Rail project open house set

November 24, 2016

The California High-Speed Rail Authority will host an open house on Dec. 8 to share information about a planned wye and an alternative rail route proposed along State Route 152 and Road 11 in Chowchilla.


The Central Valley Wye will be a junction of tracks south of Chowchilla for the high-speed rail system. The intersection of tracks would tie San Jose, Fresno and Merced together, and enable high-speed rail travel to San Francisco, Sacramento and Los Angeles. 


As with meetings nearly two years ago, community members will be able to offer questions and input about the track alternatives that will be studied as part of a supplemental Environmental Impact report and statement on the Merced to Fresno segment, according to the rail authority.


The meeting will be 5-7 p.m. in the Little Theater of the Madera County-Chowchilla Fairgrounds, 1000 S. Third St. in Chowchilla. It will include a brief presentation at 6 p.m. Spanish interpreters will be available. Translators for other languages can be requested 72 hours in advance by calling (800) 881-5799.


Madera, Fresno and Kern counties are competing to be the site of a Heavy Maintenance Facility for the high-speed rail project that is planned somewhere near the wye. Coalitions seeking a local facility include Wye Madera County (www.wyemaderacounty.com) and Fresno Works (www.fresnoworks.org). 


The facility would employ mechanical technicians, electrical technicians, supervisors, laborers, cleaners and storehouse staff, according to a rail business plan on May 1. It would support “train arrival, assembly, testing and commissioning,” according to a supplemental report, as well as be “the state’s system-wide heavy maintenance workshop.”


In April 2013, the authority had predicted it would select a site sometime this year for the facility, but a more recent estimate said a decision will be made between now and April 2017.


The Heavy Maintenance Facility, an Operations Control Center, train stations and crews, and a Maintenance of Infrastructure Facility would bring an estimated 1,000 to 1,200 permanent jobs to the Central Valley, according the rail authority.


Rail construction is expected to near completion by 2020, the rail business plan said. By 2025, riders should be traveling between the San Francisco Bay area and the Los Angeles basin through the Valley tracks.


For information or assistance, contact the rail authority, 274-8975 or centralvalley.wye@hsr.ca.gov.

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