, 2012

SAN FRANCISCO – The San Francisco Municipal Railway will kick off its centennial celebration by returning its first streetcar to regular service. W. L. Holman built car No. 1 in San Francisco for $7,700, part of Muni’s first order of 10 streetcars. Mayor James Rolph, Jr. personally piloted No. 1 on Dec. 28, 1912 to formally open Muni. Fifty thousand San Franciscans turned out to celebrate.

The car was retired in 1951, and set aside for possible static display at a proposed rail museum near Fisherman’s Wharf. All 42 other cars of this type were scrapped. The museum idea fell through, but in 1962 the car was restored to its original 1912 condition by Muni to serve as centerpiece of the railway’s 50th anniversary celebration.

From 1962 to 1982 the car was used occasionally for charter service. Beginning in 1983 it operated summers during San Francisco Trolley Festivals, which featured the operation of historic streetcars. The Trolley Festivals led to the establishment of the F-Line, which operates with historic cars from San Francisco and other cities. No. 1 began serving the new F-Line when it opened in 1995, but was pulled from service in 2006 with a wiring problem.

In 2009, the car was shipped to Pennsylvania, where restoration work began under a $1.8 million contract awarded to Brookville Equipment Co. Brookville rebuilt the trucks, motors, and running gear, reconstructed the car body, and installed low voltage electrical circuits for lighting, switch control, and communications. The car returned to San Francisco in December 2010 for testing and limited service prior to serving as the centerpiece of Muni’s centennial this year.

Ceremonies welcoming car No. 1 back to the fleet will be held at 10 a.m. April 5 with a ceremony outside the San Francisco Railway Museum. U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein and San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee will lead the ceremony. Feinstein, who is as chair of Muni’s centennial committee, was the key mover in establishing vintage streetcar service on Market Street during her term as San Francisco mayor.

The ceremony is open to the public, but rides on the car on that day will be restricted to dignitaries. It is expected that Muni will then run No. 1 in regular F-line service as part of its centennial celebration.

 
Tonymercury Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: Botany NSW

With all the hoo-ha over the 75th anniversary of the Golden Gate Bridge, another important milestone is being overshadowed: the 100th birthday of Muni.

The San Francisco Municipal Railway started operating on Dec. 28, 1912, as one of the first publicly owned transit systems - the people's railway.

The celebration is about to begin. On April 5, Sen. Dianne Feinstein will join Muni officials and, undoubtedly, a passel of local and state politicos, to kick off the party with a 10 a.m. ceremony at the Market Street Railway Museum, 77 Steuart St., near the foot of Market Street.

But the real partying will take place aboard recently restored Car No. 1. While the ceremony is open to the public, Car No. 1 will only haul dignitaries that day, hauling them on a quick trip to Pier 39 and back. Details are still to be worked out, but Car No. 1 is expected to haul passengers on regular F line service as part of the centennial celebration.

More events are planned but have not yet been announced.

 
wanderer53 Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: front left seat EE set now departed

SFMTA recommends two-year budget proposal with maintenance focus


Friday, March 30, 2012


The Transportation for the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, which oversees all transportation in the city, including the Municipal Railway (Muni), released proposals to balance the agency's upcoming two-year budget. The proposals make a significant investment in maintenance that will increase Muni's reliability, reduce overtime through adequate staffing and focus on key initiatives such as the Transit Effectiveness Project.

Staff will present these proposals to the SFMTA Board of Directors on Tuesday, April 3.

This budget would support an increase in maintenance and direct funds to key service initiatives by amounts of $17.5 million in Fiscal Year 2013 and $29.1 million in FY 2014.

The Capital Budget consists of $429.2 million in FY 12-13 and $403 million in FY 13-14, funding various projects within 16 capital programs. Funding commitments include:

• Targeted $38 million investment in Muni Metro System track and signal infrastructure to improve service reliability
• More than $447 million to continue development of the Muni Metro T Third Central Subway project to decrease travel time and improve mobility

 
wanderer53 Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: front left seat EE set now departed

The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA), which oversees all transportation in the city, including the Municipal Railway (Muni), released staff’s proposals to balance the agency’s upcoming two-year budget. The proposals make a significant investment in maintenance that will increase Muni’s reliability, reduce overtime through adequate staffing and focus on key initiatives such as the Transit Effectiveness Project (TEP).

The staff will present proposals to the SFMTA board of directors early next week.

