Officials Working Out Nitty-Gritty of Rail Project

Views are already beginning to clash as the California high-speed rail project begins its development process. But until environmental and design reports are available, many questions are to be left unanswered.

"Caltrain wants to replace its aging diesel locomotives with lightweight electrified cars, which will require a $785 million overhaul of its infrastructure by 2015. The agency hopes that the planned path for the bullet train - up its right of way between San Francisco and San Jose - means the two rail systems will be able to share the cost of upgrading the tracks.

Officials hope all of Caltrain's advance planning work will make the Peninsula a strong candidate to become the first part of the line to be built, said spokeswoman Christine Dunn."

"What particularly appeals to Caltrain about the high-speed project is the proposed widening of its tracks and construction of grade separations up and down the Peninsula because bullet trains must run above or below street level.

But some local officials are unhappy with the project, saying the reworked tracks will displace nearby property owners and endanger historic properties.

The cities of Atherton and Menlo Park in August joined a lawsuit challenging the environmental report for the train's route, claiming it underestimates the impact it would have on communities."

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