Trains thru area could eas­ily dou­ble

Manteca Bulletin - - Front Page - By DEN­NIS WY­ATT

What’s com­ing down the tracks in the Manteca-Ripon-Lathrop area is ad­dressed broadly in the Cal­trans vi­sion for Cal­i­for­nia’s rail plan for the next 20 years.

The pub­lic draft re­leased this week notes:

▶in­te­grated rail ser­vice between Merced and Stock­ton will have op­er­at­ing speeds up to 125 miles per hour.

▶Altamont Cor­ri­dor Ex­press trains pass­ing through Manteca, Ripon and Lathrop that will all have sta­tion stops will con­nect with high

speed rail in Merced.

▶in­ter­modal freight train traf­fic into North­ern Cal­i­for­nia will in­crease from 29.4 mil­lion tons an­nu­ally to 59.3 mil­lion tons by 2040.

▶in­ter­modal freight train traf­fic head­ing out of North­ern Cal­i­for­nia will in­crease from 21.3 mil­lion tons an­nu­ally to 52.9 mil­lion tons by 2040.

While ACE may ul­ti­mately have six pas­sen­ger trains serv­ing the Lathrop to Merced cor­ri­dor on dou­ble tracks, the big­gest im­pact on train traf­fic will be in­ter­modal op­er­a­tions that em­ploy plac­ing truck trail­ers on rail­road cars.

As­sum­ing trains don’t get any longer, both train and truck traf­fic con­nected with in­ter­modal op­er­a­tions at the Union Pa­cific Rail­road in­ter­modal yard nes­tled between Manteca and Lathrop as well as the Santa Fe Rail­road in­ter­modal yard some 10 miles north­east of Manteca will more than dou­ble by 2040 based on as­sump­tions in the draft plan.

The Union Pa­cific in­ter­modal fa­cil­ity that will di­rectly im­pact traf­fic move­ments in Lathrop and Manteca has been ap­proved for ex­pan­sion to al­low it to “lift” — re­move and place truck trail­ers on spe­cially de­signed rail­road flat cars — or some 270,000 con­tain­ers a year. At build-out that num­ber will reach 730,000 lifts. That rep­re­sents al­most tripling the num­ber of trucks en­ter­ing and leav­ing the Roth Road op­er­a­tion.

The UP move is ex­pected to in­crease the de­mand for truck trans­porta­tion in the area plus make the im­me­di­ate com­mu­nity — Manteca and Lathrop par­tic­u­larly — even more at­trac­tive to firms that are do­ing more and more cross-coun­try ship­ping by rail.

The av­er­age daily truck trips to and from the UP fa­cil­ity would go from 954 to­day to 2,186 at com­plete build­out. It would mean the av­er­age num­ber of trucks per hour leav­ing or de­part­ing the in­ter­modal fa­cil­ity would go from 39.75 ev­ery hour to 91. Week­end traf­fic is 5 to 10 per­cent of work day traf­fic. Mon­day would be the heav­i­est day for truck move­ment at build-out with 2,585 trips com­pared to 1,056 in early 2011.

UP spokes­men have pointed out that the fa­cil­ity ex­pan­sion ul­ti­mately will re­duce truck traf­fic on ma­jor free­ways as one freight train mov­ing trailer con­tain­ers does the work of 280 longdis­tance trucks. That, how­ever, will not be the case on lo­cal roads.

The ad­di­tional freight and pas­sen­ger rail traf­fic im­pacts will be felt by Manteca driv­ers given the city has 10 at­grade cross­ings.

The statewide rail vi­sion can be found at Cal­i­for­ni­aS­tat­eRailPlan.com. The pub­lic com­ment pe­riod runs

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