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High Speed Rail (HSR) can use existing Union Station tracks and save billions

Union Station is the center of rail transportation in Southern California
Union Station is the center of rail transportation in Southern California
Photo by Richard Bent

As planners finalize stations and routes for high speed rail (HSR), issues around the number of new tracks in Los Angeles and major building renovations of Union Station have stirred community interest. The current high speed rail plan calls for a major expansion of LA Union station to include 8 new tracks which would be built above the existing tracks, costing an estimated billions of dollars and no funding source has yet been identified. Another solution that could use existing property and tracks is being promoted  by Bart Reed, Executive Director of the Transit Coalition, a southern California based transportation watch dog organization.

The community around Union Station is concerned with the problems and disruptions that could come from a major development now being proposed. Community activists have proposed creating a separate platform to the east rather than building upward. This would be a less than ideal situation since Metro subway, Metrolink and busses are already interconnected and serve thousands of riders a day. Mr. Reed stated that there are several tracks at Union Station that are not being used and could easily be upgraded to accommodate HSR, saving billions of dollars. Lets not waste valuable space and funding. The money can be used elsewhere and be put to good use.