SacRT launches biggest light rail modernization project in its history. Here’s what you need to know:
This weekend may be inconvenient for some Sacramento Regional Transit District (SacRT) light rail riders. But we’re happy to say it’s for a good reason. A very good reason.
SacRT is taking the first step on what will be the largest light rail modernization program in its history. Over the next year and one-half, SacRT will be reconstructing station platforms one by one on the Gold Line to accommodate a new fleet of modern and rider-friendly “low-floor” train cars.
The platforms at the 59th Street Station will be the first to be raised. That station is planned to be closed during the first phase of construction, starting this Saturday, February 4 through Sunday, February 5, 2023.
Here is what riders on the Gold Line need to know:
- On Saturday and Sunday, four Gold Line stations will be closed to light rail riders during the construction at the 59th Street station.
- During those two days, SacRT will operate a “bus bridge” instead of light rail trains between the 29th Street and Power Inn stations.
- At the start of service on Monday, February 6, trains will resume a normal schedule along the entire Gold Line.
- The 59th Street Station will remain open during other phases of construction while crews continue work on the station platform modifications, which is expected to be completed by Friday, March 3, 2023.
The project pay-off is expected to be big: low-floor vehicles will make light rail far more convenient than it has ever been. Instead of having to walk up four steps, as is now the case, light rail riders will be able to step directly onto the new trains with floors set roughly 4 inches above the station platforms.
Riders that use mobility devices, will use a small ramp that passengers can deploy from the train door in order to roll directly onto the train without having to use the station mini-high ramp. This will provide more access to passengers with disabilities at more train doors than just the lead car.
“It’s our goal every day to provide our riders now and in the future with a clean, safe and convenient transit system,” SacRT General Manager/CEO Henry Li said. “Low-floor cars will make light rail even more accessible and user-friendly. We’re really excited about this major system improvement.”
To prepare the 59th Street Station for the new low-floor cars, SacRT contractors will pour concrete to raise the existing passenger platforms to eight-inches adjacent to the tracks.
The entire Gold Line system is expected to be updated for the new cars by summer 2024. SacRT is working on securing additional grant funding to also modify stations on the Blue Line.
The first train car of the upcoming new fleet of up to 76 low-floor cars is expected to arrive at SacRT later this month from its manufacturer, Siemens Mobility. The new train cars will be arriving at a rate of about two per month. SacRT will configure the software and begin testing the cars, first in the shop, then on the tracks.
For details on the 59th Street closure: sacrt.com/stationclosure.
For details on the Light Rail Modernization Project: sacrt.com/modernization.