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Those who rely on the light rail service for travel could soon see reduced travel times and a more comfortable ride as Sacramento Regional Transit has announced many enhancements ahead that will benefit Folsom commuters that use the “Gold Line,” and travel the Highway 50 corridor.
The Light Rail Modernization Project consists of three project components: 15-minute light rail service to Historic Folsom, procurement of 10 light rail vehicles and low-floor station conversion for the Gold Line stations.
According to SacRT officials, the improvements will allow light rail trains to operate every 15 minutes between the Sunrise Station and end of the line at the Historic Folsom Station, rather than the existing 30 minutes.
The 15-minute service is currently impeded because only a single track serves between the Hazel Station and the Historic Folsom Station. As a result, eastbound light rail trains traveling from downtown Sacramento to Historic Folsom and westbound trains traveling from historic Folsom to downtown Sacramento must use the same track.
Installing a second track, or a “passing track,” provides SacRT with the opportunity to modernize its light rail system and increase service and reliability to Folsom. The second track will enable light rail trains to operate eastbound and westbound between the Sunrise and Historic Folsom stations with little or no delay.
In addition, the Glenn/Robert G Holderness and Hazel stations will be reconstructed with lower-floor platforms to accommodate SacRT’s new low-floor vehicle fleet.
SacRT was awarded $150 million in funding to modernize the light rail fleet, including the purchase of 20 new low-floor light rail trains, low-floor stations and double-tracking to Folsom that will provide better accessibility for passengers with disabilities, bicycles and strollers, and help reduce traffic congestion on the busy Highway 50 corridor. In addition, it will save SacRT money in high maintenance and repair costs that are associated with keeping light rail cars in service past their 30-year useful life.
The trains will be made at Siemens’ train manufacturing that is located just south of Sacramento.
“These new light-rail cars from the Siemens plant here in Sacramento are a huge leap forward for regional transit to improve accessibility and comfort for our riders from the disabled community, seniors, bicyclists and families with strollers,” said SacRT Board Chair and Sacramento City Councilman Steve Hansen. “As a growing region, the new, modern, low-floor cars will also help reduce traffic congestion and inspire new riders to get onboard.”
The S700 light-rail trains are the latest generation of light-rail vehicles and feature low-level boarding at every doorway, spacious seating design and larger windows for better light and a better view.
The vehicles feature improved ADA-accessibility with wider aisles to easily traverse into and around the car as well as built-in storage for luggage and bicycles. The electric-powered vehicles are also emissions-free.
This article first appeared on goldcountrymedia.com
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