California rail plan posits major Amtrak improvements in San Joaquin Valley

November 6, 2013

By Tim Sheehan in The Fresno Bee

While many are chattering about high-speed rail these days, state transportation leaders are quietly planning to drop more than $15 billion into California’s existing Amtrak train service..

Improvements for Amtrak’s San Joaquin line are forecast in a draft of a new statewide rail plan… [which] offers a vision of how California’s system of freight and passenger trains will look in 2020. In addition to high-speed rail… there are improvements to tracks, stations and other features of Amtrak routes and commuter train lines in the Sacramento/Stockton area, the San Francisco Peninsula and Southern California.

With a high-speed line proposed to connect to commuter systems at either end of the state and span a gap across the Tehachapi Mountains between Bakersfield and Palmdale, the plan envisions “connecting the whole state together for the first time in many years with passenger rail,” said Brent Ogden, a plan consultant…. Other features of the draft rail plan include the potential to add new intercity rail routes and extensions of existing Amtrak routes.

Rest of the story in the Fresno Bee

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