More passenger trains coming to Roseville in 2019

State invests $8.4 million to add new Capitol Corridor trains
By: Matt Kramer, Staff Writer
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Two new rail lines coming to Roseville in 2019 will mean easier commutes, better connections to the Bay Area and a greener local traveling footprint, according to Placer County and Roseville city officials.

The state of California recently approved approximately $8.4 million in funding through the cap-and-trade program to open the new morning and evening trains, bringing the total Capitol Corridor rail lines in Roseville up to three. Passengers will be able to board at the 201 Pacific Street station in Roseville.

This move was a response to growing transportation demand and will greatly benefit long-distance commuters from Roseville, according to Executive Director of the Placer County Transportation Planning Agency (PCTPA) Celia McAdam.

“There’s a huge demand,” McAdam explained. “We have been struggling with only one round trip a day on the Capitol Corridor service since it opened back in the early 90s. We have some of the highest ridership per train. We’ve been working on trying to get more round trips for 25 years; this is our first success.”

The Capitol Corridor, a joint powers authority spanning nine counties which owns the trains, contracts with other locally active railroad organizations such as Union Pacific, which owns the actual tracks, and Amtrak to help staff and coordinate rail service. While this makes for a powerful working infrastructure, it also means many pieces had to fall into place in order for the new rail lines to be approved, drawing out the process, according to McAdam.

“Our challenge is that Union Pacific owns the tracks,” McAdam said. “You can’t do eminent domain; you have to work with Union Pacific to get the access. Union Pacific gets their money in freight, not in passenger rail, so it’s been negotiations one-step forward, two-steps back. We’ve finally come up with a project that Union Pacific is interested in; it benefits their freight as well as passenger service, so it’s a win-win.”

The new rail lines are funded with state money as part of a broader project connecting California’s rail networks to the state’s High-Speed Rail, currently under construction.

McAdam estimated that the new rail lines have capacity to carry between 300 and 400 passengers, numbers she said will likely grow to an eventual 10 round trips running through Roseville on a daily basis, though this is unlikely to happen soon. 

The rail line approval was well received by the city of Roseville.

“It’s going to be a really big benefit,” said Roseville’s Acting Alternative Transportation Manager Mike Dour. “It goes along well with some of the other transportation modes the city provides right now, such as our commuter bus. We have 10 buses per day that commute down to the Sacramento region.”

According to Public Works Director Rhon Herndon, the new rail lines will benefit not only Roseville’s local Sacramento commuters, but also those who work in and regularly travel to the Bay Area.

“I think sometimes we have a tendency to focus on the commute between Roseville and Sacramento,” Herndon said. “I believe that there are some residents in South Placer including Roseville that commute to the Bay Area. This will also increase convenience for them.”

McAdam said that passengers would likely include UC Davis and UC Berkeley students, recreation seekers and working commuters. Further announcements, including the schedule for the trains, will be released by the PCTPA as Union Pacific begins actual construction on the tracks, construction of a layover facility and station improvements in the coming months.

“It’s a long time coming,” McAdam said. “We’re really excited that this has come together.”