Last month, California rail officials revealed that the high-speed rail may start service with slower diesel trains. This is in an effort to continue forward with the high-speed rail project and add revenue without adding more increases to the project’s costs. A report released last month also revealed that, by 2028, electric trains capable of 220 mph speeds will be running, and connecting service to Los Angeles and the Bay Area will be provided by existing buses and trains. Passenger trains that now serve the Central Valley could also be shifted there from tracks they share with freight trains if the line is built before the high-speed trains are ready to be used. The report claims that this would help speed up existing service, while also adding additional revenue for the high speed-rail.
The cost for the high-speed rail project remains is about $77 billion, which is unfortunately more than double the original estimate. Costs have increased as a result of overruns, engineering challenges, lawsuits, and additional land acquisition. Another reason for the possibility of starting out with slower diesel trains is that the rail authority expects it will need time to test the new faster trains before utilizing them in 2028. The report reaffirms that the rail authority is commitment to finishing the whole 520 mile project. This is despite the financial uncertainty of how the other lines will be built. A timeline for the other routes has not been provided, but the rail authority claims that preparations for the lines will continue while the Central Valley service is being built.