Under the California High-Speed Rail Authority’s latest plan, some of the longest rail tunnels in North America would be used to bring the state’s high-speed rail tracks from Northern California into the San Fernando Valley in Southern California.

Previous plans to loop the tracks around mountains from Palmdale to Santa Clarita, and then use the existing rail corridor along San Fernando Road to Los Angeles, have been dropped. Instead, engineers propose to bore tunnels under the mountains at the northeast end of the San Fernando Valley, and drill tunnels as long as 14 miles from Acton to the San Fernando Valley. There would also be bridges and an additional 10 miles of shorter tunnels near Palmdale.

According to the California High-Speed Rail Authority, the system will run from San Francisco to the Los Angeles basin in under three hours at speeds capable of over 200 miles per hour. But despite the revised plan and the onset of construction on the first tracks near Fresno, funding remains an issue for most of the $68 billion project — now on track to be completed in 2025.

The new plan also revises the infrastructure that will bring the rail line into Los Angeles — the line would now remain above ground in most of Los Angeles. This plan comes after a set of proposed tunnels near Dodger Stadium were rejected, as they would have cost an estimated $260 million per mile and brought trains out in residential areas. The revised system also drops plans for a viaduct near Chinatown to carry high-speed trains to Union Station. Instead, new flyover overpasses would be built to blend high-speed trains and current Metrolink/Amtrak passenger operations and the combined lines could cross the L.A. River on a new bridge to arrive at Union Station without using elevated track structures.

For the future leg of high-speed rail through Southern California — from Union Station to Anaheim — planners proposed a joint set of Metrolink, Amtrak and high-speed tracks along the current rail alignment, with tunnels in Fullerton. That line would connect the statewide system from Los Angeles to the futuristic new Anaheim Regional Transit Interconnection Center, near Anaheim Stadium. No significant plans have been released yet for the branch of high-speed tracks that will travel east from Los Angeles through the Inland Empire, and south to San Diego.

Source:  Daily News