Tom Matoff of Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit (SMART)
SMART is a 70-mile Marin County/Sonoma County corridor for light rail
DMU units to help relieve the heavily congested Hwy. 101 in that area. In
2008, a 1/4% sales tax was passed by both counties. They are using a
former Northwest Pacific property that they now own. It will run from
Cloverdale to Larkspur Ferry with 14 stations with high platforms. There
will be 36 scheduled trains (18 each way). The unsignalized track was
shut down in 2001 and has not had passenger service since 1958. The
original bridges are old and must be replaced. One instance is
a swing bridge that must be replaced by a wide-channel lift bridge so the
Coast Guard can service the area upstream. The plan is for single track
with passing sidings. There will be 5 to 6,000 boardings a day on seven
2-car DMU trains with two spare 2-car trains for a total of 18 cars, expandable
to 3-car trains. The trains will be FRA compliant because of daytime freight
operations on the same line. Six proposals for the new DMU trains have
been received: 1 Spanish; 1 Japanese; 2 Siemens; 1 Swiss; 1 USRail.
Decision will be made Dec. 15 on the builder. Sumitomo's proposal
is 20% below the estimated cost of $3 million per car. Proposals
call for 60% American content and assembled in US. There will be gauntlet
tracks for freights to pass the level platforms for passengers. Service
set to start 2014.
Mr. Matoff gave an excellent, clear, concise report to the TRAC attendees.
Their website is: http://www.sonomamarintrain.org/