RailPAC Board Endorses High Speed Rail Business Plan

For release April 6, 2012.

  • Board calls for highest priority for “Bridging the Gap” between Bakersfield and Los Angeles.

  • Interim service offerings and the blended approach will only be successful if passengers are offered a single seat ride between the maximum number of origins and destinations.
  • While endorsing Caltrain electrification RailPAC Board calls for a rolling program of electrification and standardized rolling stock to reduce costs.
  • A new route from Palmdale to Sylmar is vital to provide competitive journey times.

The Rail Passenger Association of California’s Board met on Thursday 5th April and affirmed its support for the concept of High Speed Rail in California, with conditional support for the CHSRA revised business plan published April 2nd, 2012. RailPAC’s policy has always been that the single most important passenger rail project in California is to bridge the gap in the existing network between Bakersfield and Los Angeles. RailPAC urges CHSRA to give this the highest possible priority in order to tap into the biggest travel market.

RailPAC is concerned that some of the plans appear to call for connecting service rather than through train operation during the years that the system is being expanded. All the evidence demonstrates that passengers do not like having to change from one train to another. It should be possible to use FRA compliant rolling stock as an interim step so that the majority of passengers can make their journey on a “single seat”.

Purchasing and installation of railroad electrification is an industrial process that diminishes in cost if it is done as a continuing program. Starting with the “Caltrain” route from San Francisco to San Jose electrification can be achieved at lower cost per mile as part of a rolling program whereby components are ordered in volume and installation equipment and skilled work crews are employed for the long term. Likewise the rolling stock chosen for the regional service on the peninsula should become the standard for similar services throughout the state.

The proposal to use the existing “Metrolink” route and service between Palmdale and Los Angeles as the High Speed Rail connection is unacceptable, even on an interim basis. It would be faster to connect to a bus in Bakersfield as at present. Work should begin as soon as possible on a new line between Palmdale and Sylmar.

RailPAC is a non-profit volunteer group that has been advocating value for money passenger rail service since 1978. Visit www.railpac.org for information. Call Paul Dyson, President, 818 845 9599

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