Californians For High Speed Rail Writes To Caltrain Re: Electrification
Looks like it’s Caltrain day here at the California High Speed Rail Blog. With Caltrain’s fiscal issues getting more attention, their electrification plan is – rightly, as I’ve argued – being touted as a long-term solution to Caltrain’s problems. As such, the Peninsula Corridor Joint Powers Board is moving quickly to finalize its electrification plans, and has mobilized political leaders – including Congresswomen Jackie Speier and Anna Eshoo – to lobby for giving the federal HSR stimulus funds for the San Francisco-San José segment to Caltrain’s electrification project.
However, as Clem and others have consistently pointed out, there are some known incompatibilities between the Caltrain electrification project and the HSR project that could require some of the infrastructure for the Caltrain electrification – including substations – to be ripped out within months of completion. That strikes many as a waste of taxpayer dollars and a stunning example of poor planning.
Caltrain and its allies argue that their plan is compatible with HSR and intended to be the first steps for HSR. We at Californians For High Speed Rail have no reason to doubt that claim. But we would like to see it not only clarified, but set down in writing in the form of a binding Memorandum of Understanding between Caltrain and the California High Speed Rail Authority that ensures full compatibility between the electrification plan and the HSR project.
Those concerns are laid out in the following letter we delivered this week to Caltrain, cc’ing the CHSRA board and a number of other key officials:
Our letter is consistent with the overall CA4HSR goal of building true high speed rail service in California that is not only compatible with, but helps improve, other local rail service. We support Caltrain’s electrification project and agree it is necessary for the survival of the service. But we also believe it can and must be fully compatible with HSR, for the good of Caltrain, residents of the Peninsula (including SF and SJ), and the people of California.