The buck starts here: Caltrans recruiting public input for plans to improve north corridor of scenic rail line to San Luis Obispo

A number of rail services operate on the LOSSAN North corridor. Amtrak’s Pacific Surfliner (operated with state funding) is the primary intercity passenger rail service, and runs between San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, Ventura, and Los Angeles (with additional service to Orange County and San Diego). Amtrak’s Coast Starlight (service between Los Angeles, the Bay Area, and Portland/Seattle, in addition to stops within the LOSSAN North corridor) also operates on the corridor. Commuter rail service between Los Angeles and Ventura is provided by Metrolink. UP operates freight and goods movement service along the corridor. Map: Figure ES–1, LOSSAN North Study Area from LOSSAN North Corridor Strategic Plan.

A number of rail services operate on the LOSSAN North corridor. Amtrak’s Pacific Surfliner (operated with state funding) is the primary intercity passenger rail service, and runs between San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, Ventura, and Los Angeles (with additional service to Orange County and San Diego). Amtrak’s Coast Starlight (service between Los Angeles, the Bay Area, and Portland/Seattle, in addition to stops within the LOSSAN North corridor) also operates on the corridor. Commuter rail service between Los Angeles and Ventura is provided by Metrolink. UP operates freight and goods movement service along the corridor. Map: Figure ES–1, LOSSAN North Study Area from LOSSAN North Corridor Strategic Plan.

Caltrans kicks off the first of four “scoping” meetings Monday to gather public and agency input that will eventually shape the environmental scope of plans to seek funding for much-needed improvements to the 222-mile Los Angeles to San Luis Obispo (LOSSAN North) rail corridor. The meeting will be held at Metro from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Jan. 10. Meeting details: Public Notice

The rail line, also known as the Pacific Surfliner Rail Corridor, traverses some of California’s most scenic and environmentally-sensitive areas, according to the strategic plan for the corridor, which also notes increased rail traffic — and the impacts thereof — is expected to double over the next 20 years. The heavily-traveled southern portion to San Diego  already makes the entire 331-mile corridor the second busiest intercity rail corridor in the nation. More than 2.7 million Amtrak passengers share the corridor with some five million commuter passengers.

The real stakeholders in this planning process are the riders, we would say, clearly defined by the increased demand for travel in the area from commuters, students, vacationers and commerce.

Here are some of the issues on the table:

  • How to best improve rail capacity for all types of rail service, including intercity, commuter, and freight/goods movement: The northern LOSSAN corridor is less developed than the southern portion.  Freight rail capacity and reliability is severely impacted by sharing single-track segments within the corridor with passenger rail operations.
  • How to best provide faster, safer, and more reliable passenger service: The long stretches of single-track and relatively short sidings require passenger trains to wait for longer freight trains to clear a section before continuing.
  • How to make the rail corridor a preferred transportation alternative to the increased traffic congestion and longer automobile commutes on Highway 101, which generally parallels the rail line.

Four scoping meetings will be held, one in each county served by the corridor. You can also send comments, questions by Feb. 15 to Matt Fowler at matt_c_fowler@dot.ca.gov.

13 thoughts on “The buck starts here: Caltrans recruiting public input for plans to improve north corridor of scenic rail line to San Luis Obispo

  1. Hi there —

    We try to ensure that anyone who has the link should have access to the docs, whether or not they have a Google account. But I’ll try to make sure this is the case in the future,

    Steve Hymon
    Editor, The Source

  2. Getting the trains to run late into the evening like till midnight or so would be nice on this route. The current line (effectively the Ventura county line) runs so infrequently and sporadically that of course there are fewer people riding it simply because its not a viable option for many people because of the lack of regular availability of use. Adding service to this corridor should be a no-brainer. I live in the valley and would certainly use this corridor a lot more if the frequency, time taken, and later running service were upgraded (and double tracking like any normal first world train system). People talk about sparse population and slow growth but that does not apply to the San Fernando valley which has almost two million people and is a major part of this corridor. Also traffic on the 101 going out to Ventura county or Santa Barbara and back is often congested. So the demand for travel is there, its just a matter of weather they use the trains to do it. Provide better service and more people will use it.

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