NEWS RELEASE: California High-Speed Rail Authority Moves Closer to Designing Track and Systems

November 2, 2023

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – The California High-Speed Rail Authority’s Board of Directors today took another step toward bringing the nation’s first 220 mph electrified high-speed rail system into operational service. The Board approved the release of a Request for Qualifications (RFQ) to industry for design services for track and overhead contact systems (OCS) for the initial 171-mile passenger service connecting Merced to Bakersfield.

Image of a bullet train with the sun setting behind it

“Today’s approval allows us to move forward and get this transformative project into operations as soon as possible,” said Board Chair Tom Richards. “This is a critical step in our new procurement strategy and yet another important milestone for us to deliver high-speed rail service in the Central Valley and statewide.”

The RFQ will be advertised here Nov. 3, with Statements of Qualifications (SOQ) due Jan. 22, 2024, and potential Board approval and contract execution and issuance in April 2024.

With a total contract value of up to $131.2 million and potential extension options, this procurement process will allow the Authority to:

  • Produce high-level designs for track and systems for the 171 miles connecting Merced to Bakersfield, including detailed designs for the 119-mile stretch currently under active construction within that Central Valley stretch.
  • Design the track system, including the track structure, OCS, along-track cable containment, across-track ducts, access walkways, fencing, and drainage.
  • Manage technical and non-technical interfaces with contractors/consultants.

This action comes on the heels of the Authority moving its trainsets procurement forward in August.

In October 2022, the Authority opted to let a previous RFQ for procurement of a track and systems contractor expire due to the economic climate, supply-chain challenges and 40-year high inflation.

The Authority has since developed a new procurement strategy, considering extensive industry feedback and adjusting to program needs. The track and OCS design services contract is an important step in the new procurement strategy.

Since the start of construction, the Authority has created more than 11,000 construction jobs, a majority going to residents from the Central Valley.

The Authority has begun work to extend the 119 miles under construction to 171 miles of double track electrified high-speed rail from Merced to Bakersfield. There are more than 25 active construction sites in California’s Central Valley, with the Authority having environmentally cleared 422 miles of the high-speed rail program from the Bay Area to the Los Angeles Basin.

For more information on construction, visit:

The following link contains recent video, animations, photography, press center resources and latest renderings:

These files are all available for free use, courtesy of the California High-Speed Rail Authority.

Media Contact

Katta Hules (C) 916-827-8562 


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