Caltrain August 2000 Rolling Stock Assessment Draft

Caltrain's fine staff seem unable to make information available to the public by placing machine-generated data in machine-readable locations on a web site. After all, why should anybody - including the Joint Powers Board members themselves - have any interest in reviewing decisions by staff, the technical whizzes who brought you the gallery car procurement fiasco, two years of constant in-service locomotive failures and 35% on-time performance?

Sadly, the path by which these data were made to appear was that consultants were hired by Caltrain staff, then paid a squillion dollars to write a report using a computer, which they printed on dead trees, which was then photocopied onto other dead trees, which had to be explicitly requested from Caltrain (once one by chance came to know of its existence), which was then mailed, which was then laboriously scanned by hand to create a very poor copy of the document. But at least it is sort-of on the web. Even if little of the actual text and data survived the entropic print-copy-scan path, at least you now have something you can view from the comfort of your own web browser.

The OCR, such as it is, of the scanned documents, embedded in the PDF files, was done by a cheap program with no human intervention. It is riddled with inaccuracies. If Caltrain had made the original electronic document available this would, of course, not be an issue. All one would have to deal with then are the numerous factual inaccuracies in the document.

The more masochistic of you might be interested in the 1992 Caltrans Morrison-Knudsen Caltrain Electrification Feasilility Report, conveniently made available in 231 individually scanned TIFF pages. Yet another fine document commissioned by Caltrain, paid for by the public, and left to moulder on a shelf!

Richard Mlynarik
Last modified: Mon Nov 06 14:34:49 Pacific Standard Time 2000