Second Transbay Rail Crossing

The Northern California megaregion, consisting of the 21 counties between Monterey, San Francisco, Sacramento and the northern San Joaquin Valley, is the 16th largest economy in the world.  A key transportation link which connects the megaregion together is the transbay corridor which connects Oakland and San Francisco via the Bay Bridge, BART, and ferries. BART and its transit and planning partners are studying future rail investments needed to improve connectivity in the Bay Area’s core and simultaneously delivering much-needed improvements in connectivity around Northern California.

On November 2018, BART and Capitol Corridor staff presented to the BART Board of Directors and the Capitol Corridor Joint Powers Authority an overview of the New Transbay Rail Crossing program, envisioning it as a new San Francisco Bay crossing served by BART and/or conventional rail at a central bay location.

The Bay Area and much of the Central Valley increasingly operate as an inter-connected megaregion, with commerce and commutes crossing county boundaries. With a vibrant economy and a rapidly growing population in the Bay Area, the Transbay Tube is already feeling the constraints balancing high demand with its currently limited capacity. Current regional rail operators (Caltrain, Capitol Corridor, and ACE) serve particular travel markets in the megaregion but do not directly serve key destinations and markets and do not connect well to other transit systems. 

The Second Transbay Rail Crossing opens an opportunity for BART and for its transit partners to consider the possibility of sharing a Transbay Rail Crossing. BART tracks are a wider gauge than the other rail lines in the Bay Area, so BART trains cannot share tracks with Caltrain, ACE, High Speed Rail, or Capitol Corridor. It may be possible to build a new rail crossing with room for both BART and standard-gauge rail, and this study will consider how that could work.

Transbay Gauge Opportunities
Slide is from the November 2018 presentation to the BART Board of Directors and the Capitol Corridor Joint Powers Authority.

BART alone can reap tremendous benefits from the Second Transbay Rail Crossing. The Second Transbay Rail Crossing will double BART's capacity across the San Francisco Bay, reduce crowding during peak periods, reduce delays by making the system more flexible and boost BART's resiliency in the face of natural disasters and other major disruptions.

Over the coming months, BART and its partners will work to further define and scope this project. If the feasibility analysis points to a new rail crossing as an important component of the megaregion’s future transportation system, the New Transbay Rail Crossing program would evaluate a range of alternatives, advance the most promising ones for environmental review and related conceptual design, identify a preferred alternative for final design, embark on construction and construction management, and complete construction of the Project. 

Transbay Objectives

Whether you’re a policy maker, a resident, a commuter, or an other stakeholder, we will want your input as we begin to conduct our project work. Look for announcements from BART in 2019 for ways to get involved and help us create a connected transit network that supports our thriving megaregion.