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Caltrain Study Looks at Shared Tracks with High-Speed Rail

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The California High-Speed Rail Authority’s planning and design partner on the San Francisco to San Jose section, Caltrain, recently released preliminary findings of a corridor capacity study, which outlined ways to accommodate both systems.

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Roelof van Ark, CEO of the California High-Speed Rail Authority, said the authority will work with its Bay Area planning partners and stakeholders, including Caltrain and the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC), to evaluate the results of the study, it’s assumptions for train operations and proposed infrastructure improvements. 

Concepts have been suggested to phase high-speed train service including use of existing Caltrain right-of-way, use of existing infrastructure where feasible and technology improvements. 

When the high-speed train system is fully realized it will require up to four tracks and 10 to 12 trains per hour to meet the travel demands in the coming decades between the San Francisco Bay Area and the Los Angeles basin, according to the authority. A phased construction and operational approach may include building less infrastructure in the near term – operating fewer high-speed trains per hour, but would include significant technology modernizations and improvements to existing infrastructure. 

The study will be thoroughly analyzed in the coming months, said van Ark. 

Environmental review and preliminary engineering work along the San Francisco to San Jose segment of the project was slowed earlier this year awaiting planning and design consensus among the corridor’s stakeholders. As a result of this collaboration the draft environmental impact report and conclusion of preliminary engineering work on this segment are currently anticipated for release in early 2013. 


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