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Capitol Corridor ridership dips in March, joint rail authority advances California's high-speed blended service plan

Capitol Corridor posted a 4.7 percent drop in ridership and a 0.4 percent decline in revenue in March compared with the same month a year ago.

On-time performance continued to be "solid and above standards" at 94 percent, with the year-to-date system operating ratio at 52 percent, Capitol Corridor officials said in a prepared statement.

Year-to-date ridership is 3.9 percent below last year while revenue is up 1.5 percent.

The Capitol Corridor Joint Powers Authority (CCJPA) is working with Amtrak to develop a revised weekday train schedule that will reallocate some of the poorer performing late morning trains to other more attractive times to help increase ridership, optimize revenue and maintain/reduce operating costs, agency officials said.

In addition, the CCJPA has worked with service partners to reduce delays and improve safety metrics along the route.

Meanwhile, the CCJPA is working with passenger-rail agencies in northern California (ACE, San Joaquin/California Department of  Transportation, Caltrain) and the California High Speed Rail Authority (CHSRA) on the authority's Year 2018 High Speed Train Blended Service plan. The planning will include development of an integrated, comprehensive service expansion plan and train schedule to connect with the high-speed system's first construction segment between Bakersfield and Fresno/Madera.

Included in the planning efforts is the Capitol Corridor Oakland-San Jose Phase 2 project, which identifies an initial list of track infrastructure projects to allow for the expansion of Capitol Corridor service from 14 to 22 daily trains to and from the Silicon Valley and San Jose.

Both host railroads for the project, Union Pacific Railroad and Caltrain, have been involved in development of the projects to support the high-speed train blended service plan, and are currently conducting network simulation modeling exercises. At this point, the CCJPA is ready to advance the design plans and complete the environmental documentation for the ACE service expansion plan. The 2012 State Transportation Improvement Program includes $3.53 million to support the pre-development work for that project.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 4/22/2013