Discussion related to commuter rail and transit operators in California past and present including Los Angeles Metrolink and Metro Subway and Light Rail, San Diego Coaster, Sprinter and MTS Trolley, Altamont Commuter Express (Stockton), Caltrain and MUNI (San Francisco), Sacramento RTD Light Rail, and others...

Moderator: lensovet

  by Balerion
SMART moves forward with commuter rail extension to Larkspur -- Marin Independent Journal
Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit officials are confident commuter rail will extend to Larkspur, so much so they approved a $1.4 million contract Wednesday for engineering work on the 2.2-mile segment.

In February SMART officials announced the agency was in line to receive funding to extend the commuter rail service to Larkspur after the San Rafael to Santa Rosa line is completed next year. But that funding is being debated in Congress as part of a larger transportation budget, with the next hearing scheduled for Dec. 11. SMART’s Larkspur extension could get $20 million in federal funds, but it’s not a done deal.

Nevertheless, the rail agency is forging ahead and has agreed to pay Oakland-based Railpros to figure out grade crossings, tunnel systems, bridges, signals and utilities, among other aspects of the extension to Larkspur.
  by kaitoku
related to above:
Congress approved a federal spending bill Friday that includes $20 million for a planned link to a Marin County ferry terminal along a future passenger rail line.

Officials with the Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit Authority consider the 2.2-mile link from downtown San Rafael to the Larkspur ferry terminal a critical component of the rail service, which is set to debut in late 2016.

The $20 million in federal funding comes from President Barack Obama’s budget request of $353 million to fully fund nine projects in the Federal Transit Authority’s Small Starts program.
http://www.pressdemocrat.com/news/49473 ... il-service" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
  by kaitoku
Observed a few days ago at SMART's maintenance facility off Airport Blvd in Santa Rosa were six 2 car train sets. As for the line itself, construction continues- at Santa Rosa downtown station, gauntlet tracks are in, but the high level platforms are incomplete, with only the base in place, and pedestrian access still unbuilt.
  by kaitoku
SMART safety campaign picks up speed:
SANTA ROSA — Sonoma–Marin Area Rail Transit, or SMART, gave a first look at what will be the nerve center for the forthcoming line as well as safety features, chiefly a new-to-passenger-rail system designed to prevent the kind of large-scale disasters that grabbed national headlines six months ago.

Unveiled was the recently completed Rail Operations Center, or ROC, located where the tracks cross Airport Boulevard. The Jan. 27 media tour was part of a safety-awareness campaign ahead of regular service starting, scheduled for late fall.
http://www.northbaybusinessjournal.com/ ... ons-center" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
  by lensovet
glad to see they are going to be accepting Clipper. really wish Amtrak and ACE supported it too.
  by kaitoku
Commuter train rolls into San Rafael for the first time in 50 years
A train rolled into downtown San Rafael for the first time in more than 50 years Friday as SMART readies its rails for commuter service set to start later this year.

It was a wet arrival for the train at the station, which will serve as the southern terminus of the 43-mile rail route until an extension to Larkspur is completed as soon as 2018. To the north, the train will extend to the Santa Rosa Airport.
http://www.marinij.com/general-news/201 ... n-50-years" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
  by kaitoku
Slightly odd lede wording, but there you go.
Marin now has an active railroad and people need to watch out, train officials are warning.

While Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit service is not set to begin until later this year, the trains are very much active as testing continues up and down the 43-mile line between San Rafael and Santa Rosa.

“SMART is ramping up its system-wide testing, so the public can expect to see more trains and more activity along our tracks,” said Jeanne Mariani-Belding, SMART spokeswoman. “It’s all about safety, and getting both our system and the community ready for passenger service later this year.”

Earlier this month the SMART board sent a letter to municipalities along the line asking that public works departments put up signs warning people to not stop on tracks. It also asks local law enforcement to watch for people illegally jogging on tracks, drivers racing to get underneath rail gates or otherwise using the train right of way for travel.
http://www.marinij.com/article/NO/20160 ... /160419849" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
  by Balerion
SMART seeking funding to extend rail line to Windsor
The Sonoma Marin Area Rail Transit agency is seeking up to $38 million in state cap-and-trade funds to extend passenger service to Windsor by early 2020, officials said Tuesday.

