Highlights from Chapter 2:

Getting Into Operations

From its inception, the Authority determined that the high-speed rail system should be developed and operated in partnership with other transportation and rail agencies to integrate new high-speed rail service with existing services. Partnering also creates greater efficiencies and more cost-effective operations. More recently, in the 2022 Budget Agreement, the Legislature emphasized the importance of developing and reporting on the agreements that will be required to plan, fund, build and operate high-speed rail and connecting services in the Merced to Bakersfield corridor.

Over the last two years, the Authority has begun planning and identifying the steps necessary to connect future operations into the existing state network. This has involved engaging with the San Joaquin Joint Powers Authority (SJJPA), the San Joaquin Regional Rail Commission (SJRRC), the California State Transportation Agency (CalSTA) and the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) as well as the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA).

Key Facts

  • Establishing high-speed rail service in the Merced to Bakersfield corridor will cut travel times in half
  • The Authority is working with its partners on critical planning elements to ensure connectivity to the existing network
  • The Authority continues to progress discussions with partners on the various operating agreements required to implement high-speed rail service
  • The Authority has laid out a business model for interim service in the Merced to Bakersfield corridor following an “infrastructure owner” approach
  • The next step is to make continued refinements with our partners and prepare further updates to ridership and other related forecasts for the 2024 Business Plan

Merced Station chart and station area map


Text description of Merced Connections


This graphic shows proposed passenger connection improvements and a rendering of how the services meet at the Merced Station. A callout box shows a cutaway of Merced Station. A map shows Merced Station along Route 99 between R St and Martin Luther King Jr. Way in Merced, including connections for high-speed rail passenger service, Altamont Corridor Express (ACE) Extension and Amtrak’s San Joaquins Extension, as well as nearby BNSF and UPRR tracks.

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