Friday, April 29, 2011

Feds say Ivanpah Solar site threatens tortoises


Reported from the Victorville Daily Press....
This is the project that sits on the left side (California) of I-15 near Primm.  See our prior posts about this project...

SAN BERNARDINO (AP) — A federal assessment shows more than 3,000 desert tortoises that are threatened with extinction would be disturbed by a California solar project, and up to 700 of the young turtles would be killed during construction.
The U.S. Bureau of Land Management assessment released Tuesday is far more than BrightSource Energy Co.’s prediction that an estimated 38 of the reptiles would be disturbed by construction at the 5.6-acre Ivanpah Valley site near Primm, Nev.
BrightSource was ordered this month to halt construction activity on two-thirds of the project.
The Riverside Press-Enterprise reports the BLM’s new assessment estimates that up to 162 adult tortoises in the project area will have to be captured and moved and up to 700 juvenile tortoises would be killed during construction.
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Saturday, April 23, 2011

ARTIC (Anaheim Station) announces Pre-Bid Conference


ARTIC (Anaheim Station) announced yesterday on their FB page the following...
A Pre-Bid Conference will be held at 1:30 P.M. to 3:30 P.M. PST on June 1, 2011 at the City of Anaheim (Gordon Hoyt Conference Room – 201 S. Anaheim Blvd., CA 92805). Representatives of the City will be present to discuss the scope of the project and answer questions. Go to for more information.

Within the page they link to a one-sheeter announcing the Contractor Outreach Conferences coming up on May 5, May 25, and June 1 at Gordon Hoyt Conference Center (right across the street from the City Hall in Anaheim).

They also have a section listing some of the pre-qualified Vendors:  We have included their links and would suggest others to research some of these companies so the public can become familiar with the different projects that they have worked on.  Theres some great looking designs, The City of Anaheim has done their homework and has some great companies who have done other similar structures to bring this project together.

seele, Inc.

Vector Foiltec

Novum Structures LLC

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Maglev Trains Levitating Transrapid Business in Canary Islands


This is a GREAT article on getting another Transrapid Maglev Train set for the Canary Island of Tenerife.
A computer simulation of the Transrapid monorail in Tenerife, the largest of...

The president of the Canary Island of Tenerife Ricardo Melchior wants Maglev and specifcally Transrapid for its ability to traverse the islands mountainous areas.  But, part of the issue is that manufactures are showing little interest in such projects, yet the "The customer is threatening to make an order"..  This is resulting in the German Transportation deputy Rainer Bomba to discuss the issue directly with Siemens to show more enthusiasm for the Tenerife project.

Were hoping that this "encouragement"spreads to the U.S. for the Ca/Nv project and others.  We would love to see some sort of traveling road-show or informational session showcasing the on-time and lower long term repair costs.,1518,758348,00.html
By Peter Müller
Is the magnetic levitation Transrapid train making a comeback on the Canary Islands? German Transportation Minister Peter Ramsauer is enthusiastic about the high-speed monorail, but German manufacturers Siemens and ThyssenKrupp are showing little interest in such projects.

Ricardo Melchior could sing the praises of the magnificent beaches that bring five million tourists a year to his island. He could also praise the untouched nature in the national park around Mount Teide, an active volcano that once inspired the German naturalist Alexander von Humboldt. But the president of the Canary Island of Tenerife, who once studied engineering in the western German city of Aachen, really gets excited when it comes to what he sees as the transportation technology of the future.

Ironically the Transrapid, a high-speed monorail train dreamed up by German inventors more than 40 years ago, could experience a comeback on the Spanish vacation island off the coast of northern Africa. If Melchior has his way, work could begin next year on a planned 120-kilometer (75-mile) route that would connect the island capital Santa Cruz in the north with Costa Adeje in the south and Los Realejos in the northwest. The train, which uses magnetic levitation (maglev) technology, could then speed around the island at about 270 kilometers per hour (169 mph) -- without noise and partially powered by solar energy.

The Spanish politician is well aware that in Germany the Transrapid is seen as the Loch Ness monster of the German economy: often sighted by the media but never really materializing. It was supposed to be levitating through the Saudi Arabian desert by now and carrying pilgrims the 800 kilometers (500 miles) from Tehran to the holy Islamic city Mashhad in Iran. It was supposed to bring travelers from Hamburg to Berlin and from Munich's main train station to the city's airport. But with the exception of a short stretch near Shanghai, the Transrapid has consistently remained a ghost train.

