Caltrans receives $171 million to improve passenger rail service

The California Department of Transportation has awarded the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) has been awarded $171 million to improve service on its highly successful intercity passenger rail service.

“The federal funding for intercity rail provides the impetus to expand and greatly improve passenger rail service statewide,” said Caltrans Director Cindy McKim in a written statement.

The largest component of the grant, $100 million, is targeted for the purchase of 40 new rail cars and six locomotives for the San Joaquin, Pacific Surfliner and Capitol Corridor routes. The Pacific Surfliner route received more than $28 million for track and signal upgrades, bridge work, curve realignments, and other infrastructure enhancements. Additionally, more than $38 million will fund safety improvements through the installation of Positive Train Control technology, which reduces the risk of train-to-train collisions, over-speed derailments, and injuries to railway maintenance workers.

The funding was part of more than $901 million awarded to the state that included $731 million for the California High Speed Rail Authority‘s projects in the Central Valley and San Francisco.

“Amtrak stands ready to offer our expertise to our state partners to help implement these important projects to improve our national intercity passenger rail network,” said Amtrak President & CEO Joseph Boardman.

California is home to the second (Pacific Surfliner), third (Capitol Corridor), and fifth (San Joaquin) busiest intercity passenger rail corridors in the nation. With 5 million annual passengers, California has more than 20 percent of all Amtrak riders. Since 1990, the state has invested more than $1.3 billion in infrastructure and equipment for intercity passenger rail and about $1 billion in operating support.