Minutes from November 15, 2016 Open Board Meeting-Rail to Redlands Update

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Open Board of Directors Meeting

 San Bernardino Community College District
114 S. Del Rosa Drive
San Bernardino, CA 92408



Present: Deborah Barmack, Carole Beswick, Tom Brickley, Ken Coate, Ashley Gaines, Louis Goodwin, Bill Lemann, Temetry Lindsey, Mark Kaenel, John Mirau, Cid Pinedo, John Prentice, Brian Reider, Michael Rivera, Kristine Scott, Paul Shimoff and Steve von Rajcs. 

Announcements: 1) The group was saddened to learn that Jack Brown, Executive Chairman, Stater Brothers Market, died Sunday, November 13, 2016. 2) Members were reminded that the SCAQMD will hold public hearings on their proposed 2016 Air Quality Management Plan.  Hearings in our area will be held on November 17, 2016 at 9:00 a.m., Norton Events Center, 1601 E. 3rd St., San Bernardino and November 17, 2016 at 2:00 p.m., Hyatt Place Riverside Downtown, 3500 Market St., Riverside.  Members were asked to attend if possible.

M/S/P: Minutes from November 8, 2016.

John Prentice introduced Justin Fornelli, Chief of Transit & Rail Programs and Carrie Schindler, Dir. of Transit & Rail Programs-San Bernardino Associated Governments (SANBAG).

SANBAG has made significant progress this year in preparing for construction of the Redlands Passenger Rail Project which is scheduled to be operational by mid-2020. This rail project will include 26 grade crossings, 4 bridge replacements and 9 miles of rail replacement.  The following is the project timeline:

  • March 2015- Environmental clearance
  • October 2015-Start Final Design
  • October 2016-Vehicle procurement
  • Early 2017-Utility relocation
  • Mid 2017-Mainline construction
  • Mid 2020-Start operations

The rail route will run from the San Bernardino Transit Center on E Street to, the New York Street Station (by ESRI), to downtown Redlands (adjacent to the old train depot), ending at the University of Redlands. The design of the stations will reflect the neighboring area.  The station at ESRI will blend nicely with the surrounding ESRI campus and the downtown station will use a craftsman style building reflecting the historic nature of the city.  The station at the University of Redlands will directly tie into the architecture of the university and provide an impressive entry to the campus.  All stations will have security cameras, and they are pursuing a contract with the Sheriff’s Department for station security.

The equipment used will be a diesel multiple unit (DMU) train. These trains have the power unit in the center of the train and have the look and feel of a light rail vehicle but are crash compliant and have the ability to run on the rail lines with heavier passenger and cargos trains. They are cleaner, quieter, more efficient and cheaper to operate than heavier diesel units.  Much like light rail vehicles DMU trains are able to stop and start quickly which is important for commuter trains.  The DMU trains will be equipped with positive train control (PTC), and the power unit can be swapped out in the future with battery or other power sources as technology progresses.

The capacity of the train is 150-160 people, and projection for ridership is 2,000 boarding’s per day. The expected schedule would run every 30 minutes in the heavy morning and evening commute times and run every hour during the rest of the day.   Traffic stops at the grade crossings are expected to take one minute per train.  Federal safety rules require train operators to blow the horn about a quarter-mile before entering a crossing. In order to mitigate the effects of train horn noise, “Quiet Zones” will be established for the Redlands Rail.  In a quiet zone, railroads have been directed to cease the routine sounding of horns when approaching the road-rail grade crossings. Train horns may still be used in emergency situations or to comply with other Federal regulations.  It has been decades since rail tracks were used in this area.  Consequently, public education will play a strong role as pedestrians and drivers will need to be reminded and aware of the train.

The project cost of $285.5M is funded in part by Measure I (the half-cent sales tax collected in the county for transportation improvements), a recent federal TIGER grant of $8.7M, and $9.2M from State cap and trade program.

A Q & A period followed.

Meeting was adjourned at 8:30 a.m.