News & Reviews News Wire Start of expanded Altamont Corridor Express service pushed back

Start of expanded Altamont Corridor Express service pushed back

By | March 13, 2023

First part of Valley Rail operation now not expected until 2026

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Map of expanded Altamont Corridor Express with service to Sacramento and communities south of Stockton
Map of rail line between San Jose, Calif., and Stockton
The current Altamont Corridor Express route. ACE

MODESTO, Calif. — Planned expansion of the Altamont Corridor Express commuter rail service into Stanislaus and Sacramento counties will be delayed by two years, with the first trains not running until 2026, the Modesto Bee reports.

The San Joaquin Regional Rail Commission, which manages the service currently running between Stockton, Calif., and San Jose, attributes the delay in part to a complex review process by host railroad Union Pacific, the newspaper reports. A UP spokeswoman told the paper it is working with ACE to insure safe and reliable service.

Map of expanded Altamont Corridor Express with service to Sacramento and communities south of Stockton
Altamont Corridor Express with the addition of the Valley Rail project. ACE

The Stanislaus and Sacramento county expansion is part of the Valley Rail project, which will extend ACE service both north and south from its current terminus in Stockton. Under the new schedule, the southward expansion would see operations to Manteca, Modesto, and Ceres in 2026, Ripon and north Lathrop in 2027, Turlock in 2029, and Livingston and Merced in 2030. On the northern portion, Elk Grove, Midtown Sacramento and Natomas stations would open in 2026, followed by Lodi in 2027, and Sacramento City College and Old North Sacramento in 2029. The northern section would also see some Amtrak San Joaquins service.

David Lipari, marketing manager for both ACE and the San Joaquins, told the newspaper that there are issues beyond UP’s review contributing to the delayed timeline. Modesto’s station is now going to have two passenger platforms, rather than one, which will require construction of a pedestrian bridge, and the ACE expansion is tied to the $237 million Stockton flyover project, which will eliminate a ground-level crossing of the UP and BNSF Railway main lines by elevating the UP tracks [see “Digest: Stockton diamond project receives $100 million …,” Trains News Wire, Dec. 4, 2020].

4 thoughts on “Start of expanded Altamont Corridor Express service pushed back

  1. The delay due to the review process by UP fits exactly in line with what UP did to CHSRA with review of plans for the shoefly’s necessary to build the underpasses for HSR. The engineering firm would submit plans and UP would return them stamped “rejected” with no explanation as to why. I wouldn’t be surprised it that is what UP is doing now to ACE

  2. The article doesn’t say anything about the review process, but there is a federally mandated safety plan that UP must do with ACE – it is possible this is the issue. It is a new requirement. The idea is to not just rely on rules compliance but also think through potential hazards before they cause issues. This is the approach airlines have used which has made the airline industry so much safer than it used to be.

  3. Surely you jest: “delayed by two years, with the first trains not running until 2026”

    “a complex review process by host railroad Union Pacific” Does that mean leave it on a desk until about a month before?

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