Wanted: High-Speed Rail Operator for California

The California High-Speed Rail Authority has taken the first official step to find a train operator for the initial operating segment of the 800-mile project: connecting the Central Valley to the Silicon Valley, with estimated completion by 2024.
December 26, 2016, 11am PST | Irvin Dawid
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As posted Dec. 15, the California High-Speed Rail Authority approved the first outlay from the $9.95 billion of 2008 general obligation bond funds to pay for rail construction in the Central Valley and help fund Caltrain commuter rail electrification. [See December construction update (PDF).]

At that same meeting, the Authority "authoriz(ed) the issuance of a 'request for qualifications' from potential train-operating companies to guide the planning and earliest stages of operations for the bullet train system between the San Joaquin and Silicon valleys," reported Tim Sheehan of The Fresno Bee on Dec. 13. The RFQ was issued on Dec. 16.

"Engaging the early train operator at this time will help us shape our future procurements and provide important guidance as we continue progress on the nation’s first high-speed rail program," said Authority CEO Jeff Morales in a Dec. 16 press release. "The feedback we have received from the private sector demonstrates that this is the best way to approach the program in a timely and efficient manner."

Today’s action was the first part of a two-part procurement process, with a Request for Proposals to be released to qualified offerors in spring 2017 with the goal of having the Early Train Operator on board this summer. 

With more than 119 miles of active construction in the Central Valley, construction of a high-speed rail line between the Silicon Valley and Central Valley is planned to be complete by 2024, with passenger service beginning in 2025. 

"Meanwhile, CHSRA late last week issued its first sustainability report [PDF], which describes the agency's approach to design, construction and operations of the state's planned high-speed rail system," reports Progressive Railroading.

Hat tip to Jim Mathews, President and CEO, National Association of Railroad Passengers, for including this development in the NARP Hotline.

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Earlier on Planetizen:

The California High-Speed Rail Authority's Board Took a 'Momentous' Step on TuesdayDecember 15, 2016: The California High-Speed Rail Authority voted on December 13 to approve two plans that would spend $3.2 billion in high-speed rail bond funds for continuing construction in the Central Valley and help pay for Caltrain commuter rail electrification.
Full Story:
Published on Friday, December 16, 2016 in Progressive Railroading
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