Valley Rail

WHAT IS VALLEY RAIL?

Valley Rail implements two new daily round-trips for the Amtrak San Joaquins service to better connect San Joaquin Valley travelers with the Sacramento Area, as well as an extension of Altamont Corridor Express (ACE) between Sacramento and Merced, which builds upon ACE funding from Senate Bill (SB) 132. In addition, Valley Rail will convert the entire fleet including the thruway bus network to renewable diesel fuel, providing greenhouse gas (GHG) benefits across the entire existing (449 track miles) and proposed expanded (119 track miles) San Joaquins and ACE services.

CURRENT VALLEY RAIL PROGRESS

Announcement: On March 31, 2020, the Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR) for the Valley Rail Sacramento Extension Project was released for public review.

Comments will be accepted from March 31, 2020 through May 15, 2020 at 5:00 p.m. Comments can be provided by one of the following:

Email: ace.sacramentoextension@gmail.com

Mail: San Joaquin Regional Rail Commission
Attn: Valley Rail Sacramento Extension
949 E. Channel Street
Stockton, CA 95202

On March 31, 2020, notice was given that the San Joaquin Regional Rail Commission (SJRRC), acting as lead agency under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), has prepared a DEIR for the Valley Rail Sacramento Extension project.

To enhance commuter and intercity rail service and to promote greater transit connectivity between the Sacramento region, the San Joaquin Valley and the San Francisco Bay Area, SJRRC and SJJPA are jointly proposing to implement ACE and San Joaquins passenger rail service with six stations between Stockton and Sacramento.

Click (here) to view the full Notice of Availability (NOA), which includes more information on the project and the DEIR.

Open Houses

Please note that SJRRC and SJJPA staff are continuing to monitor developments related to the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) on a daily basis and participate in frequent updates from local, state, and federal public health agencies and local jurisdictions. Out of concern for public health and safety, there is a possibility that open houses for the Valley Rail Sacramento Extension DEIR will be replaced with an online, virtual open house. Please continue to check this webpage for the most up-to-date information regarding open houses for the Valley Rail Sacramento Extension DEIR.

SJRRC and SJJPA plans to hold three open houses to receive comments on the DEIR. Written comments may be made on comment cards that will be provided at the open houses. Open houses are tentatively planned to be held on the below dates and locations:

  • North Natomas Library
    4660 Via Ingoglia, Sacramento, CA 95835
    Thursday, April 23, 2020 from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
  • Midtown Association
    1401 21st Street Unit A, Sacramento, CA 95811
    Tuesday, April 28, 2020 from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
  • Laguna Town Hall Reception Hall
    3020 Renwick Avenue, Elk Grove, CA 95758
    Monday, May 11, 2020 from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.

Availability of Draft Environmental Impact Report

Copies of the DEIR and the documents referenced in the DEIR will be available for review at the following location during normal working hours:

  • SJRRC offices at 949 East Channel Street, Stockton

Copies of the DEIR will also be available for review at the following locations.

Please note that at this time, libraries in San Joaquin County and Sacramento County are closed due to public health and safety concerns regarding the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19). Please follow the links above for up-to-date information about library closures.

Valley Rail Service Plan

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Valley Rail: March 2019 Update

Click to view PDF presentation (updated March 2019)

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Altamont Corridor Vision

Click to visit the Altamont Corridor Vision Page

WHY IS VALLEY RAIL IMPORTANT TO CALIFORNIA?

Valley Rail improves geographic equity by connecting key locations in the Central Valley including Sacramento, San Joaquin, Stanislaus, Merced, Madera, and Fresno Counties to each other and beyond to the Bay Area and the greater California rail network via three future high-speed rail (HSR) connections in Merced and San Jose. This transformative, megaregional project helps further the State’s vision for an integrated rail network and provides direct mobility and air quality benefits to citizens in nine counties, including over 30% of the disadvantaged communities in California.  SJJPA SJRRC TIRCP Grant Announcement Press Release

Based on environmental clearance and funding, the Valley Rail Program consists of two segments one South and one North of Stockton. Each segment includes several projects each with individual costs and schedules.

The Northern segment extends ACE service from Stockton to Natomas and includes additional San Joaquins service.  The Northern segment does not follow the current San Joaquins rail alignment but provides new ACE and San Joaquins service on a new rail alignment closer to Interstate 5. After the environmental phase is completed, final design will commence for the selected project alternative.

The Southern segment extends ACE service to Ceres/Merced. The Valley Rail South extension has already completed the environmental documentation phase and is in the final engineering phase. In May 2019, the SJRRC Board approved multiple contracts for both segments.

