San Francisco to San José
The San Francisco to San José project section is part of the first phase of the California high-speed rail system connecting the communities from San Francisco and Silicon Valley to the rest of the state. The approximately 51-mile project section will travel between stations at the Salesforce Transit Center, 4th and King, near the San Francisco Airport (Millbrae), and in San José (Diridon).
The San Francisco to San José project section differs from others because the alignment has been defined by state legislation, Senate Bill 1029 (SB1029) and regional, multi-agency agreements. Per the requirements of SB 1029 high-speed rail service along the San Francisco to San José corridor will be a blended service with Caltrain and high-speed rail service sharing tracks.
Working together, Caltrain and the Authority are in the process of electrifying the corridor, which will allow for both operators to share tracks in a blended system. The service will ultimately run to the Salesforce Transit Center once it is connected to the existing rail corridor, replacing Caltrain’s 4th and King Station as the ultimate northern terminus for high-speed rail trains.
The Authority is working to environmentally clear the section between San Francisco and San José. The plan is to share the tracks with Caltrain and add infrastructure that will be necessary to support high-speed rail service in the corridor.
Environmental clearance is scheduled to be completed in 2021. Community engagement activities will continue throughout the process in communities along the corridor.
The public review period for the San Francisco to San José Project Section Draft Environmental Impact Report/Environmental Impact Statement (EIR/EIS) closed on September 9, 2020. The Draft EIR/EIS was originally made available for a minimum 45-day public review beginning on July 10, 2020 and ending on August 24, 2020, pursuant to the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) and National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). In response to agency and stakeholder requests and in consideration of limitations caused by the novel coronavirus pandemic, the Authority elected to extend the public review period to September 9, 2020. The California High-Speed Rail Authority (Authority) will consider all comments received on the Draft EIR/EIS and respond to substantive comments on the Draft EIR/EIS in the Final EIR/EIS, scheduled for release in 2021.
To access the Draft EIR/EIS or learn more about its purpose, please navigate to the following link: https://hsr.ca.gov/programs/environmental-planning/project-section-environmental-documents-tier-2/san-francisco-to-san-jose-project-section-draft-environmental-impact-report-environmental-impact-statement/
Please visit the Events Page for more information about the Authority’s upcoming engagement activities.
San Francisco to San José Alternatives
There are two end-to-end alternatives for the San Francisco to San José Project Section, Alternatives A and B.
Alternative A would operate high-speed rail trains in a blended system predominantly within the existing Caltrain right-of-way, install safety improvements and communication radio towers, and build a Light Maintenance Facility (LMF) east of the Caltrain corridor on the existing Brisbane Baylands site. This alternative would not include additional passing tracks.
Alternative B would operate high-speed trains in a blended system predominantly within the existing Caltrain right-of-way, install safety improvements and communication radio towers, and build a Light Maintenance Facility (LMF) west of the Caltrain corridor. This alternative would include six miles of additional passing tracks stretching from the City of San Mateo to Redwood City. For more information on passing tracks, please see the Passing Tracks Factsheet.
Please see the following maps to view the project alternatives.
High-Speed Rail Stations
High-speed rail stations are planned for three locations in the San Francisco to San José Project Section: San Francisco 4th and King Street in San Francisco — until the connection to Salesforce Transit Center is made; in Millbrae, which also serves San Francisco International Airport; and San José Diridon Station.
For more information about individual planned rail stations, please visit the station the communities web pages:
Blended System on an Electrified Caltrain Corridor
High-speed rail service along the San Francisco to San José 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 José.
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 José.
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 José 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 the latest information on the Caltrain Modernization Program.
Local Policy Maker Group
The Local Policy Maker Group (LPMG) is comprised of officials from cities and counties along the Caltrain 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.
The LPMG group 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. In compliance with COVID-19 shelter-in-place orders, meetings may occur as online and/or teleconference meetings.
For more information on upcoming meetings, including meeting agenda, materials, and updated LPMG member list, visit: www.caltrain.com/projectsplans/CaltrainModernization/Local_Policy_Maker_Group.html
Northern California Light Maintenance Facility
The California High-Speed Rail system has three planned train maintenance facilities that would support high-speed rail operations. In Northern California, a Light Maintenance Facility (LMF) is planned in the City of Brisbane; the LMF would serve as a location where trains are cleaned, serviced, and stored and as a service point for any trains in need of emergency repair services. The facility will be designed, constructed, and operated with LEED® Gold Certification – it will be energy-efficient and environmentally sensitive.
