Re: The proposed high-speed passenger train service between Fresno and Merced: First I want to say that it’s an excellent idea whose time has come, and I support it 200 percent.
As I see it, the main objections are that the presently approved plan involves (1) using “eminent domain” tactics to purchase land from farmers, some of whom don’t want to sell; and (2) building new tracks on this newly purchased land.
I suggest an alternative plan which doesn’t involve (1) or (2) above. Instead it involves improving both of the existing railroad lines between Fresno and Merced, i.e. the Union Pacific and BNSF lines which presently carry freight.
I presume that it would be easy to shift all of the freight trains to one or the other of these two existing lines. As is in fact already the case (for many years) on the track which goes through Tehachapi. BNSF and Union Pacific freight trains have no problem sharing this stretch of railroad line, which is a double track all the way, one for east bound and one for west bound freight.
Perhaps the proposed high-speed passenger service plan might involve (1) designating one of the two existing lines for freight only, and then improving it so that it will be a double track all the way, and (2) designating the other existing line for high-speed passenger service and then improving it so that it will accommodate the higher speeds at which the trains will move.
I presume that this might involve straightening a few curves but that most of the existing track is already able to do the job.