Light Rail Modernization Project

August 26, 2022 General, SacRT in Community

Light Rail Modernization Project

In 1987, SacRT opened an 18.3-mile light rail system that linked northeastern (Interstate 80) and eastern (Highway 50) corridors with downtown Sacramento. The stations were equipped with mini-high platforms to allow ADA accessibility to the front light rail vehicle only.

Currently, SacRT operates on over 43-miles of track and provides service to 53 stations. Many of the original stations and facilities are still in service and both the technology and design need modernization. This modernization to major facilities includes double-tracking, signal upgrades, station remodeling, and power station replacement, which will improve accessibility and reliability.

SacRT is now in the process of updating the light rail network with its Light Rail Modernization Project. This project will  modernize the light rail system with new low-floor light rail vehicles, updated station platforms and a “passing track” in Folsom.  

The Project Includes: 

  • Installing a second track or “passing track” between Parkshore Drive and Bidwell Street in Folsom to operate 15-minute service, between Sunrise and Historic Folsom Stations, rather than the existing 30-minute service.  
  • Purchase new low-floor light rail vehicles to modernize the aging light rail fleet. 
  • Station conversions to accommodate the new low-floor light rail vehicles.  
  • Major facility improvements for the Watt/I-80 Transit Center.
  • Relocation of the existing Sacramento Valley Light Rail Station. 

Passing Track at Folsom Stations 

The 15-minute service at Folsom area stations is currently impeded because only a single track serves between the Hazel Station and the Historic Folsom Station. As a result, eastbound light rail trains traveling from downtown Sacramento to Historic Folsom, and westbound trains traveling from historic Folsom to downtown Sacramento must use the same track. 

Installing a second track, or a “passing track,” provides SacRT with the opportunity to modernize its light rail system and increase service to the City of Folsom. The second track will enable light rail trains to operate eastbound and westbound between the Sunrise and Historic Folsom stations with minimal delay. 

The construction work will start in winter of 2022.

Construction is expected to be complete by early Spring of 2024. Upon project completion, trains will arrive in, and depart from, downtown Folsom every 15 minutes.

Folsom Light Rail

New Low-Floor Light Rail Vehicles  

SacRT was awarded $170 million in funding specifically for the Gold Line to modernize the light rail fleet, including the purchase of 44 new low-floor light rail trains, station modifications, and as mentioned above, a “passing track”near Folsom to provide 15-minute service that will provide better accessibility for passengers with disabilities, bicycles, and strollers, and help reduce traffic congestion on the busy Highway 50 corridor.  

On April 15, 2020, SacRT signed the notice to proceed to purchase the first 20 new low-floor light rail vehicles from Siemens Mobility, Inc. In December 2021, SacRT and Siemens Mobility executed a contract for the purchase of an additional eight vehicles, on top of the 28 currently being manufactured. SacRT’s contract with Siemens includes options for the purchase of up to 76 vehicles. SacRT subsequently secured $46.4 million for the purchase.

The majority ofSacRT’sexisting light rail vehicles have reached their usefullife.The new low-floor vehicles will provide easier access at every doorway, a spacious seating design, and large windows for better light and views.They will feature improved accessibility with wider aislesand areas for bicycles.The new low-floor vehicles will increaseoverall operational flexibilitybyproviding more accesstopassengers with disabilities.

The new low-floor light rail trains will only use three S700 car vehicles, since there are several city blocks in downtown Sacramento that are not long enough to accommodate four of the S700 vehicles while meeting ADA requirements for the bridge plate to land 8” above the top of the street.

The first low-floor vehicles arescheduled to beready for revenue service shortly before Summer of 2024.

 

Station Conversions  

Light rail station platforms will need to be converted to provide access for riders on the new low-floor light rail vehicles. The station platforms are required to be at least eight inches above the top of rail track to allow for the ramp to deploy from the vehicle to the station platform with the proper slope for passengers to board. Most stations (48 of 53) serving the light rail system do not have platforms that meet the eight-inch requirement and will need to be raised.  

SacRT will upgrade the Gold Line station platform conversions in two phases: 

  • In the first phase, a portion of the station will be upgraded to allow for a two-car low-floor train by pouring concrete to raise the platform eight inches above the top of rail track. The construction is expected to be completed by late Spring of 2024. 
  • In the second phase, an additional raised platform will be placed adjacent to the Phase 1 platform to accommodate a three-car low-floor train. 
  • Following the completion of Gold Line station platform conversions, the Blue Line station platforms will be converted to accommodate the new low-floor light rail vehicles.  

 

Watt I-80 Transit Center Improvements Project

Watt I-80 Transit Center Improvements Project: The transit center improvements include reconfiguring the east and west stairwells to increase visibility and safety, replacing the east and west elevators, and upgrading to the transit center on Watt Ave by enhancing safety, lighting, seating, and widening the bus loading zone. Currently the project is in Final Design with an anticipated design completion of Summer of 2023. CEQA/NEPA has been approved. 

Sacramento Valley Light Rail Station Relocation

Sacramento Valley Light Rail Station (SVS) Relocation Project includes realignment of the Gold Line track and station to a north-south orientation, a center platform, and interim storage tracks along F Street. The relocation is part of the City’s Sacramento Valley Station Area Plan that will connect SacRT to the Bus Mobility Center (Center) to provide a direct connection between the Center and the Airport. The project is being reviewed for environmental clearance and preliminary engineering.

Project Documents 

Aerial View of Project Location 

Environmental Topics – Folsom Rail Modernization Program 

General Information Fact Sheet 

Glenn Station and Intersection improvements 

Project Construction Schematics 

Folsom Gold Line Double Track Final IS-MND 

Folsom Double Track MMRP Final 

Folsom Double Track NEPA CatEx with approval

Folsom Double Track FTA NEPA CE Determination SacRT

Folsom Double Track sign DA – 200914 FTA Letter

For more information about the project email: modernization@sacrt.com

 

Past Meetings


Folsom Gold Line Double Track Final IS-MND and Folsom Double Track MMRP Final was approved at the January 13, 2020 Board meeting.


A public meeting was held to provide members of the public an opportunity to make verbal comments on the Draft IS/MND. The meeting was held during SacRT’s regularly scheduled Board meeting on Monday, December 9, 2019, at the SacRT Auditorium.


A public meeting was held Wednesday, June 20, 2019, at the Rancho Cordova City Hall.


A public meeting was held Wednesday, April 17, 2019, at the Folsom Community Center.