California High-speed Rail Project

Visualization of California High-speed Rail train

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High-speed Rail to
San Francisco

The California High-speed Rail Project will provide intercity high-speed rail service along more than 800 miles of track, connecting the major population centers of Sacramento, the San Francisco Bay Area, the Central Valley, Los Angeles, the Inland Empire (Riverside County), Orange County, and San Diego. The system is envisioned as a state-of-the-art, electrically powered, high-speed, steel-wheel-on-steel-rail technology with contempo­rary systems. The trains will be capable of operating at speeds of up to 220 miles per hour over a fully grade-separated alignment, with an expected express trip time between Los Angeles and San Francisco of approximately two hours and 40 minutes. This project will be planned, designed, built, operated, and maintained under the direction of the California High-speed Rail Authority (CHSRA).

The San Francisco County Transportation Authority has taken on the role of coordinating with all the San Francisco stakeholders to facilitate dialogue on issues that affect the city. The goal of the coordination efforts with City agencies such as the Mayor’s office, the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, the San Francisco Public Utility Commission, the Planning Department, Mission Bay Development, the Transbay Joint Powers Authority and several other organizations is to proactively achieve a citywide consensus that can be communicated as a unified City position to the CHSRA and Caltrain.

In early 2012, the Transportation Authority and its partners developed a concept for the early, phased implementation of high-speed intercity passenger rail service between the San Francisco Transbay Center and the Diridon Station in San Jose. By merging the planned Caltrain Corridor Electrification, Positive Train Control, the Caltrain Downtown Extension to the Transbay Transit Center, and some additional infrastructure improvements, near-high-speed service can be more quickly established at a relatively low cost. This Blended Operations Plan would facilitate operation of freight, commuter, and regional rail on the same tracks, using the same infrastructure. The Plan has served as a basis for discussions between the CHSRA, Caltrain, and representatives of municipalities all along the Peninsula. The concept was ultimately was embraced by the CHSRA in its 2012 Business Plan, which identifies Caltrain as a recipient of early investment in preparation for this blended system.

In April 2012, the Transportation Authority Board authorized the Executive Director to execute a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the California High-speed Rail Authority (CHSRA), the Metropolitan Transportation Commission and six other stakeholders to establish a funding framework for a high-speed rail early investment strategy for a blended system in the Peninsula Corridor. The MOU commits each of the three Peninsula Corridor Joint Powers Board (PCJPB) members (San Francisco, San Mateo and Santa Clara counties) to a local contribution of $60 million for the Initial Investment Strategy for the Peninsula Corridor, comprising the Caltrain Modernization Program (see our Caltrain Electrification page), which has a total cost of $1.456 billion.

Meanwhile, the Transportation Authority continues to work with the Transbay Joint Powers Authority on development of the Caltrain Downtown Extension, including identification of funding sources.

Learn more about high-speed rail at the California High-speed Rail Authority web site.