Little Interest Among Manufacturers
In Tenerife, on the other hand, the maglev train is seen as a transportation system with a future, at least according to what Melchior was telling European Union transportation experts in Brussels last week. The Transrapid could be particularly advantageous on Tenerife's mountainous terrain, says Melchior, because it overcomes altitude differences more easily than conventional trains. While a third of the route for a normal train would have to consist of tunnels drilled through lava rock and brittle coarse gravel, a Transrapid line could be largely tunnel-free.

For this reason, the maglev train would cost only half as much as a conventional rail line, and it would be more appealing to tourists, a project study says. As the study's authors point out, a longer train ride through tunnels "wouldn't be much of an attraction."

The only problem is that the enthusiasm over the Transrapid is greater among the potential buyers than in Germany, where the train would be manufactured. While the German government is making every effort to support Operation Tenerife, the industry has lost interest in the Transrapid. After the Munich airport project was canceled in 2008, it now prefers to focus on the conventional railroad business.

German Transportation Minister Peter Ramsauer is furious. The German government invested €1.5 billion ($2.18 billion) in the development and testing of the future-oriented technology, the politician from the Christian Social Union, the Bavarian sister party to Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democrats, says heatedly. "Now it's up to the industry to market the technology," Ramsauer says. If the industry doesn't play along, says Ramsauer, the same thing could happen with the Transrapid that happened with computers and MP3 players. They too were invented in Germany, while the profits were eventually made elsewhere.

'No Immediate Prospects'
Ramsauer's frustrations were recently reinforced at a joint PR appearance with representatives of the German Transrapid industry in faraway Brazil, where a high-speed rail route has been put out for tender. His company "invented and developed" the maglev train "once upon a time," said Hans Christoph Atzpodien, a senior executive with Essen-based steelmaker ThyssenKrupp. But, he added, the train is currently "not a major interest" for the company.

The second Transrapid manufacturer, Siemens, is also showing little interest. Although there are "a few indications of possible routes inside and outside Europe," says Hans-Jörg Grundmann, head of the company's mobility division, "we do not see any immediate, realistic marketing prospects at this time."

Such lethargy infuriates Ramsauer, who already sees himself as a "Captain Future" of transportation policy. At his behest, Transportation Ministry deputy Rainer Bomba recently took Siemens executive board member Siegfried Russwurm to task, suggesting that the company could show a little more enthusiasm for the Tenerife project.

Privately, Bomba vented his displeasure over manufacturers dragging their feet, saying sarcastically, "The customer is threatening to make an order."

That could, in fact, happen soon. Melchior says that he already has funding commitments for a portion of the estimated €3 billion maglev route. He intends to tap into Europe's subsidy coffers and the wallets of private investors for the rest.

Melchior is also counting on the support of Chancellor Merkel. In a letter to the German leader, the island's president directed her attention to Tenerife's problems. He asked Merkel, who likes to vacation on the neighboring island of Gomera, to put in a good word with Siemens and ThyssenKrupp, so that his island railway could be built.
Translated from the German by Christopher Sultan

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Ca/Nv Maglev News

E220 route might include HSR


Here is a follow up story about last weeks informational meetings for the Antelope Valley to Victorville E-220 freeway.  The story also briefly mentions that the median could also hold HSR tracks, but then also mentions that the right of way could also handle inner-city Metrolink trains.  

Link to this detailed article because it also gives a bit of insight as to where the freeway might start in Palmdale and how many lanes of traffic, and talk of solar farms along the route.

At the public hearings held in High Desert communities, Caltrans and the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) introduced the details of the High Desert Corridor that will link California State Route 14 (Antelope Valley Freeway) to Interstate 15, north of the Cajon Pass.
The east to west route will be begin as four lanes in Palmdale's existing Avenue P-8 corridor from State Route 14 (Antelope Valley Freeway) to 100th Street for approximately 10 miles, according to the presentation. The 138 Freeway will be reconstructed as a new 4-lane freeway to 50th street, and possibly add a transition to 100th Street in Palmdale.[...]
While the proposed highway considers possible links to high speed rail, it is not the only option. says Laurie Hunter of the High Desert Corridor-Joint Powers Authority, "The right of way can accommodate a Metrolink."[...]