“These proposals represent a significant investment in maintenance,” said SFMTA Director of Transportation Edward D. Reiskin. “For far too long, our maintenance operation has been understaffed and underfunded, which adversely affects service reliability on a daily basis. These proposals will allow the agency to invest in our infrastructure, including the buses and trains, the track and overhead lines, and other aspects of the system so that we can address any issues before service is impacted.”

This budget would support an increase in maintenance and direct funds to key service initiatives by amounts of $17.5 million in Fiscal Year (FY) 2013 and $29.1 million in FY 2014. The fiscal year is July 1 to June 30.

Other key components of the operating budget proposal include all door boarding, additional safety and traffic personnel free Muni for low-income youth, labor concessions, modernizing antiquated parking policies and expanding current parking management, offsetting state citation fees and implementing management efficiencies.

“While we’ve made tough decisions in order to develop a responsible, balanced budget, we are doing everything we can to avoid fare increases and service cuts. These proposals reflect our commitment to the city’s Transit First policy and allows for improvement in all modes of transportation,” said Reiskin

 
wanderer53 Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: front left seat EE set now departed

 

The Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) opened the first group of renovated elevators last week as part of a $4.2 million, multi-phase project to upgrade elevators and escalators along the Santa Teresa-Alum Rock line between the Virginia and Cottle light-rail stations.

The agency opened renovated elevators at the Blossom Hill, Branham and Cottle stations, which feature new floors and ceilings, controllers and emergency communications systems, VTA officials said in a prepared statement.
 
A second grouping will include elevators at the Capitol and Tamien stations, and both elevators at the Snell station, which will remain closed from April 4 until early July. The final grouping, consisting of elevators at the Cottle, Virginia and Hamilton stations, will close thereafter, with the entire project wrapping up by September, VTA estimates.
 
The elevators have been in continuous operation since 1991 and are exhibiting signs of deterioration, requiring accessibility and safety improvements, and signs of corrosion, VTA officials said.

 
wanderer53 Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: front left seat EE set now departed

SFMTA Board approves two-year budget, includes $485 million for rail Infrastructure


Wednesday, April 18, 2012


The Board of Directors of the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, which oversees all transportation in the city, including the Municipal Railway, approved the agency's two-year budget for Fiscal Year (FY) 2013 and FY 2014. The fiscal year is July 1 to June 30. This budget makes a significant investment in maintenance that will increase Muni's reliability, reduce overtime through adequate staffing and focus on key initiatives such as the Transit Effectiveness Project (TEP) and other means to speed the system, such as all-door boarding.

The budget also provides free transit service for low-income youth, ages 5-17, who use a Clipper card, for a 22-month pilot program beginning Aug. 1, contingent upon funding from the Metropolitan Transportation Commission.

Other key components of the operating budget include implementing management efficiencies with $2 million in cuts to management staff; $5 million reduction in overtime and $1 million savings through improved management of worker's compensation.

A projected savings of $7 million annually related to salaries and benefits in labor contracts currently being negotiated.

The Capital Budget consists of $582.3 million in FY 12-13 and $477.8 million in FY 13-14, funding various projects within 16 capital programs.

Rail-related funding commitments include a targeted $38 million investment in Muni Metro System track and signal infrastructure to improve service reliability, Additionally, more than $447 million to continue development of the Muni Metro T Third Central Subway project to decrease travel time and improve mobility.

 
wanderer53 Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: front left seat EE set now departed

 

On Tuesday, the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency’s (SFMTA) board approved a budget for fiscal years 2013 and 2014 that calls for a “significant investment” in maintenance intended to increase the Municipal Railway’s (Muni) reliability, reduce overtime and focus on key initiatives such as the Transit Effectiveness Project (TEP).

The two-year capital budget will consist of $582.3 million in FY2012-2013 and $477.8 million in FY2013-2014, and will fund 16 capital programs. Those programs include $38 million in Muni Metro System track and signal infrastructure, and $447 million to continue development of the Muni Metro T Third Central Subway project.

“The budget represents a significant investment in maintenance,” said Edward Reiskin, SFMTA’s director of transportation, in a prepared statement. “For far too long, our maintenance operation has been understaffed and underfunded, which adversely affects service reliability on a daily basis. This budget allows the agency to invest in our infrastructure, including the buses and trains, the track and overhead lines, and other aspects of the system so that we can address any issues before service is impacted.”

