Tejon Pass Rail

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NeueAmtrakCalifornia

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Since 1971, there has been no direct passenger rail link between Los Angeles and the Central Valley, barring the occasion when the Coast Starlight goes through the Tehachapi Pass whenever Union Pacific closes the Coast Line for maintenance. The only existing rail link is through the Tehachapi Pass, and Union Pacific doesn't want any more passenger trains on the Tehachapi as the line is way beyond capacity. This leaves a disconnect between the Pacific Surfliner serving SoCal and the Capitol Corridor and San Joaquin serving NorCal.

This leaves the Tejon pass as the only other option. However, no existing rail crossings have been built through the Tejon (although Santa Fe did a survey on what the Tejon rail crossing would have looked like but it never advanced beyond planning). California High Speed Rail did do a study on a Tejon route but decided to back out in favor of a route through the Tehachapi pass to serve Palmdale. However, with the recent scaleback, CAHSR may revisit a Tejon crossing once the IOS is finished if they want a more direct route between the Central Valley and LA.

If Amtrak California wants to connect the San Joaquin to the LA Area then building a new rail line crossing the Tejon Pass is crucial as Interstate 5 between LA and the Central Valley is heavily traveled and ends up getting clogged and even closed in the winter due to snowy conditions, forcing drivers to take a multi-hour detour through CA-14 and CA-58/future I-40, and they aren't equipped enough to handle such traffic loads.
As shown by Clem, a Tejon passenger rail line is doable. To make a Tejon passenger rail line truly viable, Metrolink would have to work in tandem with Amtrak California to rebuild the Los Angeles Union Station-Sylmar tracks. This includes grade separation, electrification, and rebuilding the line to eliminate all grade crossings and accommodate 4 tracks and 125+ mph speeds. Should the Tejon Pass rail be completed then all San Joaquin trains will be expanded to service Los Angeles.

Being that it's a mountain railroad with grades exceeding 3.5%, the Tejon rail line would be electric, and only electric multiple units (EMU) can be used on the line. This would force Amtrak California to procure a new fleet of electric multiple units specifically for this service (Amtrak can cover this by buying electro-diesel multiple units as part of solving the issue of engine switching for the Northeast Regional and Keystone/Pennsylvanian and replacing the Amfleets).
 
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seat38a

Conductor
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Jan 26, 2014
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The fastest way to get anything built through Tejon Pass, will have to involve some sort of combo of rail/vehicle tunnel. You charge toll for cars to use it to finance both the rail and vehicle tunnels. Probably the same could be said about the tunneling issues in NorCal as well. Unfortunately there is a vocal group that are adamantly against anything that improves roads even if it can make help fund and speed up rail projects.

I believe when Santa Barbara and Ventura counties went to the voters to get funding for commuter rail, the slogan was something like, 1 lane and 1 train. Don't remember the exact quote, but I believe it passed.

Also, historically, California has responded to rail faster out of necessity after a natural disaster. After the Northridge Quake, Metrolink was the only timely way to get into and out of Santa Clarita. It really sped up the timetable for Metrolink rollout with temporary stations being added to the route literally overnight.

SB had been talking about commuter rail forever, and it look the devastating mudslide and the necessity to pretty much introduce early morning commuter Surfliner overnight.
 

NeueAmtrakCalifornia

Service Attendant
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Oct 25, 2019
Messages
135
The fastest way to get anything built through Tejon Pass, will have to involve some sort of combo of rail/vehicle tunnel. You charge toll for cars to use it to finance both the rail and vehicle tunnels. Probably the same could be said about the tunneling issues in NorCal as well. Unfortunately there is a vocal group that are adamantly against anything that improves roads even if it can make help fund and speed up rail projects.
Concerning a Tejon road tunnel, they could use the 1950 two tunnel proposal alignment. This would be a two-bore tunnel with 3 lanes in each direction. Due to its length (13.5 miles) and gradient (3.5%), trucks hauling hazardous materials (i.e. gasoline) would be prohibited. On days where I-5 between Wheeler Ridge and Castaic is closed due to the weather, the Tejon Route Alternative would be free. Otherwise it would be a toll road. Also the Tejon Rail route would be of different alignment from the Tejon Route Alternative.

I believe when Santa Barbara and Ventura counties went to the voters to get funding for commuter rail, the slogan was something like, 1 lane and 1 train. Don't remember the exact quote, but I believe it passed.
What was it exactly?

Also, historically, California has responded to rail faster out of necessity after a natural disaster. After the Northridge Quake, Metrolink was the only timely way to get into and out of Santa Clarita. It really sped up the timetable for Metrolink rollout with temporary stations being added to the route literally overnight.

SB had been talking about commuter rail forever, and it look the devastating mudslide and the necessity to pretty much introduce early morning commuter Surfliner overnight.
Tejon gets hit with snowstorms often and tends to get closed because of it. That in and of itself should convince people to build an alternative. The only other alternative is to 4-lane CA-14 and CA-58/Future I-40 between the CA-58/CA-14 junction and the Central Valley.
 

neroden

Conductor
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Feb 23, 2014
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It appears to me (and to others who've looked at it) that the critical problem with Tejon is land acquisition. There aren't a lot of options for where to run a Tejon rail route, due to the fault lines; Clem has shown that there are technically viable options, but they absolutely require getting land from, IIRC, two particular rich landowners who are notorious troublemaker NIMBYs.

Tehachapi doesn't have similar NIMBYs. Unfortunately the route from the High Desert of Palmdale to the San Fernando Valley *does*, which is why some people have proposed running a route through Cajon instead.