The Authority evaluated several potential LMF sites in Northern California and identified two options in Brisbane to further analyze in the Draft Environmental Impact Report/Environmental Impact Statement (Draft EIR/EIS). In 2019, the Authority Board of Directors identified the East Brisbane LMF (Alternative A) as the preferred location, considering preliminary environmental analysis and input received from the public. Both options are studied in full in the Draft EIR/EIS, which was released for public review in July 2020.
For more information, please see our LMF Factsheet and Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ). Additional questions can be provided by email at email@example.com or by phone at (800) 435-8670.
Public Involvement & Community Outreach
High-speed rail is our opportunity to modernize the Bay Area’s transportation system and leave a positive environmental legacy for our children and grandchildren. The Authority encourages public engagement in California high-speed rail construction and operations, so that the final project reflects the needs and vision of our community as a whole.
We conduct outreach events throughout Northern California, such as Open Houses and Community Working Group meetings, to inform and gather input from local communities, policymakers, and stakeholders. Stakeholders include environmental justice groups, community organizations, city/county staff, neighborhood groups, and California residents.
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Authority created an open house website to provide access to information and resources for the Northern California project sections upon the release of the San Francisco to San José and San José Merced Draft Environmental Impact Reports/Environmental Impact Statements (EIRs/EISs). The website is regularly updated as more resources become available. Please visit MeetHSRNorcal.org to learn more.
Below is a list of open houses and working group meetings conducted between fall 2019 and winter 2020. For a listing of upcoming events and outreach opportunities in your area, visit the Events page. Due to Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requirements, meeting materials prior to July 2019 can be requested through a Public Records Act request.
- Draft EIR/EIS Open House Q&A Webinar on MeetHSRNorcal.org – 08/05
- Draft EIR/EIS Public Hearing – 08/19
- Draft EIR/EIS Open House Q&A Webinars on MeetHSRNorcal.org – 07/20, 07/30
- Spring Community Working Group Meetings
- San Mateo – 03/16
- San Francisco – 03/17
- South Peninsula – Canceled
- Preferred Alternative Open Houses:
Newsletters & Factsheets
The Authority releases quarterly regional newsletters to keep stakeholders and the public up to date on the high-speed rail program.
To sign up for the newsletter, complete the form on the Contact Us page and select “Northern California” from the dropdown menu.
Visit the Factsheets page to learn more about the statewide California High-Speed Rail program.
To learn more about the San Francisco to San José Project Section, please see the following factsheets.
- Northern California at a Glance Factsheet
- San Francisco to San José Project Section Preferred Alternative Factsheet
- Northern California Project Sections Preferred Alternatives Frequently Asked Questions
- Northern California Light Maintenance Facility Factsheet
- Northern California Light Maintenance Facility FAQ
- San Francisco to San José Draft EIR/EIS Factsheet
- San Francisco 4th and King Street Station
- Millbrae-SFO Station
- San José Diridon Station
Under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) and National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), the State of California and the federal government both require a proposed infrastructure project to undergo an extensive assessment of the project’s potential impacts on the environment.
Below is a timeline of steps the Authority is taking to deliver the Final Environmental Impact Report/Environmental Impact Statement (EIR/EIS).
Documents & Reports
The following documents are available for review upon request. The Authority encourages written requests submitted via our Public Records Portal.
- San Francisco to San José Project Section Scoping – 2016
- San Francisco to San José Project Section Supplemental Alternatives Analysis
- San Francisco to San José Project Section Alternative Analysis
- San Francisco to San José Project Section Scoping
- San Francisco to San José Project Section Notice of Intent/Notice of Preparation
Please visit the links below to view the latest project section and California High Speed-Rail reports.
- San Francisco to San José
- San José to Merced
- Merced to Sacramento
- Merced to Fresno
- Merced to Fresno – Central Valley Wye
- Fresno to Bakersfield
- Fresno to Bakersfield – Locally Generated Alternative
- Bakersfield to Palmdale
- Palmdale to Burbank
- Burbank to Los Angeles
- Los Angeles to Anaheim
- Los Angeles to San Diego
PROJECT SECTION ENVIRONMENTAL DOCUMENTS
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