Light rail sidetracks Monterey to S.F. plan

For 90 years, Southern Pacific's Del Monte Express carried travelers between Monterey and San Francisco. Full Story
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Michael

Danville, CA

#22 Jun 13, 2010
Some interesting back-and-forth. Unfortunately, the 'anti-train' lobby here is throwing out a lot of misinformation.

Diesel train are the greenest transportation available on land today for mass transit. There does not need to be any horns blowing -'quiet zones' can be created in any community (Roseville & Escalon are two N. Cal examples). Schedules should be weighted inbound on the weekends and outbound during the week. Can you imagine if we could still run trains to Spanish Bay, how much more manageable traffic would be on the Peninsula during AT&T's and the Open?

And another reason not yet mentioned: As a feeder line to the High-Speed Rail stop in Gilroy. When he have HSR running LA to SF, we will wish we had built a convenient connection to it.

In regards to funding, it's all how you structure it. Caltrain is suffering because its funding is derived from SALES TAXES and funneled through the General Funds of the three counties that operate it. Capitol Corridor (SJ-OAK-SAC) and other state-programmed Amtrak services are funded through gas taxes & lock boxes. Money cannot be diverted to any other uses. Train frequency is up & ridership is as well. This is the model we need to establish a healthy Inter-city service from Monterey to SF & SAC.
CA girl

Russellville, MO

#23 Jun 13, 2010
Disgusted wrote:
<quoted text> I don't believe enough people here will use the trains to make them profitable, so let's not waste the money there. An iron rice bowl stands for someone's job. VTA considers their light rail routes very carefully.
I'm fascinated by phrase origins and meanings, thanks for the explanation. Do you know any more about it? I'd also like to know what you considered while coming to the conclusion that not enough people would use trains to make them profitable. Thanks!
CA girl

Russellville, MO

#24 Jun 13, 2010
Michael wrote:
Some interesting back-and-forth. Unfortunately, the 'anti-train' lobby here is throwing out a lot of misinformation.
Diesel train are the greenest transportation available on land today for mass transit. There does not need to be any horns blowing -'quiet zones' can be created in any community (Roseville & Escalon are two N. Cal examples). Schedules should be weighted inbound on the weekends and outbound during the week. Can you imagine if we could still run trains to Spanish Bay, how much more manageable traffic would be on the Peninsula during AT&T's and the Open?
And another reason not yet mentioned: As a feeder line to the High-Speed Rail stop in Gilroy. When he have HSR running LA to SF, we will wish we had built a convenient connection to it.
In regards to funding, it's all how you structure it. Caltrain is suffering because its funding is derived from SALES TAXES and funneled through the General Funds of the three counties that operate it. Capitol Corridor (SJ-OAK-SAC) and other state-programmed Amtrak services are funded through gas taxes & lock boxes. Money cannot be diverted to any other uses. Train frequency is up & ridership is as well. This is the model we need to establish a healthy Inter-city service from Monterey to SF & SAC.
Thanks for this information. It clears up a lot of questions for me. If I had a choice of riding a train with a dining car and wifi to work, or driving my car, I would ride the train. Do you have any estimates on how long the ride would take to get from Monterey to SF? Driving takes about 3 hours on a good day.

I also like the idea of light rail to Salinas to get the High Speed line. Does the same line go through Salinas and Gilroy?

The difficulty of using the forum "reply" is that you can't reference back to see the other posts!

Since: Mar 09

Monterey Peninsula, CA

#25 Jun 13, 2010
CA girl wrote:
<quoted text>
Do you have any estimates on how long the ride would take to get from Monterey to SF? Driving takes about 3 hours on a good day....

I also like the idea of light rail to Salinas to get the High Speed line. Does the same line go through Salinas and Gilroy?
To the first question, TAMC said travel times would be comparable driving times. I thought I had copy of TAMC's Del Monte plan around here, but I can't seem to find it. It had a more specific travel time estimate. I did find a 1961 Del Monte timetable, though. It had a travel time from downtown Monterey to SF at 3 hours 10 minutes. But it made some 30 stops along the way, a real milk run. The Del Monte TAMC envisioned would only stop at Castroville, Pajaro, Gilroy, San Jose, Palo Alto, Millbrae (SFO), and downtown SF, which would make for a shorter trip. I think Marina should have a stop in there, though.

As to your other question, the HSR line won't go through Salinas. It will go from SF to Gilroy then cut over to the Central Valley and go through Fresno, Bakersfield, and over the Tehachapis. Even though it would be backtracking a little, the Del Monte could connect to it at Gilroy. A conventional LA to SF train via the coast line (i.e. Salinas-Soledad-San Luis Obispo-Santa Barbara) is in the planning stages awaiting funding. It would be an extension of existing runs of the Pacific Surfliners that currently go only as far north as SLO. It has been dubbed the "Coast Daylight" after the famous SP train that ran that route until 1971.

