California is Building High Speed Rail
Los Angeles to San Francisco in under three hours by train?
It’s not just a dream, California is building a 220-mph high-speed line to make it a reality.
And, it much more than that.
With timed connections to California's excellent conventional trains and buses, high-speed rail will link hundreds of cities and towns across the state.
The California legislature needs to commit to the project and get it done.
California is using the Integrated Network Approach. The high-speed line is being constructed in stages, progressively integrated into an already robust network of trains and buses. The Interstate Highway network was built this way.
With this approach, everyone begins to enjoy the benefits of high-speed rail – even before the entire route is complete. As each finished segment is added to the network, it further reduces travel times and increases ridership across the system, not just between high-speed rail stations.
The ultimate goal is a thriving network of high-speed trains that link all of California. Getting there requires a solid foundation and a starting point with statewide impact.
That’s exactly what the Central Valley segment delivers:
- Population of 4 million people
- Flat enough to build long stretches of 220-mph track without drilling tunnels
- An extensive network of connecting trains and buses already in place
- Strong economy and thriving agribusiness sector
- An institutional web of dozens of colleges and universities
Sacramento should commit to having electrified, high-speed trains in revenue service in this decade.
The California High Speed Rail Authority has already gained environmental clearance on two critical, but difficult segments:
1) Pacheco Pass: This will be the first direct railroad link connecting San Jose to the Central Valley, slicing hours of today’s circuitous routing,
2) Tehachapi Pass: Bypassing the famed, but very slow "Tehachapi Loop" and finally closing a long missing gap in the Amtrak network.
Environmental review for a third segment, new tunnels through the Antelope Valley, is almost done.
This is huge progress, but it won't mean anything if the legislature doesn't fund the next steps.
Another important segment is ready to go. Brightline West has environmental clearance to construct a Las Vegas - Victor Valley segment of high-speed line. A connection to the LA - Silicon Valley high-speed line at Palmdale has been designed. A link over Cajon Pass is in the works.
Brightline West and California High Speed Rail will feed traffic back and forth, making each more valuable. And, making the critical Tehechapi Pass crossing easier to finance.