On Thursday the CalTrain board approved a MOU with High Speed Rail Authority, which CalTrain is celebrating as being the salvation of CalTrain, since it will provide funding for electrification of their tracks.
What a deal! One really wonders if this board, which literally rubber-stamps everything that comes before them, ever exercises any thought on the actions they take.
This MOU replaces the original agreement between the Authority and CalTrain. That agreement would have funded not only electrification, but full grade separations of the line. Under that agreement, CalTrain would not be sharing its tracks with the Authority, but the Authority would have its own dedicated tracks and CalTrain would have its own tracks. Not anymore.
Now, CalTrain must allot time slots on its tracks to the Authority, reducing the number of trains and therefore the service that CalTrain will be able to provide to its commuters. It will prove to be an un-workable arrangement for both parties.
The original full 4 track deal was not acceptable to the communities along the Peninsula. This new arrangement is not be acceptable either. Passing tracks along about one-fourth of the 50 miles from SF to San Jose will be needed, and are not going to be acceptable to whatever communities they run through. San Mateo is already asking for some kind of grade separations, and there is no funding for those or other grade separation anywhere else either.
The fact of the matter is that High Speed Rail does not belong on the CalTrain corridor at all. It should have never been approved in the first place and it should never have been again approved last Thursday.