Current contract work includes engineering and property assessments for different station and track work locations at Ceres, Modesto, Manteca, Lathrop, Stockton, Lodi, Elk Grove, Midtown Sacramento, and Natomas. Additional contracts will be awarded in the future for stations and associated track work.

In addition to the projects in the Valley Rail Program associated with new service north and south of Stockton, $26 million in funding was also provided to relocate the San Joaquins Madera Station. In May 2019, the SJJPA Board approved a contract for the Madera Station Relocation Project, and the environmental phase is expected to begin in Fall 2019. The project will evaluate project alternatives to construct a new station at Avenue 12 and will be designed to accommodate  future high-speed rail. For more information about the Madera Station Relocation Project, click here.

Valley Rail Latest News

Project Highlights

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16

New Stations
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7

New Daily Round Trips
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30%

Of Disadvantaged Communities in California Served
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5.6

Million Metric Tons of CO2 GHG Reduction by 2027
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Improve Public Health and Reduce Fatalities/Injuries
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New Trainsets for San Joaquins and ACE

Frequently Asked Questions

When will the first Valley Rail trains operate?

The first Valley Rail train(s) are anticipated to operate in Fiscal Year 2021/2022.

Who owns the tracks that Valley Rail is improving?

The Valley Rail Program is funded to make improvements on both Union Pacific Railroad and Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad tracks.

How many stations are being built as a part of the Valley Rail Program?

The Valley Rail Program is funded to build up to 16 stations.

What are the funding sources associated with Valley Rail?

The Valley Rail Program is funded through a combination State, Federal, and Local funding sources. State funding for the Program includes: Transit and Intercity Rail Capital Program (TIRCP), Senate Bill (SB) 132 funding for the ACE Extension to Ceres/Merced, State Rail Assistance (SRA) Program, and Proposition 1A. Federal funding includes: Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality (CMAQ) Improvement Program, FTA 5307 Funds, and 2016 Earmark Repurposing. Local funding includes: San Joaquin County Measure K Sales Tax and Stanislaus County Local Transportation Fund (LTF). Most of the Valley Rail capital costs have been funded through the $500.5 million SJJPA/SJRRC April 2018 TIRCP grant, and the $400 million provided to SJRRC from SB 132 in 2017.

How is Valley Rail different from ACEforward?

ACEforward is a program that seeks to improve and expand service for ACE®. Valley Rail is a joint program that includes improvements and expansions of both ACE and Amtrak San Joaquins that is focused on improvements between Sacramento and the San Joaquin Valley.

When will Valley Rail be completed?

Valley Rail is anticipated to be completed by the end of Fiscal Year 2026/2027.

What are the environmental benefits of the Valley Rail Program?

Valley Rail is anticipated to reduce GHG Emission of 5.2 MMT of CO2 by 2025. Additionally, the Valley Rail Program converts Amtrak San Joaquins and ACE service to renewable fuel which will reduce 1.9 MMT of CO2. Valley Rail’s increased rail ridership is anticipated to reduce 88.4 million vehicle miles traveled by 2025.

How does Valley Rail improve travel to the Bay Area?

Valley Rail extends one ACE round trip to/from Sacramento and one round-trip to Ceres/Merced which expands the markets served by direct ACE service between the Central Valley and the Bay Area. In addition, Valley Rail provides three ACE round trips from Ceres to Sacramento (Natomas) which will connect to ACE trains traveling to the Bay Area by using the North Lathrop Transfer Station. Valley Rail also provides additional coaches and new, more powerful, and more environmentally locomotives for ACE trains which increase the capacity to move passengers on ACE to the Bay Area and between the Tri-Valley and Silicon Valley. By expanding ACE markets, Valley Rail is helping to increase the need for further improving service between the Central Valley and Bay Area via the Altamont Corridor.

What other transit connections can I use with Valley Rail?

Valley Rail will provide shuttle service to/from Sacramento International Airport via the Natomas Station. California High Speed Rail service will connect to Valley Rail in Merced. Valley Rail will link to Sacramento RT at City College, Midtown, and Old North Sacramento Stations as well as Sacramento Valley Station. Valley Link Service will connect to the Valley Rail service (initially at the North Lathrop Transfer Station). Valley Rail ACE service connects to the Capitol Corridor (sharing Fremont, Great America, Santa Clara, and San Jose stations), and Caltrain (and ultimately high-speed rail) at San Jose. ACE links to VTA’s light rail services and buses at Great America, and San Jose stations and VTA buses at Santa Clara. ACE has numerous free shuttles (provided by VTA) at Great America to take commuters to their offices, and one at Pleasanton to serve the Hacienda Business Park. ACE provides an express shuttle bus link to BART at its Pleasanton Station.

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