Key components of the operating budget include:

• Implementing management efficiencies through $2 million in cuts to management staff, a $5 million reduction in overtime and $1 million in savings through improved management of worker’s compensation;
• More than $1 million to support the implementation of all-door-boarding by July 1;
• Additional safety and traffic personnel to improve traffic and transit safety and efficiency;
• Projected savings of $7 million annually related to salaries and benefits in labor contracts currently being negotiated;
• Modernizing antiquated parking policies and expanding current parking management; and
• Offsetting state citation fees, including a $5 increase in citation fees to cover two state-imposed court surcharges.

“While we’ve made tough decisions in order to develop a responsible, balanced budget, we have done everything we can to avoid additional fare increases and service cuts,” said Reiskin

 
wanderer53 Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: front left seat EE set now departed

The board of directors of the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) approved the agency’s two-year budget for Fiscal Year (FY) 2013 and FY 2014. The fiscal year is July 1 to June 30.

The budget makes a significant investment in maintenance that will increase the Municipal Railway’s (Muni) reliability, reduce overtime through adequate staffing and focus on key initiatives such as the Transit Effectiveness Project (TEP) and other means to speed the system, such as all-door boarding.

The budget also provides free transit service for low-income youth, ages five to 17, who use a Clipper card, for a 22-month pilot program beginning Aug. 1, contingent upon funding from the Metropolitan Transportation Commission.

Other key components of the operating budget include:

•    Implementing management efficiencies. $2 million in cuts to management staff; $5 million reduction in overtime; and $1 million savings through improved management of worker’s compensation

•    All Door Boarding. The budget provides more than $1 million to support the implementation of all door boarding by July 1 of this year. All door boarding— which means passengers can legally board buses through any door, unless they are paying with cash—will have immediate positive impacts on the system, such as speeding up the boarding process, improving service reliability and reducing travel time. Additionally, faster service will result in savings that can be reinvested into the system through improved frequency and increased capacity, realizing long-term, sustainable benefits.

•    Additional safety and traffic personnel to improve traffic and transit safety and efficiency

•    Labor concessions. Projected savings on the order of $7 million annually related to salaries and benefits in labor contracts currently being negotiated.

•    Modernizing antiquated parking policies and expanding current parking management. Currently, parking is generally unregulated on Sundays, except on Port property. In the 1950s, when many of the city’s parking meters were installed to facilitate commerce, many businesses were closed on Sundays. Today, roughly three-quarters of the city’s businesses are open. This plan calls for enforcement between noon and 6 p.m. on Sundays, including four hour time limits. Plans also include adding more than 500 meters to the existing 29,000 to help increase parking efficiency in neighborhoods historically challenged with parking availability.

•    Offsetting State Citation Fees. Includes $5 increase in citation fees to cover two state-imposed court surcharges

Key components of two-year capital budget:

Sixteen capital programs funded. The Capital Budget consists of $582.3million in FY 12-13 and $477.8million in FY 13-14, funding various projects within 16 capital programs. Funding commitments include:

•    Targeted $38 million investment in Muni Metro System track and signal infrastructure to improve service reliability

•    More than $447 million to continue development of the Muni Metro T Third Central Subway project to decrease travel time and improve mobility

•    Investment of $185 million in the Muni bus fleet to reduce maintenance costs and improve service reliability and $32 million in traffic and signal infrastructure for reduced maintenance costs and implement transit signal priority


 
wanderer53 Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: front left seat EE set now departed

SFMTA releases Union Square/Market Street Station contract for bid


Friday, April 20, 2012


The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency's Central Subway Union Square/Market Street Station has gone out for bid, marking the latest advance in this major improvement to San Francisco's public transportation system.

The station, a subway station with entrances in Union Square Plaza and at the corner of Market and Stockton streets, will ease travel to and from downtown and Union Square, home to the city's highest concentration of jobs and an array of hotels, retailers, entertainment venues and restaurants.

The station will connect directly to the existing Powell Street Station through an underground, concourse-to-concourse walkway. This link will provide customers quick, easy access to BART and the other Muni Metro lines and improve connections to other Bay Area public transportation systems.

The station was designed by the Central Subway Design Group, a joint venture of Parsons Brinckerhoff, Michael Willis Architects and Kwan Henmi Architects. The design emphasizes brightness, openness and natural light to complement and enrich Union Square plaza. The station's main entrance, to be located at the corner of Geary and Stockton streets, will blend into the existing landscape by emulating the aesthetic of the plaza. Inside, terrazzo floors, plaster walls and glass and aluminum ceilings will infuse the station with light.

