Statewide Rail Modernization

Proposed Statewide Alignment Map

The California High-Speed Rail Authority (Authority) is responsible for planning, designing, building and operation of the first high-speed rail system in the nation. California high-speed rail will connect the mega-regions of the state, contribute to economic development and a cleaner environment, create jobs and preserve agricultural and protected lands. The system will run from San Francisco to the Los Angeles basin in under three hours at speeds capable of over 200 miles per hour. The system will eventually extend to Sacramento and San Diego, totaling 800 miles with up to 24 stations. In addition, the Authority is working with regional partners to implement a state-wide rail modernization plan that will invest billions of dollars in local and regional rail lines to meet the state’s 21st century transportation needs.

The State of California, the U.S. Department of Transportation, the Federal Railroad Administration and the Authority are committed to the Blended System for high-speed rail envisioned in the 2012 Business Plan. The Blended System will allow the Authority to begin the groundwork for the high-speed rail system to integrate with existing local and regional systems by investing over $8 billion through Senate Bill 1029, signed into law in July 2012, in bookend and connectivity projects throughout California.

While connectivity and bookend projects are underway, the Authority will start work on the Initial Operating Section (IOS) of high-speed rail in the Central Valley in 2013. Starting high-speed rail in the Central Valley will generate over 20,000 jobs annually over five years in an area that has one of the highest unemployment rates in the nation. Beyond these immediate benefits, the Authority and local governments alike see high- speed rail as an integrated strategy to help cities throughout the state revitalize their downtown cores, and will eventually create over a million direct and in-direct jobs throughout the state. As the project progresses on all fronts, the Authority continues to work with stakeholders on planning activities and strengthening relationships with regional partners.

Five Steps to Statewide Modernization

Step 1 – Early Investments for Immediate Statewide Benefits

Starting in 2014, work on the dedicated high-speed rail infrastructure will begin in the Central Valley between Madera and Fresno continuing to Bakersfield to complete the first segment of the IOS. Once complete, the San Joaquin rail service – Amtrak’s fifth busiest line with one million passengers annually – can begin using the new tracks starting in 2018 to cut travel time between Northern California and Southern California. Additional early rail improvements include:

  • Electrifying the Bay Area’s Caltrain Corridor and improvements to key Southern California rail corridors.
  • Linking the San Joaquin, Altamont Commuter Express, Capitol Corridor and Caltrain systems.
  • Closing the passenger rail gap between Bakersfield and the Los Angeles Basin.

Step 2 – Initial High-Speed Rail Operations

The next step completes the 300-mile section from Merced to the San Fernando Valley and provides high-speed passenger service. This service will operate without an operating subsidy, and is expected to attract private investment for high-speed rail system expansion. Passenger service launches in 2022.

Step 3 – Electrified Bay to Basin System

The third step connects the Central Valley to San Jose, establishing a high-speed rail connection from the Bay Area to the Los Angeles Basin. The upgraded Metrolink system will connect the San Fernando Valley and Los Angeles Union Station. Bay to Basin service launches in 2027.

Step 4 – Phase 1 Blended System

In 2029, dedicated high-speed infrastructure will extend from the San Fernando Valley to Los Angeles Union Station, linking the upgraded Metrolink corridor to Anaheim and connecting to commuter and urban rail systems throughout the Los Angeles region. These improvements allow high-speed trains to travel the entire 520 miles between San Francisco, Los Angeles and Anaheim.

Step 5 – Phase 2

Phase 2 extends high-speed rail to Sacramento and San Diego, completing the 800-mile statewide system.