Coast Daylight/CRCC Policy Meeting Report

By Bruce Jenkins, RailPAC Director

The Coast Rail Coordinating Council (Coast Daylight) held it’s Policy Meeting on Friday, Dec. 16th in Monterey.

The foremost concern now is to achieve a satisfactory capacity model. The initial capacity modeling resulted in unrealistic and unobtainable scheduling. The Coast Route remains a strategic line for Union Pacific freight operations, e.g., overflow traffic from the Tehachipi Route and growing local volume. The UP maintains that a single passenger train consumes the eguivalent of 2 to 4 freight train slots.

CRCC raised three main points of the modeling:
a) There are an unreasonable high number of freight trains assumed.
b) The modeling results can’t be verified.
c) The necessity of including projects south of San Luis Obispo (SLO) and north of SanJose (SJC) is unclear and unjustified.

UP responded :
a) The rail assets must earn a fair return for stockholders.
b) The high number of freight trains (20 trains/day) in the model include trains to east Oakland (Elmhurst), and 17.3 freight trains per day operate on the same tracks as the proposed Daylight.
c) The schedule can be modified and run again.
d) Model times can be set at SLO and SJC for the next run.
e) It is expected additional passenger operations would contribute to Positve Train Control (PTC).

CRCC will continue to refine the schedule working in good faith with UP, Caltrans Division of Rail (DoR), and Amtrak. An AdHoc committee was formed to continue to resolve issues and work out compatible parameters to acheive a working model.

The following schedule was approved by the Technical Committee for the next model run (read down):

Southbound / Northbound
Proposed to dpt SJC 07:55/ dpt LAUS 07:30 (existing train#799)
Proposed to ar SLO 13:20/ ar SLO 13:00 (12/1/11 sched change)
Now dpt SLO 13:35 (12/1/11 sched change)/ Proposed to dpt SLO 13:20/
Now ar LAUS 19:15 (existing train#798)/ Proposed to ar SJC 18:10

The proposed schedule is intended to blend with the existing service south of SLO. UP has stated that rerunning the model at different schedule times and stops will likely result in little change to their findings. They have also stated that a functioning model run must be completed before they will negotiate access rights for a “train slot”. Therefore the next model run must be completed as soon as possible so that the required capital projects can be indentified and and built.

(Editor’s note: the estimated startup date of the Coast Daylight is now in 2015.)

UP is doing major track work (welded rail, ties etc) Camarillo to SLO and will include CTC. Jonathon Hutchison of Amtrak reported that this work will require Coast Starlight #14 to be be routed over Tehachapi on February 1st thru the 8th.

Christina Watson of TAMC reported that TAMC has recieved funding and the right of way for a future commute train from Salinas to San Jose.