Don't do blended rail in Bay area

Published: Wednesday, Aug. 21, 2013 - 10:08 am
Last Modified: Wednesday, Aug. 21, 2013 - 11:04 am

Re "Rail project could be a boon for the Valley" (Editorials, Aug. 18): Californians in 2008 approved "The Safe, Reliable High-Speed Passenger Train Bond Act for the 21st Century." To cut costs, however, plans call for high-speed rail on Caltrain tracks -- dubbed "blended rail" -- along the Peninsula in the East Bay.

Caltrain has 43 grade crossings and many suburban station platforms. As a person with experience in engineering/operations with the Western Division of the Southern Pacific, now retired, I believe high-speed rail on "blended rail" would be dangerous, and prone to delays and sabotage -- neither safe nor reliable.

Better, safer, and far cheaper in my view would be to run high-speed rail along an upgraded Union Pacific/Amtrak Mulford route to Oakland. Use high-speed rail local transit funding for a new San Francisco Bay Rail Hub station in Oakland, where BART crosses overhead (at the I-880/7th Street interchange near the Bay Bridge). What a Bay Area-Sacramento link!

-- Robert S. Allen, Livermore

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