A Word About This Site

Important Note: This site is designed to be a one stop shopping place for information relevant to the HSR project, the potential impacts to our communities and how to participate in the process. Since this is an all volunteer effort, a lack of funding relegates us to using the freeby sites. With no perfect fit available, this site is being treated like a hybrid blog/website. Like a blog, it is not stagnant, but like a website, information is categorized. Therefore one should not treat it as a blog by always looking for only the latest entry, yet periodically refer back to older posts for updated information. To make it easier, HSR-PREP has a newsletter designed to be used in conjunction with this site. If you wish to be notified of new information appearing on the site, it is recommended that you sign up for the HSR-PREP Newsletter. Another way is to create an RSS link on your homepage.

Spread the word. Be informed. Get involved.

Spread the word. Be informed. Get involved. If you have any issues at all with the high speed rail project as it exists, if you say and do nothing, it means you agree 100%. We are all busy in our lives. This cannot be used as an excuse later. If you have issues, you must participate in the process or forever hold your peace. Call, email or write your legislators. It takes 15 minutes using their websites. Participate in the public input opportunities with the High Speed Rail Authority (HSRA). But don't wait.
Spread the word. Be informed. Get involved.

Sound of HSR

HSR Sound Levels. Video of the French TGV.

Train speeds on the Caltrain corridor will be 125mph for HSR and 110mph for Caltrain. The graph at right above can be found in this 1996 study. As aerodynamics and technology of design (such as slab track versus ballast track) are improved, the sound levels will only come down, but should remain a significant concern in the design process. Sound walls on elevated or at grade structures will add visible mass. The HSRA tells us these sound walls will only need to be 3-5' high. Other studies suggest they should be higher, similar to the sound walls along Rt 101. A lot has to do with the distance between the sound source and the wall, so for a greater ROW width, higher walls may be required.

Japan has a national noise standard for the Shinkansen, limiting the noise it generates to 70 decibels in residential areas and 75 decibels in commercial districts. For comparison, a vacuum cleaner at 10 feet produces 70 dB, and a car passing 10 feet away measures 80 dB. To meet Japan's stringent standards, they use lightweight trains with sleek and sometimes odd-looking noses, design windows, doors and the spaces where cars connect to be as smooth and aerodynamic as possible, cover the wheels, and work to quiet the overhead electrical supply system, a major noise source. The railways also install sound-walls in some locations along the tracks, ranging from roughly 2 to 12 feet high, and they travel at reduced speeds in the densest areas.

Pantograph study.

2005 Federal Railroad Administration High-Speed Ground Transportation
Noise and Vibration Impact Assessment
. Of interest on page 4-9 is that a HSR placed in a deep trench produces roughly 19dB less than an elevated structure without a sound wall.