California San Joaquin trains move to local control

June 27, 2015

Amtrak’s San Joaquin rail line, the fifth busiest passenger-train corridor in the U.S., will be under new management starting Wednesday.

Control of the San Joaquin trains, which last year carried almost 1.2 million passengers, is being assumed by the San Joaquin Joint Powers Authority. The authority, formed about two years ago to increase local control over the service, is taking over from the California Department of Transportation’s Division of Rail. The agency is made up of representatives from counties and regional transportation agencies along the train’s route between Bakersfield, Oakland and Sacramento.

 Passengers who ride the trains on either an occasional or regular basis are unlikely to notice any difference in the travel experience, because Amtrak will continue to run the trains under an operating contract. And while Caltrans will keep providing the money to support the service, the oversight and policymaking will become the responsibility of the regional authority. The authority has contracted with the San Joaquin Regional Rail Commission — which operates the Altamont Commuter Express (ACE) trains between Stockton and San Jose — to handle day-to-day operational supervision and administration.

But the authority — grown from the seeds of discontent with Caltrans’ slow response to regional concerns — does have plans for improving train service in the Valley.

 

Reporter Tim Sheehan from The Fresno Bee has the full story including maps and illustrations by clicking here.

 

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