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interest and efforts in establishing and main-
taining an Amtrak/ACE station at Centerville
in Fremont. (Visit the Centerville Depot website,
http://centervilledepot.railfan.net, for more info.)
Fremont is even planning a new ACE com-
muter rail station near Auto Mall Parkway to
serve the Pacific Commons Technology Business
Park which eventually is expected to create 25,000
jobs. The City of Fremont owns, operates, and
maintains the Fremont-Centerville station and
depot, and has committed substantial local funds
to the station. (Visit http://centervilledepot.railfan.net/
fundingsources.html to find out how the Fremont-
Centerville station was funded.)
Fremont residents would be prime benefi-
ciaries of Dumbarton rail service. Presently,
58% of the westbound AM peak hour traffic on
the Dumbarton highway bridge comes from
north Fremont, Newark, and Union City. If Hay-
ward is added, the total rises to 71%. About 81%
of the westbound traffic is destined for Redwood
City, Menlo Park, Palo Alto, and Los Altos. Faced
with such facts, both the cities of Union City and
Newark, and the business associations in
Centerville and Niles have embraced the
Dumbarton rail proposal. They see that the com-
muter trains would reduce congestion in the
Dumbarton corridor and permit the future ex-
pansion of ACE trains across the Dumbarton rail
bridge to the Peninsula.
Alameda County’s $24 Million Bargain
Right now, Alameda County is being asked to
provide $24 million, an extremely modest cost, to
fund rail capital improvements in the East Bay to
enable Dumbarton service to operate. Efforts are
underway to encourage the Fremont City Council,
which has viewed the proposal with skepticism, to
revise its transportation priorities to include
Dumbarton rail and more ACE service.
See Dumbarton, p. 6
map courtesy of Michael Kiesling
JPB, continued
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from 6am to 10pm each day. If this happens it
will be a huge improvement. But true to form,
the train I took back to work from the JPB meet-
ing (#42) was an unannounced 12 minutes late
at San Carlos and became far later (due to wheel-
chair loadings, which in turn are solely due to
JPB staff’s purchase of disabled rider-hostile
equipment) by the time it got to California Av-
enue, where nobody boarding had heard a peep.
But at least they’re paying lip service to cus-
tomer information, which is worlds ahead of past
outright evasion.
Scanlon said that negotiations are underway
to add MORE TRAIN SERVICE soon, and made
this observation that doing so “is not rocket sci-
ence.” Unfortunately, the emphasis appears to
be on plugging “mid-day gaps”, which is com-
mendable, but ignores the really crying-out
needs: firstly for vastly better early-evening ser-
vice (in both directions, useful service basically
stops after 6pm — banker’s hours), secondly
beefed-up reverse-commute service (how about
a real express, SF 08:55, 22nd, Bayshore, ex-
press to San Mateo, express to RWC, express to
PA, then all stops?), and lastly the atrocious,
terminally embarrassing weekend service. Still,
it’s a start.
Later Michael Burns commended Scanlon on
(finally!) approaching additional service provi-
sion on an incremental cost basis. In the past
SamTrans staff have, as one of their many tactics
to avoid running any actual trains over the last
eight years, insisted on completely renegotiat-
ing the entire Amtrak contract and throwing in
millions of dollars worth of extraneous stuff to
attempt to inflate the apparent cost of just mov-
ing an extra train back and forth.
With respect to a report from MTC represen-
tative Sue Lempert that the California High
Speed Rail Authority is in 16-20 year deep freeze
(thanks, Gray Davis), Scanlon said that staff were
pursuing plans “with the Legislature” to bring
the “northern end” of the proposed system up to
“high speed standards” independently. If so,
this will be a great development, but they’ll
have to undo, at the cost of many tens or hun-
dreds of millions of dollars, years of systematic
right-of-way destruction which SamTrans staff
have inflicted upon the Caltrain right-of-way in
the last five years. (San Bruno Avenue BART
grade separation, Millbrae BART station, San
Mateo parking lot, Belmont-San Carlos grade
separation disaster, Mountain View station rede-
sign disaster, etc.) The idea that somebody who
works for SamTrans would even mention real
upgrades to the Caltrain line is a welcome