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Placer on track for share of fed rail funds, new passenger train car

By: Gus Thomson, Journal Staff Writer
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Placer County’s intercity passenger rail link with Sacramento is tapping into a U.S. Department of Transportation funding boost. The department announced this past week its commitment to award $336.2 million for state-of-the-art, American-made passenger rail cars to run on intercity passenger train routes in five states. Part of the funding is going to Caltrans’ Division of Rail to buy 15 bi-level train cars and four cleaner-running locomotives. Capitol Corridor Joint Powers Authority, which runs one train daily to and from Auburn, will be ordering 10 passenger cars as part of the funding and one of the cars will be added to the Auburn-Sacramento route, Managing Director David Kutrowsky.said. That should help ease demand when the first delivery takes place in 2015, Kutrowsky said. The Auburn-to-Sacramento train now has a five-car set, with a food service car, three coaches and a cab car. The addition will boost the number of cars taking off in the morning from Auburn and returning in the evening from Sacramento to six, Kutrowsky said. As well as providing each of the Capitol Corridor’s eight routes with one more car each, funding will also add two spare cars to the service to provide spares during maintenance or repair time. Bob Franklin, Capitol Corridor chairman, said the authority is grateful to the Obama administration for its support of the national intercity rail system. In all, nearly three-quarters of a billion dollars has been secured for passenger rail with the commitment to the new train-car manufacturing inititiative. “The additional American-made rail cars will help to create much-needed jobs, accommodate our growing ridership and increase revenue and service efficiency,” Franklin said.