RailPAC Alert: Capitol Corridor responds to highway collapse

from Executive Director Richard Silver

This Update is from Capitol Corridor Director Gene Skoropowski via our friends from the Capitol Corridor Riders Groups. Please spread the word. I have added my own notes below about extra ferry service, and BART service.

Gene reports: Just in case you missed it, a gasoline tanker truck lost control, crashed into an abutment on the connector ramp from I-80 to I-580 just south of Emeryville at about 3.45 am Sunday. The ensuing fire from the 8600 gallons of unleaded gasoline being hauled was so hot that the steel reinforcing of the overhead roadway connecting I-80 (from the Bay Bridge to I-580 and Route 24) that the structure collapsed, closing two major connector arteries.

The site is only a few hundred feet west of our mainline tracks (Union Pacific’s Martinez subdivision, used by Capitol Corridor and San Joaquin trains, Amtrak’s Coast Starlight, and both UP and BNSF freight trains). After an initial closure for inspection purposes, Union Pacific reopened the line about 5.45 am Sunday, before the scheduled passage of any passenger trains.

There is no damage of disruption to railroad facilities in the area, and all Amtrak trains, including the Capitol Corridor trains and San Joaquin trains are operating normally. As of right now, there are also no delays or disruption to the Amtrak connecting bus service between Emeryville Station and downtown San Francisco, but this could change tomorrow if traffic becomes slowed or stopped worse than on a normal weekday, which is probable. The Amtrak California connecting buses use the carpool lanes to/from the Bay Bridge, and travel north on I-80 a short distance to Emeryville (near Powell Street), and there is no physical disruption to this bus route.

Passengers destined for downtown San Francisco are advised that they may want to consider making their ‘transfer’ to San Francisco at the Richmond BART Station to avoid the possibility of any bus disruption, perhaps for the first day or two until it can be observed how much delay the buses are incurring (if any) to and from San Francisco. The same is true for San Francisco passengers trying to use the Capitol Corridor for travel to Martinez, Davis or Sacramento: it is recommended to take BART to Richmond Station, and make a direct transfer there to the Amtrak trains as this might be your best, again, at least until we see how traffic does and how the connecting buses perform in weekday peak hour traffic.

Capitol Corridor trains are being stocked with additional discounted BART tickets for train passengers ($10 value BART ticket is sold for $8) to try to assist in accommodating passengers on as normal a trip as possible to/from San Francisco. Additionally, Amtrak mechanical personnel will be adding any available coaches to regularly scheduled trains to provide as much added capacity for people who may decide to use the Capitol Corridor as an alternate means of travel between Sacramento/Davis, Martinez, Richmond/Emeryville/San Francisco/Oakland, and Fremont/Santa Clara and San Jose. Unfortunately, almost every available coach is already assigned to regular trains, so this capacity increase will be limited.

Getting this word out to the media, information folks and passengers will help folks recognize that the Capitol Corridor and all Amtrak service is operating normally, including service to/from Oakland Coliseum Amtrak Station.

Gene Skoropowski

Comments from Ric Silver at RailPAC: As aways Gene and his staff are on top of the problem. For those of you that might be interested we have tried to contact both Vallejo and Oakland/Alameda ferries to see if they are adding service etc. No answer at either. So much for their public service.

As for BART we have been informed that additional trains and adding cars.

Hope this helps.

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