The money would fund a 3-mile extension of the rail line from Airport Boulevard north to the Windsor station.
  by deathtopumpkins
Kinda disappointing, if I'm honest. I was hoping for more than just a peak-hour-only service.
  by lpetrich
It will have more than peak-time trains. It will have some midday ones and some weekend ones, the latter with a shuttle bus to the Larkspur ferry.
  by deathtopumpkins
Yes, I looked at the schedule. It is essentially peak-only. After the last southbound train at 8:19, there is a 5 HOUR gap in service, then one train at 1:19 before the afternoon peak service begins at 3:19. Then the last southbound train of the night is at 5:49. Better hope you don't have to work late!

Northbound is slightly better, with a 3 hour gap, one train, and then a 4 hour gap, but the first northbound train isn't until 6:29 am, and the last northbound train leaves at 7:29 pm. Not much help to reverse commuters who need to be at work before 8 am, and not very much wiggle room to go out for dinner or drinks after work. Especially not if you work in San Francisco and are connecting from a ferry. I would find it very stressful to rely on this train schedule.

Essentially, the service is of little use to anyone not working 9-5 at the south end of the line. Thus it may as well be peak-only.

The weekend service is decent though, I guess. Earlier and later trains would be nice, but it is trains every 2-3 hours all day, which is respectable.
  by kaitoku
Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit is poised to be the first rail line system in the country to start service completely outfitted with a safety system to prevent potentially deadly accidents, according to agency officials.

SMART has spent $50 million on implementation of what is known as a “Positive Train Control” system on the line from downtown San Rafael to the Santa Rosa Airport, which will see passenger service later this year.

The system essentially controls movements on the rails electronically to slow or stop trains before certain types of accidents could occur.

In SMART’s case, a fiber optic network is used to “talk” to the train system to prevent a train from moving while sitting in a turnout while another train passes, maintain safe speeds in curves to prevent derailments and to slow speeds in work zones where workers are present.
http://www.marinij.com/general-news/201 ... ety-system" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
  by kaitoku
Recent news-
Green and gray commuter trains are making near-daily practice runs on the 43-mile line stretching from Santa Rosa to San Rafael, where passenger service will resume at the end of this year following a half-century absence.

Of the crucial decisions that directors overseeing Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit have faced since voters in the two counties approved commuter rail service in 2008, perhaps none has been so controversial as the fares established for riders last month.

In a 9-2 vote at the end of a three-hour meeting June 1 at SMART’s Petaluma headquarters, the agency’s directors authorized base and zone fares that add up to a $9.50 one-way trip from Santa Rosa to San Rafael, or $19 round-trip.

Discounts will offer lower fares for youth, seniors, veterans, college students and disabled riders, as well as commuters who get their tickets in bulk through employers. And SMART officials say the largest share of their estimated 3,000 daily riders will make short trips, resulting in lower overall tolls.
http://www.pressdemocrat.com/news/57945 ... artslide=0" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
An ambitious plan to transform a vacant Railroad Square lot into an $85 million mixed-use transit village gets its first public airing this week.
Silicon Valley-based developer ROEM will outline its project for a joint committee of the Santa Rosa City Council and the board of directors of Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit, which owns the 5.4-acre property. The Monday meeting, from 9 to 11 a.m., will be held at the Santa Rosa City Council chambers. Expectations for the project, which is called Water Tower Plaza Apartments, are high.

“I’m anxious to hear how this developer plans to make the highest and best use of that site, which we’ve talked about as the crown jewel of the SMART system for years,” said Santa Rosa City Councilman Chris Coursey, who is on the committee.

The development firm wants to build 268 apartments, a food and wine center and a public plaza on property just west of Santa Rosa’s future downtown rail station.
http://www.pressdemocrat.com/news/58296 ... artslide=0" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
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