A staff presentation to the California High Speed Rail Authority Board of Directors reveals how the mega-project's first phase will reach its eventual southern terminus in Anaheim.

The staff recommendation, supported by the Board of Directors at its May 16 meeting, calls for high-speed trains to share track between Los Angeles Union Station and ARTIC in Anaheim. The high-speed rail project would require the construction of one additional mainline track within right-of-way owned by BNSF, resulting in a total of four. Additionally, two of the four tracks would be electrified.

With this build scenario, BNSF would able to operate up to ten freight trains per day - including on tracks which were previously planned to be passenger-rail exclusive. High speed passenger trains would be able to run at a peak service frequency of two trains per hour, per direction, which is a slight reduction from earlier plans.

Four mainline tracksCAHSRA

This alternative cuts the estimated cost of the Union Station to Anaheim corridor from $9 billion to $6.9 billion, largely by cutting plans to build a new rail yard for BNSF in Colton, a proposal which the railroad had soured on.

Two options remain on the table for the proposed maintenance facility for high-speed rail vehicles, including one on 26th Street in Vernon and a second at 15th Street south of Downtown Los Angeles. Staff has recommended the Vernon location due to lower costs and requirements for displacement, as well as operational flexibility.

Potentially left on the cutting room floor are two optional intermediate stations, which could be located next to the existing Norwalk/Santa Fe Springs and Fullerton Stations. Both will be studied as part of the project’s environmental review, although only one of the two may be built.

The main entrance of ARTICWikimedia Commons

Cost cutting measures have also impacted the project's approach to grade crossings in Anaheim. Separated crossings and street closures at Orangethorpe Avenue, La Palma Avenue, Broadway, Vermont Avenue, Ball Road, Sycamore Street, and South Street are now planned as at-grade crossings. However, plans to grade-separate crossings of Cerritos Avenue and State College Boulevard remain unchanged.

While environmental review moves forward, the exact timeframe for when California High Speed Rail might reach Southern California remains unclear. Construction is underway for a portion of the project's initial operating segment between Bakersfield and Merced, with the federal government recently awarding more than $3 billion in funding to that effort. However, service is expected to extend north into the Bay Area before trains continue southward into Los Angeles and Orange counties.

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