High-Speed Rail Authority Discusses Routes to Anaheim

Residents got an update on the Los Angeles to Anaheim connection of the High Speed Rail.
Residents got an update on the Los Angeles to Anaheim connection of the High Speed Rail.

California’s High-Speed Rail Authority brought its public forum roadshow to the Anaheim Regional Transportation Intermodal Center (ARTIC) two weeks ago to share proposed project alternatives for the Los Angeles-to-Anaheim route.

The meeting was one of four in the region presenting details about the thirty-mile portion connecting Los Angeles Union Station to ARTIC. Using the existing Los Angeles-San Diego-San Luis Obispo rail corridor, the high-speed rail route would travel through Los Angeles, Vernon, Commerce, Bell, Montebello, Pico Rivera, Norwalk, Santa Fe Springs, La Mirada, Buena Park, Fullerton, and Anaheim.

The meetings were meant to gather input from local communities about preferred alternatives, stations, and updates on grade separations along the route. More than sixty people attended the fourth CAHSRA public meeting on April 6.

The Los Angeles-Anaheim segment is the southernmost part of the first phase of the high-speed rail program, which will connect the San Francisco Bay Area to the Los Angeles Basin. Operations of this route are expected to start in 2029.

Roughly $4 billion is being invested by CAHSRA and its partners, which include Metro and OCTA, to make enhancements and improvements around the high-speed rail stations along the Burbank-Anaheim corridor.

Currently, fifteen roads cross railroad tracks at the same grade, and eleven of those are proposed for grade separation so that high-speed rail can run either above or below the road. Twenty-three of the existing crossings will require changes, which can include electrification and/or modification of the track. Two crossings will remain at grade, and two roads are proposed to be closed at the tracks.

The location of the eleven new proposed grade separations are as follows:

  • Pioneer Blvd.
  • Norwalk Blvd.
  • Los Nietos Rd.
  • Rosecrans Ave./Marquardt Ave. (managed by LA County Metro)
  • Orangethorpe Ave.
  • La Palma Ave.
  • Broadway
  • Vermont Ave.
  • Ball Rd.
  • Cerritos Ave.
  • State College Blvd.

The meetings presented interactive maps and staff answered questions about the proposed route. The community feedback will be incorporated into the draft Environmental Impact Report, which is expected to be published later this year. “The goal was to get as much public feedback [as possible],” said Adeline Yee, CAHSRA spokesperson.

Image: California High Speed Rail Authority
The blue dots show eleven new locations where the roads currently cross train tracks and the Authority proposes to separate the grades. Green represents where the level of the rail will remain the same as today, blue represents where the rail is on a viaduct, structure, or bridge, and purple shows where the route would go underground. Image: California High-Speed Rail Authority

From Burbank to LA and LA to Anaheim, the plan is to use the existing corridor in its current capacity and make modifications as needed, such as increasing expanding stations and adding fencing and sensors to prevent people from walking on tracks, said Michelle Boehm, CAHSRA’s Southern California regional director.

The high-speed rail stations will be located at currently existing train stations — Los Angeles Union Station, Norwalk/Sante Fe Springs, Fullerton, and Anaheim. These stations will add platforms and tracks modified for high-speed rail, improve access for pedestrians and bicyclists, and be accessible from both sides of the rail corridor, said Melissa de la Peña, project manager for both the Burbank-Los Angeles and Los Angeles-Anaheim segments.

“Along with that (we’ve) been finding ways to enhance the safety of the corridor, reducing emissions and congestion through implementing some of those grade separations, eliminating road traffic wait times. And we also wanted to maintain capacity for both passenger and freight service that exist on the corridor today,” Peña added.

Most of the public’s questions at the workshop focused on the operation of the system — e.g. fare structure, construction funding– and changes to the existing route.

A couple of the questions were simple, but pragmatic, while a couple were comical. One questioner asked, “Can you put a penny on the tracks?” — the answer is, to be clear, a definitive no, said Boehm. Another asked if pets could be brought on the train.

“We don’t have a policy for that at this point,” said Boehm.

Forty-nine-year-old Anaheim resident Son Nguyen said that he was excited for the high-speed rail because it would provide an alternative to flying to San Francisco to see his family.

Denise Weyhrich, 60-year-old City of Orange resident, said that she looked forward to the connection HSR would make between Orange County and Los Angeles and the rest of the state. “I’m excited that San Francisco will be united with us.”

Check out the full presentation at the CHSRA website. 

More than 60 people came April 6 at ARTIC to the open house for an update on the Los Angeles-Anaheim portion of the High-Speed Rail. Photo by Kristopher Fortin
More than sixty people came April 6 at ARTIC to the open house for an update on the Los Angeles-Anaheim portion of the High-Speed Rail. Photo by Kristopher Fortin
  • John Q. Smith

    Build it!

  • YohanSF

    It seems odd to leave just 2 at-grade crossings. If you’re fixing 13 of them, why not fix 15 and be done with it?

  • AB3

    Is it safe to say that the improvements will also allow the existing Amtrak and Metrolink trains to run at their top speeds instead of 79 mph with a couple 90 mph stretches?

  • Jake Bloo

    Give control to Disney, let them build and manage it, we’ll all go down to Disneyland and give them all our money…… just build it!

  • Vooch

    Can we get the Swiss to build a long fast tunnel under the grapevine ?

    The Swiss built the 30 mile Gotthard Tunnel for HSR for less than $10 billion.

    On time and under budget

  • Where are they going to get the money to build the system?

    • Edward

      There is presently enough money to build the system from almost Bakersfield to San Francisco. There will be continuing money from cap and trade fees and from the lease of the Bakersfield-San Francisco line to the operator. The State of California does not intend to operate the line but to lease it to an operator. The resulting income stream will pay for extension of the first operating section. And history shows that control of Congress and the presidency changes party regularly. If the Feds can pay for roads they can pay for high speed rail too. Federal gas taxes pay for for less than half of our federal highways. The rest comes from the general fund, the same place where HSR funds will come from.

      • Vooch

        but but but

        muh roads !

        free parking !

    • Affen_Theater

      Are you joking? Isn’t CA like the 7th largest economy in the world (if considered a separate country)? Nearly 2 dozen countries have built (and/or plan to continue building) HSR systems: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_high-speed_railway_lines

    • Jeffrey Baker

      We’re going to sell Baby Boomers into terminal slavery in Indonesia at $10,000 each.

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