Posts Tagged ‘Altamont Corridor Express’

California, Texas Rail Development

April 2, 2020

The San Joaquin Regional Rail Commission is soliciting public comment on its proposed Valley Rail Sacramento Extension project.

Plans are to expand Amtrak’s San Joaquins and Altamont Corridor

Express services to the greater Sacramento area through the construction of six rail stations and track improvements along the Union Pacific Railroad’s Sacramento Subdivision.

The expansion would two new San Joaquin roundtrips operating on the Sacramento, Fresno and BNSF Railway Stockton subdivisions, as well as an extension of existing ACE service to the proposed Natomas-Sacramento Airport Station.

Work on the UP would involve construction of new stations in Lodi, south Sacramento, Sacramento City College, Midtown Sacramento, Old North Sacramento, and Natomas/Sacramento Airport.

Three public meetings are tentatively set for April and May while written comments are being accepted via email and mail until May 15.

In other developments, XpressWest said it has taken steps to secure private debt funding for its $4.8 billion plan to build a 170-mile high-speed, electric rail line from Southern California to Las Vegas.

The service would be operated by Virgin Trains USA, which operates the Florida intercity rail service Brightline.

XpressWest officials said if the funding is secured, rail line construction could begin later this year with service launching in 2023.

Texas Central said this week its $20 billion high-speed rail project between Dallas and Houston  is now “shovel ready.”

Officials said construction will begin once global financial markets have stabilized and the federal approvals process is complete.

“Our immediate next step is to continue working with our partner organizations and federal and state agencies, led by the Federal Railroad Administration, to finalize our permits,” said Texas Central CEO Carlos Aguilar. “The current schedule we have from the federal government anticipates that will happen by July 31.”

Aguilar acknowledged there is a chance the project will not proceed on schedule.

“This is one of those moments where we have to acknowledge how small our world really is,” Aguilar said.

“Our engineering partner is in Italy; our operation partner is in Spain; and our technology provider is in Japan. Our financial partners are in those countries, as well as here in the United States.”

He said the COVID-19 pandemic has complicated things in those countries.

Texas Central said it anticipates its project will create more than 17,000 jobs during construction and have a multi-billion-dollar economic impact across the United States.

In the short term, though, it has laid off nearly 30 employees.

Early Morning San Joaquin to be Discontinued

April 11, 2019

Amtrak is citing low ridership for suspending the informally named Sacramento Morning Express, which has been scheduled to enable San Joaquin Valley residents to travel to Sacramento at the start of the business day.

The service began a year ago, leaving Fresno at 4:25 a.m. and arriving in Sacramento at 7:46 a.m. It made intermediate stops in Madera, Merced, Denair, Modesto and Stockton.

State transportation policy makers had hoped that the service would expand ridership beyond leisure travelers.

Amtrak plans to continue operating two daily round San Joaquin roundtrips between Bakersfield and Sacramento, and five between Bakersfield and Oakland.

Officials said the Sacramento Morning Express could return after track and other infrastructure improvements are made over the new few years.

The train averaged 50 passengers a day compared with 130 per day on other trains that operated later in the day.

“It’s revenue driven, and it wasn’t carrying its weight,” said Stanislaus County Supervisor Vito Chiesa. “It may take a few years, but I’m pretty confident that it’s still necessary.”

The early morning train launched on May 7, 2018.

Amtrak’s San Joaquin service overall continues to do well, carrying 1,078,707 passengers from October 2017 through September 2018, the most recent fiscal year.

Transportation planners said business travelers to Sacramento may someday benefit from an expansion of the Altamont Corridor Express, which currently operates four roundtrips on weekdays between Stockton and San Jose via Livermore.

By 2021, ACE may have stations in Manteca, Ripon, Modesto and Ceres with longer range plans to expand to Turlock and Merced County along with a northward branch to Sacramento.