Bids for the estimated $210 million project are due July 11. A pre-bid conference and contractor meet-and-greet event are planned for May 16. Station construction is on track to start in early 2013 and finish in 2017.

The remaining two Central Subway construction contracts, for the Yerba Buena/Moscone Station and for trackwork, systems and the 4th and Brannan surface station, are on track for advertisement by summer.

 
Tonymercury Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: Botany NSW




The Board of Directors of the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA), which oversees all transportation in the city, including the Municipal Railway (Muni), approved the Agency’s two-year budget for Fiscal Year (FY) 2013 and FY 2014.

The fiscal year is July 1 to June 30. This budget makes a significant investment in maintenance that will increase Muni’s reliability, reduce overtime through adequate staffing and focus on key initiatives such as the Transit Effectiveness Project (TEP) and other means to speed the system, such as all-door boarding.

The budget also provides free transit service for low-income youth, ages 5-17, who use a Clipper card, for a 22-month pilot program beginning Aug. 1, contingent upon funding from the Metropolitan Transportation Commission.

“The budget approved today invests in Muni’s future and the future of transportation in our city,” said Tom Nolan, Chairman of the Board of Directors. “By supporting low-income families, Muni maintenance, the TEP and pedestrian and bicycling improvements, we further efforts to increase street safety and promote San Francisco’s Transit First policy.”




“The budget represents a significant investment in maintenance,” said Edward D. Reiskin, SFMTA Director of Transportation. “For far too long, our maintenance operation has been understaffed and underfunded, which adversely affects service reliability on a daily basis. This budget allows the Agency to invest in our infrastructure, including the buses and trains, the track and overhead lines and other aspects of the system so that we can address any issues before service is impacted.”

 

Other key components of the operating budget include:

Implementing management efficiencies. $2 million in cuts to management staff; $5 million reduction in overtime; and $1 million savings through improved management of worker’s compensation

All Door Boarding. The budget provides more than $1 million to support the implementation of all door boarding by July 1 of this year. All door boarding— which means passengers can legally board buses through any door, unless they are paying with cash—will have immediate positive impacts on the system, such as speeding up the boarding process, improving service reliability and reducing travel time. Additionally, faster service will result in savings that can be reinvested into the system through improved frequency and increased capacity, realizing long-term, sustainable benefits.

Additional safety and traffic personnel to improve traffic and transit safety and efficiency

Labor concessions. Projected savings on the order of $7 million annually related to salaries and benefits in labor contracts currently being negotiated.

Modernizing antiquated parking policies and expanding current parking management. Currently, parking is generally unregulated on Sundays, except on Port property. In the 1950s, when many of the city’s parking meters were installed to facilitate commerce, many businesses were closed on Sundays. Today, roughly three-quarters of the city’s businesses are open. This plan calls for enforcement between noon and 6 p.m. on Sundays, including four hour time limits. Plans also include adding more than 500 meters to the existing 29,000 to help increase parking efficiency in neighborhoods historically challenged with parking availability.

Offsetting State Citation Fees. Includes $5 increase in citation fees to cover two state-imposed court surcharges

“While we’ve made tough decisions in order to develop a responsible, balanced budget, we have done everything we can to avoid additional fare increases and service cuts. This budget reflects our commitment to the city’s Transit First policy and allows for improvement in all modes of transportation,” said Reiskin.

Key components of two-year capital budget:

Sixteen capital programs funded. The Capital Budget consists of $582.3million in FY 12-13 and $477.8million in FY 13-14, funding various projects within 16 capital programs. Funding commitments include:

  Targeted $38 million investment in Muni Metro System track and signal infrastructure to improve service reliability
  More than $447 million to continue development of the Muni Metro T Third Central Subway project to decrease travel time and improve mobility
  Investment of $1 million in complete street improvements on Fell and Oak, adding a vital link to San Francisco’s bicycle network
  Investment in $7 million to continue implementation of the San Francisco Bicycle Plan.
  Investment of $185 million in the Muni bus fleet to reduce maintenance costs and improve service reliability.
  Investment of $10 million in complete street investments in Department of Public Works’ paving projects, improving bicycle and pedestrian safety
  Investment of $2.9 million in creating safe environments for San Francisco children to get to school
  Investment of $32 million in traffic and signal infrastructure for reduced maintenance costs and implement transit signal priority
  Investment of $1.8 million to increase the electric taxi fleet infrastructure and invest in improved taxi access and reliability

 

 
wanderer53 Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: front left seat EE set now departed

 

The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) recently announced the contract for the Central Subway Union Square/Market Street Station, a $210 million project, has gone to bid.

