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RailPAC submits Public Comment Letter on Serra Siding Extension Project in Orange County

Click here for more information about the Serra Siding Extension Project in Dana Point, currently under environmental review by the Orange County Transportation Authority.

To: Chris Haskell

SCORE Deputy Program Manager

900 Wilshire Boulevard, Suite 1500

Los Angeles, CA 90017

Email: SerraSiding@octa.net

CC: Donna DeMartino, LOSSAN Rail Corridor Agency Managing Director

April 11, 2021

Subject: Public Comment Letter on Serra Siding Extension Project

Dear Mr. Haskell,

The Rail Passenger Association of California and Nevada (RailPAC) is a two-state organization with membership throughout California and Nevada. RailPAC is a strong advocate for an expanded comprehensive public transportation network serving the entire state of California as well as Nevada. RailPAC is an all-volunteer non-profit passenger rail advocacy group, founded in 1978.

RailPAC fully supports the Serra Siding Extension Project. This 1.2-mile siding extension alongside the LOSSAN mainline track in Dana Point frees up a bottleneck at this key location between Los Angeles and San Diego, the second-busiest intercity passenger rail corridor in the United States.  Upon completion, the project will benefit thousands of rail passengers each day on the Metrolink Inland Empire-Orange County and Orange County lines as well as the Amtrak Pacific Surfliner.

The siding will enable a safer, more reliable and more frequent passenger train service, improving on-time performance.  This siding will also reduce the risk of train delays and operational shutdowns during routine maintenance and incidents on the current single track.  The new siding will be on the inland side of the existing main track, thus providing a second barrier to better protect the route and Coast Highway from coastal erosion and storm surge flooding. 

The increase to train capacity resulting from this siding will result in more riders, improved schedule flexibility, which in turn will make it more convenient for riders. This capacity is needed as Metrolink and Amtrak Surfliner reimagine their schedules as LOSSAN ridership rebounds after the pandemic.  Looking forward, the combination of a strong growth in leisure travel, a rebound in business travel and the travel demands of the hybrid office will result in continuing ridership growth and the need for more operational flexibility.

Sincerely,

Brian Yanity

Vice President- South and Board Member,

Rail Passenger Association of California and Nevada (RailPAC)

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Steel Wheels, 3rd quarter 2020 available online

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In this issue:

  • RailPAC and Steel Wheels Coalition to Amtrak: “Daily is Minimum Acceptable Standard for Long Distance Trains”, and Amtrak’s reply, with Russ Jackson’s reply to Amtrak, Paul Dyson response.
  • High Speed Rail update
  • Tri Weekly and the Heartland Flyer
  • Orange County developments
  • Arizona news
  • and more!