California HSR Network

The proposed California HSR network will stretch more than 700 miles from San Francisco, Oakland, and Sacramento in the north to Los Angeles and San Diego in the south. The proposed California HSR network will have the capacity to carry approximately 116 million passengers annually (California High Speed Rail Authority and Federal Railroad Administration). The alignment will run through California’s Central Valley connecting the fast-growing cities of Bakersfield, Fresno, Merced, Modesto and Stockton. With speeds in excess of 200 mph, the travel time from San Francisco to Los Angeles is estimated at approximately two and forty minutes and the network would carry between 41 million and 55 million intercity passengers annually by 2035 according to the Authorities 2009 business plan.  The California HSR network, if considered as one project, will be the largest public works project in California’s history.

See map below for the route of the California HSR network. 


Source: California High Speed Rail Authority

Proposed Alignments and Stations

The initial California high-speed rail network will be built from San Francisco and San Jose in the north through the San Joaquin Valley to Los Angeles and Anaheim in the south. After the initial network is completed, extensions are planned from Merced to Sacramento and from Los Angeles to the Inland Empire and San Diego.

The northern terminus of initial system will be at the planned San Francisco Transbay Transit Center. From there, trains run south via the Caltrain corridor to San Jose. South of San Jose, the train line will likely follow either a Monterey Highway alignment or a Highway 101 alignment to Gilroy. A new mountain crossing will stretch east from Gilroy across the Pacheco Pass, then fork north to Merced and south to Fresno once trains reach the San Joaquin Valley.

In the San Joaquin Valley the line will follow along a combination of two existing freight rail alignments. From downtown Merced the line will likely run near Highway 99 and the Union Pacific tracks to downtown Fresno. South of Fresno the line will likely use the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad right-of-way south to downtown Bakersfield. An optional station just east of Hanford is also being considered by the California High Speed Rail Authority.

For the Sacramento extension, the line will run near Highway 99 and the Union Pacific tracks from Merced to downtown Stockton. From Stockton to downtown Sacramento, the line will continue along the Highway 99/Union Pacific corridor or switch to the Central California Traction Company right-of-way. The Sacramento terminus is planned to be at the new train station and intermodal center that is part of the Railyards Development Project just north of the existing Amtrak station.

South of Bakersfield, the line will likely be constructed along Routes 58 and 14 to Sylmar, with a station planned in Palmdale. From Sylmar, the line will likely follow Metrolink corridors, stopping at stations located in Burbank and Los Angeles Union Station, before traveling to Anaheim at the planned new ARTIC transit hub.

The extension to San Diego is earlier in the planning process than the other segments and still has a variety of possible alignments and station locations that has yet to be decided. However, the extension will likely travel east from Los Angeles Union Station to Ontario airport. An additional station is under consideration in San Bernardino. Other stops on the way to San Diego may include be located in downtown Riverside, UC Riverside, Murrieta, and Escondido. As the train approached San Diego along the I-15 corridor, the line will likely cut over to the Coaster/Surfliner route to a terminus station in downtown San Diego’s Santa Fe Station and/or at Lindbergh Airport.