SACRAMENTO (CBS SF) – Bullet trains and electrified Caltrain trains would share the existing two-track corridor through Silicon Valley under a proposal considered Thursday by the California High-Speed Authority.

The two-track alternative the authority is expected to adopt would work well in the short term, said former board member Rod Diridon.

“We don’t have the money to build the ultimate system right away anyway. You may as well expand and improve Caltrain and add high speed rail as quickly as you can,” he said.

KCBS’ Matt Bigler Reports:

It would cost just $1.5 billion to electrify the Caltrain tracks to accommodate the faster trains, compared to $6.1 billion to build four tracks.

Ironically, even though the two-track alternative would speed the pace of construction, the actual trains that wind up running on the tracks will travel more slowly.

Diridon said the two-track alternative should be an interim step towards installing four tracks so Caltrain traffic does not interfere with the high speed rail line.

“Eventually you have to have a four-track system between San Jose and San Francisco to allow maximum through put,” he said.

Another benefit of speedier construction is ensuring the high speed rail passes through the Transbay Terminal in San Francisco, Diridon said.

California High-Speed Rail officials said the two-track plan would also allow them to get the bullet trains moving to at least some parts of the state sooner, perhaps by the end of the decade, while they secure money for the $43 billion overall project.

(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services may have contributed to this report.)


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