Planners with the California High-Speed Rail Authority have updated the proposed route that a bullet train would take through several Eastside neighborhoods, dropping the idea of a costly tunnel under Elysian Park and Elysian Valley and also eliminating an elevated track through Lincoln Heights. Some of the changes would save money but could also increase noise.
Under the most current concepts, the high-speed trains would slow down to travel alongside or on existing tracks and railroad corridors that currently cut through Atwater Village, Glassell Park and Lincoln Heights, according to updated documents presented to the authority’s board on Wednesday (see the map below for changes).
The trains, which will be able to speed along at more than 200 miles-per-hour between Southern and Northern California, were never expected to run that quickly in urban areas, so sharing tracks and right-of-way with Metrolink and other trains “does not make that much difference,” said authority spokeswoman Adeline Yee.
The tunnel would have reduced the visual impact and noise generated by trains traveling on the surface. But the plans were dropped in part because the estimated costs ranged from between $200 million to $260 million a mile, which would make the tunnel about four times more expensive than a surface route, according to authority documents. However, running the additional trains on the surface “could potentially” create more rail noise in the area, according an authority analysis.
Meanwhile, the need to build elevated tracks above Chinatown and Lincoln Heights were eliminated after other changes were made to the platforms where high-speed trains would arrive and depart from Union Station.
The alignment of the high-speed rail route could still change but the goal is to make a final selection by next year before environmental documents are submitted for public comment and review. Yee said.
Plans to build the high speed rail network have continued despite rising cost projects and opposition from some residents along the proposed route.
The Union Station-to-Burbank section of the line not expected to open until 2029.
- Burbank-to-Los Angeles Project Section. CHSRA
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