Ventura-L.A. rail mulled

first_img But it won’t be easy. Though tracks owned by Transportation Commission between Montalvo and Piru remain in use by freight trains and vintage sightseeing trains operated by the Fillmore and Western Railway Co., they’ll likely require upgrades. From the county line, it’s about 4.5 miles to Santa Clarita Metrolink on new and refurbished tracks winding through The Newhall Land and Farming Company’s Newhall Ranch project and across the Santa Clara River and Interstate 5. But the planned 21,000-home community only has right-of-way for passenger trains – not freight, company spokeswoman Marlee Lauffer said. “The difficulty we have is more of function – there’s been a lot of building going on, and it’s difficult to pick an alignment,” Forsythe said. “When we get close to Magic Mountain, we have to cross the freeway. How do you cross over to connect with the Metrolink?” There also are jurisdictional hurdles. While city officials from Santa Clarita to Fillmore are open to the idea, they also have questions about potential impacts. “From a transportation perspective, all connections are good,” said Robert Newman, public works director for the city of Santa Clarita. “There are significant concerns in regards to the environmental impact and the impact to our residents. That analysis hasn’t started.” Fillmore City Planner Kevin McSweeney welcomed passenger service, but is leery of the noise and road congestion freight trains could create in his city of 15,000. “We’re in support of the commuter line,” McSweeney said. “We think that would be very beneficial. Our town was designed around a railroad. We’re building our downtown on that principle. “On the freight line, we’re a little cautious. Until that study is done, we’re a little concerned about the effect it’ll have on our town.” Eugene Tong, (661) 257-5253 [email protected] 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! Plans for a passenger and freight rail line connecting Santa Clarita with Port Hueneme – a 48-mile trip from the canyons to the sea – are under review as Ventura County officials consider an alternative to state Route 126 to move goods and people east. The Ventura County Transportation Commission has initiated a $177,000 study on whether to refurbish the Santa Paula rail branch between Ventura’s Montalvo station and Piru, then extending it past the Ventura-Los Angeles county line to connect with the Metrolink in Santa Clarita. Results are expected in May, though early estimates by the state Business, Housing and Transportation Agency put the price tag at $250 million. “We’re kind of in the preliminary stages right now, gathering information and meeting with the stakeholders,” said Kerry Forsythe, the commission’s deputy director. “We want to see what the demand is going to be for passenger and freight, and what the cost is going to be to bring the track up to specifications, and does it pencil out?” AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORESanta Anita opens winter meet Saturday with loaded card Forsythe said the route offers a shortcut for Port Hueneme agriculture and automobile shipping – freight can bypass congested coastal traffic and access national rail lines by traveling east to the Antelope Valley. A passenger train route would offer an alternative for Antelope Valley and Ventura County commuters traveling to Valencia’s industrial parks, providing relief for state Route 126. Average daily traffic on Highway 126 near Interstate 5 is 33,500, according to CalTrans. About 24,000 vehicles travel across the Ventura-Los Angeles county line daily, while an average 41,500 vehicles pass through Peck Road and state Route 126 in Santa Paula. Transit advocate Bart Reed is excited about the route’s potential. “It would be a tremendous boon to the Santa Clarita Valley,” said Reed, executive director of The Transit Coalition. “If there is an alternative for people to go by train, you aren’t driving your car.” last_img

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