ANGELES COUNTY, CALIF. –Operations
on the Alameda Corridor freight rail expressway began Monday, speeding cargo to
and from the nation's two busiest ports and the transcontinental rail yards
while easing traffic congestion.
Between 12:01 a.m. and 9 a.m. Monday, 10 freight trains
made the trip on the 20-mile Alameda Corridor between the ports of Los Angeles
and Long Beach and the rail yards operated by Union Pacific Railroad and
Burlington Northern and Santa Fe Railway near downtown Los Angeles.
Additional trips were scheduled for the remainder of Monday.
The trains made the journey in approximately 45 minutes, in some cases
shaving more than two hours off typical travel times on the branch rail lines
serving the ports. By mid-May, all
train movements – approximately 35
per day – are scheduled to be
switched over to the Alameda Corridor from the branch rail lines.
During an April 12 grand opening, U.S. Transportation
Secretary Norman Y. Mineta and California Governor Gray Davis hailed the Alameda
Corridor as a critical transportation project that provides millions of dollars
in economic benefits, eases traffic congestion by eliminating at-grade rail
crossings and provides a model for other large public works projects across the
country. The $2.4 billion project
opened on time and on budget.
The Alameda Corridor was built by the Alameda Corridor
Transportation Authority (ACTA), a joint powers authority formed by the cities
of Los Angeles and Long Beach, and governed by the cities together with the Port
of Los Angeles, Port of Long Beach and the Los Angeles County Metropolitan
Transportation Authority. The
Alameda Corridor is operated by the ports in partnership with the two railroads.
The Alameda Corridor is a series of bridges, underpasses,
overpasses and street improvements that separate freight rail, passenger rail
and street traffic. By consolidating branch rail lines into a single expressway,
the Alameda Corridor eliminates more than 200 at-grade crossings where rail and
street traffic conflict, thereby easing traffic congestion and significantly
reducing air and noise pollution from idling trains, trucks and cars.
The centerpiece is the Mid-Corridor Trench, a below-ground trainway
running parallel to Alameda Street for 10 miles.
adjacent ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach are the two busiest seaports in the
nation, handling more than $200 billion in cargo in 2001.
Approximately half of the cargo –
including everyday consumer products such as electronics, apparel and shoes –
is transported by train outside of Southern California to destinations across
the country. The volume of cargo
containers handled by the ports doubled in the 1990s to approximately 8 million
units. Those volumes continue to
increase, and the ports project more than 24 million units by 2020.
PHIL HAMPTON, Alameda Corridor Transportation
Authority, (562) 435-5551