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Draft 2018 State Rail Plan Supports Amtrak San Joaquins and ACE Expansion
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Draft 2018 State Rail Plan Supports Amtrak San Joaquins and ACE Expansion

Caltrans has released its Draft 2018 State Rail Plan, which features near-term improvements for the two services managed by the San Joaquin Regional Rail Commission (SJRRC), Amtrak San Joaquins and Altamont Corridor Express (ACE). The Draft 2018 State Rail Plan will help guide the state’s priorities for rail investments that will support California’s economy for future generations.  Caltrans’ goal is to provide riders with more travel options that are more efficient, cleaner, faster, and have fewer delays.

For Amtrak San Joaquins, the Draft 2018 State Rail Plan focuses on expanded service to and from Sacramento, with new stations in Elk Grove and Sacramento, and a consideration of expanding the service further to Marysville. Sacramento service expansion is a key initiative of the San Joaquin Joint Powers Authority (SJJPA), managers and administers of the San Joaquins service. Also, the Draft 2018 State Rail Plan supports the new Morning Express service to Sacramento launching in January 2018, which will deliver passengers to Sacramento before 8am.

The ACE service is featured in the 2018 State Rail Plan for its short-term goals of an extension to Modesto and Ceres, with funding already identified via SB1 and SB132, with a plan of post-2025 regional service frequency to Merced via Modesto and Ceres.  Future ACE plans include increased service to the Bay Area with a goal of half-hourly peak period service and hourly off-peak service.

“The Draft 2018 State Rail Plan is a welcome look at improving passenger services on many levels, and we look forward to working with Caltrans on these projects to benefit our riders” said SJRRC Executive Director Stacey Mortensen.

The Draft 2018 State Rail Plan is more ambitious than previous rail plans, by proposing a statewide vision for an integrated high speed, intercity, and commuter passenger rail system with reliable timed connections and multimodal transportation options.

The passenger component of the California rail vision includes several key elements:

  • Statewide System – Passenger rail service will tie together urban, suburban, and rural areas of the state.
  • Integrated System – Multimodal hubs will connect all levels of service with a common fare system, which allows trips to be made on a single ticket.
  • Coordinated Schedules – Services will be coordinated in a “pulsed” schedule across the network to reduce wait times and allow direct transfers.
  • Frequent Service – Service frequency will make rail a timely option for travelers, meeting trip demands throughout the day.
  • Customer Focus – Enhanced ticketing, scheduling, and passenger information will be supported by coordinated services.

The 60 day public comment period is open now, and will remain open until December 11th.  Caltrans will be hosting seven public workshops across the state, as well as an online Webinar.  For more information on the Draft 2018 State Rail Plan, please visit their Web site at http://www.dot.ca.gov/californiarail/

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