SAN CARLOS (KCBS) – A new Caltrain study has found that high speed rail trains may be able to use the existing Caltrain tracks to move up and down the Peninsula.

The study found that the joint-use system would be possible if Caltrain were to get some major upgrades. It calls for the electrification of all trains, upgraded signals and the installation of passing tracks.

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KCBS’ Matt Bigler Reports:

Palo Alto State Senator Joe Simitian said this idea of a blended system is moving the project towards the right track.

“Let’s scale the project back to something that is more affordable and frankly, more practical in terms of building community acceptance up and down the corridor,” he said.

California High Speed Rail Authority spokesperson Rachel Wall said she is optimistic about the “blended” track system.

“It’s important that we have studies like this to give us an initial look at what may be feasible as a gradual introduction of high speed rail (takes place),” she said.

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KCBS and Chronicle Insider Phil Matier said the new attitude is a change for high speed rail officials.

“Initially, the high speed rail folks weren’t real keen on the idea of sharing tracks with Caltrain. They wanted their own line that was going to be able to accommodate up to 10 trains an hour,” he said.

KCBS and Chronicle Insider Phil Matier:

One of the downsides of the blended approach is that fewer bullet trains per hour will be able to run between San Jose and San Francisco.

You can hear Phil Matier’s comments Monday through Friday at 7:50am and 5:50pm on KCBS All News 740AM and 106.9FM.

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