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California High-Speed Rail - Optimized High-Speed Rail Alignment along I5 between Bakersfield and Burbank (2021)

In 2021, we published an unsolicited proposal to the California High-Speed Rail Authority.

In the 1990's, California seemingly made hurried decisions involving High Speed Rail. Alternative alignment studies were made, according to the 1000-page HSR-Authority Report, and today still essentially serve as guidelines. Significant difficulties stem from these inadequately detailed alignment studies, which apparently led to mistaken decisions. The alignment along Interstate 5 (I5) was calculated with 36% tunnels; via Tehachapi - Palmdale nearly without tunnels and bridges. These factors led to the decision favoring the Palmdale - Tehachapi detour as the Palmdale - Tehachapi route with absence of long tunnels would have been cheaper.
Further planning increased the percentage of tunnels and bridges via Tehachapi - Palmdale to 50% - one main reason for increased costs. The current Burbank - Palmdale section creates an alignment planned with 75% percent tunnels. A regional alignment (75 to 125 mph) from Burbank to Palmdale, without tunnels, could follow the landscape contours and the existing freeway, avoiding high costs for speeds of 200 mph.
A modified I5 high-speed alignment would be possible with only 10% tunnels and bridges.

Technical Data of the Alignment, Bakersfield - Burbank:

Distance: 171 to 182 km (106 to 113 miles), dependent on choice of variants

Type of Alignment in Percent of Total Section Length:
- elevated (valleys, rivers and creeks): 3.6%
- underground: 7%
- surface: 89.4%

The maximum gradients are 4.5% in rare situations. In such cases, maintenance of speed is assured through relatively flat, high velocity approach-runs to steeper gradients.

Minimum possible travel time from Bakersfield to Burbank: 40.5 to 42.5 minutes (dependent on choice of variants). Timetable-based travel time: 45 to 47 minutes, allowing for unexpected delays (calculations based on computer simulations for Siemens 'Velaro' with 8.8 megawatt traction power rating).

Estimated total construction and implementation costs, based on European calculation standards: U.S. $40 Million per mile, not including stations. The estimated cost for the Bakersfield - Burbank section via Tehachapi - Palmdale is now at least $20 billion. An optimized I5 alignment is, roughly estimated, according to European-based calculations, at about $4.5 billion, without stations.

Complete topographic site plan, 51 x 106 inches. Viewable using Acrobat Reader Magnifying Glass function. Printable, only possible on paper roll larger than 24 inches:

Topographic site plan, Northern Segment Plan. Printable on paper roll, 24 inches

Topographic site plan, but for Southern Segment

Elevation Profile Overview, new HSR Alignment Bakersfield - Burbank, normal letter format

Elevation Profile, new HSR Alignment Bakersfield - Burbank. Printable on paper roll, 24 inches

Elevation, Velocity and Electrical Traction Energy Profile, new Alignment Bakersfield - Burbank,
normal letter format

Overview Map LA Bypass, normal letter format

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