The California bullet train authority has told its design engineers that the future system would have shorter trains and smaller station platforms, reducing the capacity of individual trains by roughly 50 percent and potentially the capacity of the entire Los Angeles-to-San Francisco route.
It is the second time that operating parameters have been reduced this year.
In May, the authority’s managers decided to cut the maximum operating speed of trains inside tunnels from 220 mph to 200 mph, a result of building tunnels with smaller cross-sections. The authority also cut in half the speed of trains as they merge from station tracks onto the system’s main line, a move that would reduce the very long lengths of transition tracks in and around major cities.
As the $64-billion program has evolved, the state has had to make political compromises that added to the cost of the system and alternatively adopted cutbacks that reduced the overall cost.
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