-Mr. Toy
www.montereypeninsula.info
Robert Cruickshank

Salinas, CA

#26 Jun 14, 2010
As a fellow passenger rail advocate, I could not disagree more strongly with this op-ed if I tried.

We have a need for local light rail service to connect the Peninsula cities. A link to an extension of the Capitol Corridor at Castroville would meet our intercity travel needs quite well. It would not go to San Francisco, but it would go to San Jose, Oakland, and a number of other Bay Area cities with higher populations. An easy transfer to Caltrain or BART can be arrange.

Mr. Toy has a long record of passenger rail advocacy, but here he is making the perfect the enemy of the good. By restoring and upgrading passenger rail tracks for light rail vehicles, it would become theoretically possible to bring an intercity train direct from SF to Monterey for occasional trips. The cost of rehabilitating and, in many places, rebuilding the tracks would not likely be able to be funded without going to a light rail system which enables the project to be eligible for much more federal funding than if it were merely an intercity rail project alone.

The need we have here on the Peninsula is for passenger rail, period. A direct connection to SF is just one aspect of that greater need, which includes local service, connection to Amtrak at Castroville, and connection to HSR at Gilroy.
LEX

Mill Valley, CA

#27 Jun 17, 2010
bottom line, the residents dont want a train here. the minority do, and if TAMC or anyone who has a train wish tries to shove it down our throats, it WILL end up on the ballot, you'll and watch your dream train to nowhere go BYE BYE
Alan

Flushing, NY

#28 Jun 17, 2010
LEX wrote:
bottom line, the residents dont want a train here. the minority do, and if TAMC or anyone who has a train wish tries to shove it down our throats, it WILL end up on the ballot, you'll and watch your dream train to nowhere go BYE BYE
And if that is indeed true, then sadly those ill advised votes will only serve to send everyone's taxes even higher than if they had voted for the train.
George

United States

#29 Jun 19, 2010
Disgusted says, "I rode it (Caltrain) for eighteen months, Gilroy to Mountain View. Service was far too limited. We don't need it here."

First, it is difficult to see how these two sentences relate to each other. Second: Gilroy to San Jose IS limited in the amount of service but that could and should change.

"I don't believe enough people here will use trains to make them profitable,..." Right! Roads are so profitable, particularly in towns and dense areas. NOT.

Curt: How can the money end up going to Union Pacific? They have no owership in this line anymore.

I for one would love to spend a day in Monterey and points in that area. I hear it is very nice. But, I live carless in San Francisco. Rent a car to go to Monterey? Not happening. Either we go to places that can be reached by easy to use public transportation, or if we do rent the car, we are doing something more extensive than a trip to Monterey, where I understand parking on weekend is difficult, to boot.

Since: Mar 09

Monterey Peninsula, CA

#30 Jun 19, 2010
Robert Cruickshank wrote:
As a fellow passenger rail advocate, I could not disagree more strongly with this op-ed if I tried. We have a need for local light rail service to connect the Peninsula cities. A link to an extension of the Capitol Corridor at Castroville would meet our intercity travel needs quite well.
With all due respect, Robert, the light rail won't really connect many peninsula cities. The only substantial residential area it would reach is Marina. Most of the rest of the rail corridor runs through commercial areas, touching only the fringes of some small residential areas along the way. The bulk of Seaside's housing is more than a mile from the corridor, and is adequately served by existing buses. Monterey residents will have little use for light rail, but will be most directly impacted by its operations.

As for light rail meeting intercity travel needs, I couldn't disagree more. The Herald cut a line from my commentary which addressed the problems there. Castroville's light rail "station" will be little more than a fancy bus stop - a bench, a platform, and an awning - providing little shelter from the weather. It will be located in an industrial warehouse district, not a pleasant place for travelers to be waiting for their connecting train, especially for tourists lugging baggage. And such a setting would not exactly present a pleasant "welcome to Monterey" atmosphere for tourists, whose business would be essential for the success of any intercity service. I sure wouldn't use it, and I'm a rail advocate!

Intercity rail going directly to downtown Monterey would be ideal for conference attendees at various Monterey hotels, some of which are within walking distance of the depot. Other conference facilities at the Hyatt, Monterey Plaza and Clement are within easy reach of hotel shuttle vans. I worked in one of these conference facilities for 12 years, and we were busy almost year-round with conferences big and small. A huge portion of attendees were from the San Francisco Bay Area, so a direct intercity connection would be of great convenience to them. And local residents form the entire peninsula could use the train for their travels to the Bay Area and beyond.

-Mr. Toy
www.montereypeninsula.info/delmonte/clubcar.h...

Since: Mar 09

Monterey Peninsula, CA

#31 Jun 19, 2010
LEX wrote:
bottom line, the residents dont want a train here. the minority do, and if TAMC or anyone who has a train wish tries to shove it down our throats, it WILL end up on the ballot, you'll and watch your dream train to nowhere go BYE BYE
Then how do you explain that the train displays in 1995 and 2003 drew literally thousands of people to view them?