If you remember, crazy NIMBYs in Beverly Hills delayed the Purple Line extension in LA by something like *five years*. CAHSR has enough delays and I can understand why they don't want to invite this one. Tejon Pass route will be reconsidered only if the landowners change and are replaced by people who want to sell to CAHSR. That's my opinion.
 

seat38a

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Concerning a Tejon road tunnel, they could use the 1950 two tunnel proposal alignment. This would be a two-bore tunnel with 3 lanes in each direction. Due to its length (13.5 miles) and gradient (3.5%), trucks hauling hazardous materials (i.e. gasoline) would be prohibited. On days where I-5 between Wheeler Ridge and Castaic is closed due to the weather, the Tejon Route Alternative would be free. Otherwise it would be a toll road. Also the Tejon Rail route would be of different alignment from the Tejon Route Alternative.



What was it exactly?



Tejon gets hit with snowstorms often and tends to get closed because of it. That in and of itself should convince people to build an alternative. The only other alternative is to 4-lane CA-14 and CA-58/Future I-40 between the CA-58/CA-14 junction and the Central Valley.
http://www.sbroads.com/lane_train_solutions/

The slogan was lane and train. Measure A was approved by the voters of Santa Barbara County. Also, I wouldn't call a snowstorm a disaster. The Northridge Quake and Montecito Mud Slide were almost a year to weeks closure. I grew up in Northern LA County and its never been a multi day closure.

Here's a little excerpt from Wikipedia on the expanded Metrolink Service. After the quake, I remember seeing the Go Transit cars. Pretty much the quake and the road closures, jump started the Ventura County line and also extended, what used to be called the Santa Clarita line all the way to Palmdale/Lancaster overnight.

Rail service was briefly interrupted, with full Amtrak and expanded Metrolink service resuming in stages in the days after the quake. Interruptions to road transport caused Metrolink to experiment with service to Camarillo in February and Oxnard in April,[34][35] which continues today as the Ventura County Line, and extended the Antelope Valley Line almost ten years ahead of schedule. Six new stations opened in six weeks.[36] Metrolink leased equipment from Amtrak, San Francisco's Caltrain and Toronto, Canada's GO Transit to handle the sudden onslaught of passengers.

Since the beginning of service, Metrolink had plans to extend the line north to the Antelope Valley but these plans were expedited by almost 10 years following the 1994 Northridge earthquake.[3] The earthquake caused the collapse of the freeway connector of State Route 14 (the Antelope Valley Freeway) onto Interstate 5 (the Golden State Freeway) at the Newhall Pass interchange, forcing all traffic to use the parallel 2 lane truck bypass that was unaffected by the quake. With funding from the Federal Emergency Management Agency the Southern California Regional Rail Authority constructed an emergency extension of the line to Lancaster to help relieve the traffic bottleneck. The U.S. Navy Seabees construction battalion and crews from the L.A. County Public Works Department were able to construct the stations in just a few days, compared to the normal three to six months. Emergency stations in Lancaster and Palmdale were both built in just three days and Metrolink started operating trains one week after the earthquake struck. Over the next five weeks additional emergency stations were added in Sylmar/San Fernando, Vincent Grade/Acton and Santa Clarita (Via Princessa).[3] While most of the emergency stations have since been replaced with permanent stations, the Via Princessa station still uses the same platform built after the earthquake.
The temporary stations mentioned above have all become permanent stations on the line.
 
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NeueAmtrakCalifornia

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Also, I wouldn't call a snowstorm a disaster. The Northridge Quake and Montecito Mud Slide were almost a year to weeks closure. I grew up in Northern LA County and its never been a multi day closure.
These snowstorms causing I-5 between Castaic and Grapevine to close happen fairly often enough though.

Tehachapi doesn't have similar NIMBYs. Unfortunately the route from the High Desert of Palmdale to the San Fernando Valley *does*, which is why some people have proposed running a route through Cajon instead.
A Cajon route would be difficult from a geological standpoint (even more than Tejon), though absolutely crucial for Brightline's Vegas train to serve Southern California.
 

seat38a

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These snowstorms causing I-5 between Castaic and Grapevine to close happen fairly often enough though.



A Cajon route would be difficult from a geological standpoint (even more than Tejon), though absolutely crucial for Brightline's Vegas train to serve Southern California.
One thing I can think of is maybe if the county dangles access to rail for approving the Tejon Ranch housing development. Allowing Metrolink service to the development and beyond to alleviate the burden the I5 would endure. Not sure if they can Mello-Roos tax for rail.
 

anumberone

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One thing I can think of is maybe if the county dangles access to rail for approving the Tejon Ranch housing development. Allowing Metrolink service to the development and beyond to alleviate the burden the I5 would endure. Not sure if they can Mello-Roos tax for rail.
Interesting idea about the Metrolink, like to see it happen, But, the Mello-Roos is going to be outrageous without the rail tax. The burden would be on the 5 not the 15
 

neroden

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Feb 23, 2014
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One thing I can think of is maybe if the county dangles access to rail for approving the Tejon Ranch housing development. Allowing Metrolink service to the development and beyond to alleviate the burden the I5 would endure. Not sure if they can Mello-Roos tax for rail.
That's an idea which definitely might work.
 

NeueAmtrakCalifornia

Service Attendant
Joined
Oct 25, 2019
Messages
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That's an idea which definitely might work.
Amtrak and Metrolink can put a Lebec station. I know Metrolink's been planning to extend service in tandem with a future commuter railroad that Bakersfield would make, so it'd make sense to put a station that would service Tejon Ranch.
 
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