San Francisco to San Jose
The California High-Speed Rail Authority is releasing the staff recommendations for the State’s Preferred Alternatives for the high-speed rail routes in Northern California. The Authority has launched a comprehensive outreach campaign through the summer to gather feedback from the public on the staff recommendations for the Authority Board of Directors to consider in making their decisions in September. Major outreach events will include several community working group meetings in July, and six public open houses in August. Input received from the public regarding these routes will be presented to the Authority’s Board of Directors in September for consideration along with the staff recommendations.
In the San Francisco to San Jose project section, Authority staff recommends Alternative A as the State’s Preferred Alternative. Alternative A includes a light maintenance facility on the east side of the tracks in Brisbane and does not include additional passing tracks in the middle of the corridor.
High-speed rail service along the San Francisco to San Jose corridor will be a blended system which will support modernized Caltrain service and high-speed rail service primarily on shared track largely within the existing Caltrain corridor. This approach minimizes impacts on surrounding communities, reduces project cost, improves safety and expedites implementation.
The Authority is continuing the planning and environmental process to further define the blended system. System improvements that will be defined during the planning and environmental review process include passing tracks, that can be used by high-speed rail to pass Caltrain trains that need to stop more frequently, system upgrades to support higher train performance and speed, system safety improvements, including grade crossings, and stations.
Blended System Background
The blended system concept has been envisioned for many years.
In 2004, the Authority and Caltrain entered into an agreement to work cooperatively to plan a shared corridor between San Francisco and San Jose.
After voters approved Proposition 1A, the Safe, Reliable High-Speed Passenger Train Bond Act for the 21st Century, the agencies entered into another agreement (2009 agreement, 2009 amendment) to work in partnership to identify design alternatives that would support both high-speed rail and modernized Caltrain service. These original plans called for a fully-grade separated four-track system between San Francisco and San Jose.
Much has changed since then and after listening to concerns from policymakers and communities on the Peninsula, high-speed rail is now being planned as part of a blended system allowing Caltrain and high-speed rail trains to primarily share Caltrain's existing tracks on a system that remains substantially within the existing Caltrain corridor.
The Authority's 2012 Business Plan called for blended service along the corridor saying:
"The proposed blended system for the San Francisco Peninsula is primarily a two-track system that will be shared by Caltrain, high-speed rail service, and current rail tenants. Initial investigations show that blended operations as currently envisioned for the corridor are cost-effective solutions on both a capital and operating basis."
In 2012, Caltrain released several studies concluding that blended high-speed rail and Caltrain operations are feasible with some changes and upgrades to the existing system.
The same year, the Legislature passed Senate Bill SB 1029, defining the blended system saying:
"Any funds appropriated...for projects in the San Francisco to San Jose corridor, consistent with the blended system strategy identified in the April 2012 California High-Speed Rail Program Revised 2012 Business Plan, shall not be used to expand the blended system to a four-track system."
In 2012, with local, regional and state agreement on the blended system/service concept, the Metropolitan Transportation Commission, the Authority, Caltrain and six other San Francisco Bay Area funding partners established a regional funding memorandum of understanding (MOU) to support the blended system which stated:
"A blended system will remain substantially within the existing Caltrain right-of-way and will accommodate future high-speed rail and modernized Caltrain service along the Peninsula corridor by primarily utilizing the existing track configuration on the Peninsula."
"This MOU is specific to project investments that upgrade existing rail services and prepare for a future high-speed train project that is limited to infrastructure necessary to support a blended system, which will primarily be a two-track system shared by both Caltrain and high-speed rail..."
In 2013, the Authority and Caltrain signed a new agreement in 2013, replacing the agreements signed in 2004 and 2009. The 2013 agreement commits the two agencies' to advancing a Blended System for the peninsula corridor and outlines the general path for advancing the Caltrain Modernization Program and the blended system.
In 2016, the Authority signed a funding agreement and supplement to the 2012 Nine-Party MOU that outlines the Authority's commitment to provide Caltrain with an additional $113 million to support the Peninsula Corridor Electrification Project (PCEP), bringing the Authority's total contribution to $600 million. Seven of the original nine parties to the 2012 Nine-Party MOU, including the Authority, identified additional funding to reach the estimated cost of the PCEP, identified as $1.972 billion by the Peninsula Corridor Joint Powers Board (PCJPB) in 2016.
Get latest information on the Caltrain Modernization Program.
The Local Policy Maker Group (LPMG) meets every month on the fourth Thursday at 5:30 p.m. in the Edward J. Bacciocco Auditorium located on the second floor at SamTrans Administrative Offices, 1250 San Carlos Ave., San Carlos. The office is located two blocks west of the San Carlos Caltrain Station.
The LPMG group is comprised of officials from cities and counties along the Caltrian corridor. The group meets monthly to provide feedback and receive updates on the Caltrain Business Plan, Caltrain Electrification Project, and California high-speed rail project updates.
For more meeting agenda, materials, updated LPMG member list, visit: www.caltrain.com/projectsplans/CaltrainModernization/Local_Policy_Maker_Group.html
The Authority is committed to planning and building a premier high-speed rail system that will keep the traveling public and surrounding communities moving and safe. We are working to develop and deliver the program through effective engagements with local communities, a process that involves nourishing long-term relationships with residents, stakeholders and policymakers. The goal is to foster and encourage community engagement throughout the organization in all aspect of construction and operations.
In conducting outreach events, such as Open House and Community Working Group meetings, the Authority informs the public about all aspects of the program, including the presentation of specific project section plans and key milestones contributing to the first phase of the high-speed rail system.
In 2018, the Authority conducted and participated in over 300 meetings and presentations throughout Northern California, both large and small. The aim was to inform and gather input from city/county staff, neighborhood groups, Community Working Groups (CWG), Technical Working Groups (TWG), and environmental justice populations. In addition, the Authority collaborated with partner agencies throughout the region to further refine the system design and advance the environmental document.
Looking ahead to 2019 and beyond, the Authority will continue to work with community working groups, partner agencies, city and county staff, environmental justice groups and other community organizations to advance the environmental documents in Northern California.
For a listing of upcoming events and outreach opportunities in your area visit the Events page.
In 2001, the Authority, in cooperation with the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), started a tiered environmental review process for the statewide high-speed rail system per requirements of the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) and the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). The 2005 first-tier California High-Speed Rail Program Final Environmental Impact Report/Environmental Impact Statement (Statewide Program EIR/EIS) described the program alignment, which included the San Francisco to San Jose section.
A scoping process was initially conducted for the San Francisco to San Jose project section in 2009 to analyze a fully grade separated, four-track system. In 2011, the Authority suspended further work on the four-track system to consider blended operations within the Caltrain corridor. A subsequent scoping process was then conducted in spring 2016 to evaluate a blended, primarily two-track system.
To deliver the Final Environmental Impact Report/Statement (EIR/S), below are upcoming key milestone dates for both San Francisco to San Jose and San Jose to Merced project sections (PA indicates the selection of a Preferred Alternative):
The following documents are available for review upon request. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
- San Francisco to San Jose Project Section Scoping - 2016
- San Francisco to San Jose Project Section Supplemental Alternatives Analysis
- San Francisco to San Jose Project Section Alternative Analysis
- San Francisco to San Jose Project Section Scoping
- San Francisco to San Jose Project Section Notice of Intent/Notice of Preparation
- Project Sections & Stations of the Project Sections & Stations interactive map
- Construction Activities of the Construction Activities interactive map
- Economic Impacts of the Economic Impacts interactive map
- California Traditional Tribal Territories of the California Traditional Tribal Territories interactive map