The station will connect to the existing Powell Street Station through an underground, concourse-to-concourse walkway, SFMTA officials said in a prepared statement. The link will provide access to Bay Area Rapid Transit and other area public transportation services.

“The Union Square area, already a vital job center and a premier destination for San Franciscans and visitors, will benefit greatly from the Central Subway,” said Board of Supervisors President David Chiu, whose district includes Union Square Plaza.

The station was designed by the Central Subway Design Group, a joint venture of Parsons Brinckerhoff, Michael Willis Architects and Kwan Henmi Architects.

Bids are due July 11

 
wanderer53 Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: front left seat EE set now departed

 

The Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) is replacing its paper transit passes with the “Clipper” smart-card fare system.

Starting July 1, all VTA monthly pass users will be required to pay for rides on VTA light-rail trains and buses using reloadable smart cards, agency officials said in a prepared statement.

The Clipper cards will allow riders to pay for transit services throughout the entire Bay area, they said. In the coming weeks, VTA and Clipper Card representatives will be posted at various locations throughout the system to assist riders with the transition.

“Clipper saves time and makes transfers easy,” said VTA Chairman Ken Yeager.

 
wanderer53 Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: front left seat EE set now departed

The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA), which oversees the transportation network in the city, announced the San Francisco board of supervisors and the SFMTA board of directors unanimously approved several resolutions that will move the Central Subway Project forward.

Of the five measures approved by the board of supervisors, one supports an assurance funding plan that will allow the Central Subway to advance if state bond funds earmarked for the project are delayed. The SFMTA board of directors approved a similar measure. The board of supervisors also passed four resolutions approving the acquisition of temporary construction licenses, allowing work related to the Central Subway tunnel to commence around Union Square.

The resolutions supporting an assurance funding plan allow the SFMTA to issue revenue bonds in the event of a shortfall or delay in state Proposition 1A High Speed Rail Connectivity funds. The Federal Transit Administration, which is expected to provide nearly $1 billion in funding to the Central Subway Project through its New Starts program, requested this additional assurance as a backup plan.

The other resolutions passed by the board of supervisors approve the acquisition of four temporary construction licenses around Union Square. Work to prepare the project alignment for tunneling is on track to begin in June in this area. The temporary construction licenses would authorize the SFMTA to acquire the rights via eminent domain to install temporary piles that cross into privately owned property dozens of feet below ground. The SFMTA continues to negotiate a license agreement with the owners of the four properties.

The assurance funding measure and the four construction license resolutions were unanimously approved by San Francisco’s 11 supervisors. The SFMTA has the authority under the city’s charter to issue revenue bonds to support capital projects.

The Central Subway is expected to open to the public in 2019.

 
wanderer53 Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: front left seat EE set now departed

 

Today, the Peninsula Corridor Joint Powers Board, which owns and operates Caltrain, is scheduled to consider dipping into “one-time funds” for the fourth consecutive year to help balance a preliminary operating budget.

For the past two years, Caltrain has maintained operations in part through the repayment of funds that are due to the San Mateo County Transit District for the original purchase of the Caltrain right of way in 1991. After fiscal-year 2013, those funds will be fully repaid — meaning that a year from now, Caltrain could face drastic service cuts and fare increases, Caltrain officials said in a prepared statement.

The agency is the only Bay Area transit system without a dedicated source of revenue. Agency staff are expected to tell the board in today’s meeting that “one-time funds are an unreliable and unsustainable source of funding,” Caltrain officials said.

“We have not solved our fiscal crisis,” said Caltrain Executive Director Mike Scanlon. “We have only delayed it by one year.”

The board will review a $111 million proposed budget; no service cuts or fare increases are expected in the coming year. The proposed budget does include $375,000 to add six new trains to relieve overcrowding during peak commute times. Caltrain’s weekday ridership is at a historic high this year, with a 12 percent increase and 20 consecutive months of ridership growth.

During peak commute times, many of the system’s most popular trains have more passengers than seats.

On the expense side, about 54 percent, or $59.6 million, would be spent on operations; 15 percent, or $16.8 million, on fuel; and 12.5 percent, or $13.9 million, on administrative costs, Caltrain officials said

 

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