"A 50-mile first phase of the new route will be a public and private partnership," says Hunter, which is budgeted for $3 billion. Construction could begin in 2016 and be completed in 2020. The proposal states an anticipated 14,000 jobs will be provided during the routes construction and up to 42,000 sustainable jobs will be created afterward.
"It is also planned to be a utility corridor," says Hunter, stating the route will be equipped with solar and sun panels, forming a renewable energy corridor that can help power any form of rail system that accompanies vehicular traffic.
"It is not just about building a highway," says Hunter. "It's a laboratory for the nation."
Its great to see that this freeway is finally getting some movement forward as right now there are only (2) "major" West to East Routes... Highway 58 (parts are 2 lane road) from Mojave to the outlet malls of Barstow or "Blood Highway" 138 from Palmdale to downtown Victorville.

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Ca/Nv Maglev News

Sunday, April 10, 2011

E220 NEW Public Outreach meetings


We have come across new public outreach meetings (THIS WEEK) for the E220 project "High Desert corridor" Freeway running from Hwy 14 (Palmdale to Victorville) West to East.  This route may also mirror the "extension" Desert Express project from Victorville connecting to CAHSR in Palmdale.

Although no mention of the DX project and station details within the E220, one of the original DX station proposals was to be right next to the (E220 ~ I-15) inner-change.  The E220 (if green lit and built) will finally give the High Desert a safer alternative than Pearblossom highway 138.  

You can find all the information below for the public meetings.

1. Lancaster (Los Angeles County) - Monday, April 11, 2011 at Lancaster City Hall - 44933 Fern Avenue, Lancaster, CA 93534.
6:00 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. - Project Orientation/Open House
6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. - Presentation and Public Meeting

2. Lake Los Angeles (Los Angeles County)  - Tuesday, April 12, 2011 at Twin Lakes Community Church - 17213 Lake Los Angeles Avenue, Palmdale, CA 93591.
6:00 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. - Project Orientation/Open House
6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. - Presentation and Public Meeting

3. Apple Valley (San Bernardino County) - Wednesday, April 13, 2011 at the Apple Valley Council Chambers - 14955 Dale Evans Parkway, Apple Valley, CA 92307
6:00 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. - Project Orientation/Open House
6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. - Presentation and Public Meeting
Live webcast of this meeting will be broadcast at

4. Adelanto (San Bernardino County) - Thursday, April 14, 2011 at the Adelanto Community Center - 11555 Cortez Avenue, Adelanto, CA 92301
6:00 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. - Project Orientation/Open House
6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. - Presentation and Public Meeting
You can also find additional information with the CalTrans web site here:

And a high-res photo of the entire route can be found here:

There is also a complete route fly-over here:

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Ca/Nv Maglev News

Las Vegas Monorail Video


We came across the official Las Vegas Monorail (from 2008) video.  The interesting part is around 2:23 showcasing the McCarren Airport expansion (rendering included in the video.)

Also if you havent heard the Sahara Hotel and Casino (the end of the monorail line) will close on May 16.

(Las Vegas, NV) – March 11, 2011 – Sahara Hotel & Casino announced today that it plans to close on May 16, 2011.  We are work ing with our part ners to assess a vari ety of options for the prop erty, including a complete renova tion and repositioning,” said Sam Nazarian, CEO of sbe Entertainment Group, which owns and operates the Sahara. “While no final decisions have been made at this point,” Nazarian said, “the con­tinued operation of the aging Sahara was no longer economically viable.”
We see the northern end of the Strip as the future of Las Vegas,” Nazar ian said. “With Las Vegas showing early signs of recovery, we are confident that we ultimately will find a cre ative and com pre­hen sive new solu tion for this historic property.”
Mean while, the hotel and casino will remain fully oper a tional until May 16th. The Sahara will be honor­ing all room reservations and players’ club events until that time.
The Sahara has been working with MGM Resorts International on possible solutions for both customers and employees.[...]

No mention yet as to how this affects the day to day monorail operation.  However, the Las Vegas Monorail is asking to file for reorganization plans by Aug 17.  The current deadline is May 19.
LAS VEGAS (AP) -- The Las Vegas Monorail is asking a federal bankruptcy judge for three more months to file a Chapter 11reorganization plan.
The monorail wants to file its bankruptcy reorganization plan by Aug. 17.
Its current deadline is May 19, the same day U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Bruce Markell in Las Vegas is due to consider the request toset an Oct. 18 deadline to approve the plan.


