The Sacramento Regional Transit District (SacRT) light rail system, which opened March 12, 1987, is an integral part of the Sacramento region's transportation infrastructure. The 37.5-mile line, which links both the eastern and northeastern suburbs with Downtown and South Sacramento, carries 55,000 passengers on a typical weekday. During Fiscal Year 2010, SacRT light rail vehicles carried 16.1 million passengers.


Light rail trains traveled 3.4 million passenger miles in Fiscal Year 2010. SacRT operates light rail trains seven days a week with 14 trains running at 15-minute intervals during the day, and seven trains running at 30-minute intervals during the evening and early weekend mornings. The end-to-end running time on the light rail Blue Line between Meadowview and Watt/I-80 is 48 minutes. The Runningtime for the Gold Line between Sacramento Valley Station and Folsom is 55 minutes.
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SacRT operates three and four-car trains during the peak periods and two-car trains during the off-peak hours. Single-car trains provide late evening and Sunday service. The light rail dispatch center is staffed 24 hours a day, with two controllers on duty during weekday peak hours. Approximately 208 SacRT employees support light rail operations.

 Track and Structures

The light rail system includes 28.92 miles of double-track and 8.5 miles of single-track. Most ties are wood, although concrete ties have been used on all track laid since 1994. There are 55 mainline switches; 26 are spring operated, 29 are power operated and three are manually operated. All 34 yard switches are operated manually.


The overhead contact system (OCS) uses a blend of trolley wire and catenary. Trolley wire, found downtown, is a single electrical contact wire used by both light rail and historic streetcars. Catenary, a more complex OCS that maintains the wire tension necessary for high speeds, is not currently compatible with the historic streetcars.

The light rail system includes 34 electrical substations that provide power to the trains. "Load sharing" between substations exists so that if a substation shuts down, those on either side continue to feed electricity to that section. When a fault occurs, a blue flashing light is activated and the control center is notified. In an emergency, the fire department can cut power to the entire downtown by using any one of 13 control boxes located throughout the area.


Most private right-of-way, including all single-track sections, includes three-aspect (red, yellow, green) automatic block signaling. Light rail operators use "line of sight" when operating on city streets and in low speed double track sections. Most grade crossings are protected by standard railroad crossing gates. Most signal and grade crossing cases display blue flashing lights if they lose power, although backup battery power ensures they will continue to function. Train-to-Wayside Communication (TWC) is used to route trains to their ultimate destination at the 18th Street, Meadowview, Sunrise, Hazel and Folsom interlockings.


There are 48 passenger-boarding stations in the system. All stations, except the 12th & I inbound station, have Senior/Disabled platforms accessed by ramps or lifts. 36 stations offer bus transfer services and 12 stations have free park-and-ride lots with 7,482 parking spaces. Each station is equipped with at least one fare vending machine. All stations have telephones and most have lighted shelters.

 Light Rail Facilities

SacRT's light rail facilities occupy a 12-acre site at 2700 Academy Way. They include administrative offices, two facilities for servicing of up to 97 light rail vehicles, two substations and parking.


SacRT uses a proof-of-payment fare structure throughout the system, and Transit Officers conduct random train and station checks to verify fare payment. Passengers found without proof of fare payment are issued a citation, which carries a fine between $56 and $250.

 Police Services

SacRT's Police Services includes full-time contracted Sacramento police officers and county sheriff's deputies, and SacRT Transit Officers. SacRT also contracts with a private security firm to monitor activities at light rail park-and-ride stations and on trains operating at night.

 Vehicle Information
Light Rail Vehicles Siemens Transportation Systems Construcciones y Auxiliar de Ferrocarriles (CAF)
Model Single-articulated, Bi-directional Single-articulated, Bi-directional
Configuration High Floor High Floor
Doors Bifold Sliding
Number in fleet 36 40
Length 79'6" 84'
Width 8'9" 8'9"
Height over roof equipment 12'5" 12'5"
Passenger Load 64 seated, 80 standing: 144 total 64 seated, 177 standing: 241 total
Empty Weight 38.9 tons 47 tons
Braking system Dynamic/Friction/Magnetic Track Dynamic/ Friction/ Magnetic Track/Regenerative
Friction Braking system Single electronic controller Independent, for each truck, microprocessor controlled with active center truck braking
Maximum speed 55 mph 55 mph
Maximum acceleration 2.5 mph per second 3.0 mph per second
Maximum deceleration 3.0 mph per second 3.0 mph per second
Emergency deceleration 6.0 mph per second 6.0 mph per second
Delivered 1987/1991 2002-2003
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