-Mr. Toy
www.montereypeninsula.info/delmonte/dmu.html
keep window on the bay

Mill Valley, CA

#32 Jul 11, 2010
no train in monterey!!

Since: Mar 09

Monterey Peninsula, CA

#33 Jul 12, 2010
keep window on the bay wrote:
no train in monterey!!
Would you care to elaborate? What is it about train service that you object to?

-Mr. Toy
www.montereypeninsula.info
CLK500

Mill Valley, CA

#34 Jul 16, 2010
because it is a pet project that only benefits a few marina residents. i would rather see TAMC sell the tracks and create a bike path that extends from monterey to sand city and seaside. it would be used by thousands of residents. your dream train to SF is just that. a dream.
CLK500

Mill Valley, CA

#35 Jul 16, 2010
MrToy wrote:
<quoted text>
With all due respect, Robert, the light rail won't really connect many peninsula cities. The only substantial residential area it would reach is Marina. Most of the rest of the rail corridor runs through commercial areas, touching only the fringes of some small residential areas along the way. The bulk of Seaside's housing is more than a mile from the corridor, and is adequately served by existing buses. Monterey residents will have little use for light rail, but will be most directly impacted by its operations.
As for light rail meeting intercity travel needs, I couldn't disagree more. The Herald cut a line from my commentary which addressed the problems there. Castroville's light rail "station" will be little more than a fancy bus stop - a bench, a platform, and an awning - providing little shelter from the weather. It will be located in an industrial warehouse district, not a pleasant place for travelers to be waiting for their connecting train, especially for tourists lugging baggage. And such a setting would not exactly present a pleasant "welcome to Monterey" atmosphere for tourists, whose business would be essential for the success of any intercity service. I sure wouldn't use it, and I'm a rail advocate!
Intercity rail going directly to downtown Monterey would be ideal for conference attendees at various Monterey hotels, some of which are within walking distance of the depot. Other conference facilities at the Hyatt, Monterey Plaza and Clement are within easy reach of hotel shuttle vans. I worked in one of these conference facilities for 12 years, and we were busy almost year-round with conferences big and small. A huge portion of attendees were from the San Francisco Bay Area, so a direct intercity connection would be of great convenience to them. And local residents form the entire peninsula could use the train for their travels to the Bay Area and beyond.
-Mr. Toy
www.montereypeninsula.info/delmonte/clubcar.h...
if there had to be a train here from the bay area, let the station be in marina. castroville is gang turf and ugly. leave the rest of the peninsula alone. monterey had a train, but that time came and went. let the past stay in the past.

Since: Mar 09

Monterey Peninsula, CA

#36 Jul 16, 2010
CLK500 wrote:
because it is a pet project that only benefits a few marina residents. i would rather see TAMC sell the tracks and create a bike path that extends from monterey to sand city and seaside. it would be used by thousands of residents.
Since the right-of-way is 100 feet wide, there is ample room for both a bike path and train tracks, and the right-of-way agreement allows for both. And in case you haven't noticed, there already is a bike path through most of it. Seaside had planned to put a bike path on the right-of-way north of Canyon Del Rey to Sand City, but like many Seaside projects, they never followed through.

-Mr. Toy
www.montereypeninsula.info
CLK500

Mill Valley, CA

#37 Jul 20, 2010
well good luck getting the funds with our economy so bad and the fact that the majority of monterey residents would be up in arms over a train cutting through a multi-million dollar park and beach, totally destroying the NATURAL beauty in that section. not to mention how many children would wander off the very popular area and get killed or injured by the train? the risks are too many.

Since: Mar 09

Monterey Peninsula, CA

#38 Jul 21, 2010
CLK500 wrote:
well good luck getting the funds with our economy so bad and the fact that the majority of monterey residents would be up in arms over a train cutting through a multi-million dollar park and beach, totally destroying the NATURAL beauty in that section. not to mention how many children would wander off the very popular area and get killed or injured by the train? the risks are too many.
Funding is an ongoing problem. Unlike highway projects, which are eligible for 80% federal funding (with 20% state funding) rail projects must be funded 100% by the states. Even so, California has committed to several rail projects and has, since 1990, developed a highly successful rail program, with ridership exceeding all expectations.

As for the park, a legal rail right of way has existed there long before there was a park. The city developed the park knowing full well that the right of way was still active. In fact, in 1980 the city willingly entered into an agreement with Caltrans and is legally obligated to support restoration of rail service through the park. In 2000, then Mayor Dan Albert signed a 50-year extension of the agreement, so it is still very much in effect. You can download the right of way agreement and read it for yourself here: http://www.montereypeninsula.info/delmonte/Mo...

-Mr. Toy
www.montereypeninsula.info

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