The Pacific Surfliner that runs through San Luis Obispo County will be using nine new two-level coaches, thanks to a grant from the federal Railroad Administration, although passengers will not be able to use them anytime soon.
The San Joaquin Valley also is receiving federal largesse on its rail corridor, as part of $100 million given to buy new equipment on Amtrak California trains that service the two rail lines.
In both cases the grants acknowledge an increase in ridership, according to Cindy McKim of Caltrans.
“California has seen a 60 percent increase in ridership in the last decade on the San Joaquin and Pacific Surfliner corridors,” she said.
The Pacific Surfliner uses 68 cars daily, according to Debbie L. Mullins of Caltrans. She said the Pacific Surfliner route carried more than 2.6 million passengers in 2010.
The bi-level cars will replace nine single-level cars, according to Mullins.
However, Mullins said, the cars won’t be in use until 2017. Matt Rocco of Caltrans says it takes that long for the proposal to wend its way through the various governmental processes required.
Nationally, a record 28.7 million passengers traveled on Amtrak in fiscal year 2010. Amtrak’s 300 daily trains connect 46 states, the District of Columbia, and three Canadian provinces.