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Ca/Nv Maglev News

Sunday, April 3, 2011

FRA (Final FEIS) location of DX items


We have found within the FRA website the links to all the DX ( environmental impact statement) items.  There are 30 days (from Friday, April 1...April Fools Day) to file final remarks about the project.

You can find the links here:

In trying to read some of the remarks and questions about the project, there are a few multiple remarks that are notable.

Part of the project will require (2) tunnels near Primm.  This is because the train cant traverse that segment of (I-15) but the MAGLEV can.  These (2) tunnels the longest will almost be an entire mile.

Part of the Segment coming out of California mountains near Primm, may need to traverse (around) one of the Solar projects near Primm.  See the photo at:

Also another remark plans on having the train come into the station be elevated to cross Frank Sinatra Blvd depending on the final location of the Vegas Station! 

Segment 6: Jean to Las Vegas, Nevada:
There are three alternative alignments in this segment. Alternative A would continue in the median of the I–15 freeway into the Las Vegas passenger station.  Alternative B would cross the I–15 freeway corridor from the east side to the west side and continue along the west side of the I–15 freeway corridor into the Las Vegas passenger station.  Alternative C would diverge to the east and generally follow the existing Union Pacific railroad corridor into the Las Vegas passenger station. To reach the downtown Las Vegas passenger station Alternative A would leave the median of the I–15 freeway corridor near OakeyBoulevard and diverge to the east to follow the Union Pacific railroad corridor to Bonneville Street.
Alternatives B and C would follow the west side of the I–15 freeway corridor and cross at Oakey Boulevard to the east to join the Union Pacific railroad corridor to Bonneville Street.


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Ca/Nv Maglev News

DX continues to track questions

We have come across the following article from the Press Enterprise (Riverside/San Bernardino, CA. areas) newspaper about the DX and the release of its final EIR. 

11:20 AM PDT on Friday, April 1, 2011 
The Press-Enterprise

With one month left before federal officials finalize plans for a high-speed train from Victorville to Las Vegas, opponents of the project worry it will take money from High Desert cities and potentially destroy pristine landscapes and sensitive wildlife.
The Federal Railroad Administration -- which must approve the $6 billion Desert Xpress project -- unveiled the final environmental report last week and will open public comment today on the 185-mile route. Supporters and opponents have one month to review the environmental report and respond.
Barstow and Baker, cities that rely heavily on travelers to stop for gas and food, are fretting that the train could divert a lot of their business. And skeptics worry that vital habitats for the desert tortoise, bighorn sheep and Gila monsters could be lost.[...]
This is a really great large article that the Riverside/San Bernardino area (which is SouthEast about 45-50 miles of Victorville) asking questions about the validity of the project.  Including the jobs and sales tax that will end due to the "increased ridership" passing though Barstow.  But, one should take a few minutes and read the public comments posted within this article about this project. 

Josh R"On paper, the DesertXpress sounds better than the Maglev. It's cheaper (though they have publicly admitted that it will need federal funds). However, when examining the project closely, you will see that it is a waste of money, full of "what ifs" and possibilities. And the so-called Palmdale extension might as well be a separate project because it has it's own separate EIR,which can be a hassle to obtain.  
The maglev project, while more expensive, is better in the LONG RUN because even though it will be built in phases, it still is one single project with it's own EIR. Please, don't let this boondoggle get built."
Guest Post...unknown  How could anything whose key promoter is Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid NOT be a great thing! ;-)  I love how this is promoted for its great "environmental" benefits and yet the line ends 86 miles from downtown LA - accessable by traffic clogged S. Calif freeways! (I'd suggest that most of the pollution that is caused by the LA to Vegas trip is done in the LA basin - not zipping across the empty desert where this trian will lie.) 
To heck with the desert tortoise andother habitits that will be lost. $6 billion to build this train that will end in the middle of nowhere is well worth the costs if Harry Ried says so! By federal budget standards $6 billion is just another drop in the bucket. Hooey to the Federal deficit!  
I think Vegas and Victorville should pay for this next boondoggle since they are the only ones who might get any benefit from this if built .[...]
Editors note:
If this is a project built for the people, theres not a lot of pro-DX people except the public of Victorville, who will be the only California winners.  

The loosers...the public having to park in a open (unshaded) parking lot of 10,000 cars, drive and get stuck in the traffic congestion of the Victorville area only having to go past Victorville (North) to park at the station, and vast amount of rental cars leaving Victorville trying to reach the LA Basin to their real destinations.

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