Solano County study addresses rail plans, including crude-by-rail

Repost from The Fairfield Daily Republic
[Editor:  Download the 152-page Update from the STA website.  Although this article doesn’t mention it, significant attention is paid to crude by rail in the Update: see p. 8 on the Benicia-Martinez Railroad Bridge, p. 15 on the Valero Refinery, pp. 27-29 on Future Demand (including crude-by-rail), pp. 91-93 on Potential Projects, and   See also p. 130 on Positive Train Control and a reference on p. 131 to a possible “Benicia Narrows high-level rail crossing bypassing downtown Benicia.”  (Note PDF page numbering is 4 more than doc page numbers)  – RS]

Solano Rail Facilities Plan Update available for review

By Kevin W. Green, 4/18/15

SUISUN CITY — A draft Solano Rail Facilities Plan Update has been released for public review.

The governing board of the Solano Transportation Authority released the study this week for a 30-day period public comment.

The board last year approved developing an update to the rail plan, which was originally adopted in 1995. The board wanted to update priorities for rail stations and future service and rail freight priorities, according to a staff report.

In addition to focusing on passenger rail facilities along the main Union Pacific rail lines, it also addresses passenger rail potential in the Vallejo area and freight rail throughout Solano County, staff said in the report.

The four daily long-distance Amtrak services that connect the Bay Area with destinations to the north, south and east do not serve Solano communities directly, according to the study. As one of the largest service areas by population on those routes without a station stop, Solano should consider advocating a stop at the Suisun City or Fairfield-Vacaville stations, the study said.

Passenger travel from the Suisun City station on the Capitol Corridor, meanwhile, is about evenly split – with passengers heading east nearly equal to those going west, consultant David McCrossan said in presenting the plan update to the Solano Transportation Authority’s board.

The study includes anticipated growth in passenger rail service. Ridership growth of 10 percent to 20 percent is expected in the next 10 years, it said.

The opening of the new Fairfield-Vacaville station will likely add up to 15 percent to the total ridership within the county, the study indicated. Although the new station may initially share some of the catchment of the current Suisun City station, growing mixed-use development in the immediate vicinity of both stations will lift ridership levels overall beyond their current totals at each location, the study said.

The plan outlines various projects slated within the next 10 years. Included are station improvements, local station connections, passenger service levels, accommodating growing ridership, infrastructure safety enhancements and rail infrastructure capacity.

The infrastructure enhancements include crossing improvements at East Tabor Avenue in Fairfield, First Street in Dixon, Canon Road in Fairfield, Fry Road in Vacaville, A Street in Dixon and Midway Road in Solano County.

For more information about the rail plan update, contact the Solano Transportation Authority at 424-6075.