” it would be “terrible” if there were a dozen trains running through Tracy every day.”

Union Pacific could derail Tracy plan
By Mike Martinez and Paul Burgarino
Tri-Valley Herald
Article Last Updated: 08/10/2008 08:10:17 AM PDT

TRACY — It’s been a longtime goal of many to bring trains to downtown Tracy.

It’s a campaign issue for some seeking a seat on the City Council, and the city is building a $12 million multimodal station with designs on moving the Altamont Commuter Express from Linne Road to the Bowtie area.

But recently a kink in the line has been found.

The Union Pacific Railway has quietly been developing plans to resurrect the mostly dormant Mococo line, which runs from Martinez to Tracy, with an estimated average of 10 to 15 freight trains a day, to their final destination in Roseville.

During slow economic periods, as few as three trains a day would use the line. But in better times, UP officials estimate running as many as 40.

Union Pacific decided to reactivate the line to transport consumer freight because goods manufacturers have been utilizing railroads as a cheaper means of transporting goods given rising fuel prices. Also other, more convenient, lines for transporting freight are locked in to carrying trains for commuter use, said Zoe Richmond, a Union Pacific spokeswoman.

In Tracy, the 2-mile long trains would render the multimodal station virtually useless for passenger trains before it is even completed, clog traffic on major thoroughfares already overburdened with cars, and create a potential disaster for emergency responders, city officials said.

Mayor Brent Ives, who also serves as chairman of the San Joaquin Council of Governments, said he directed city staff to meet with UP in an effort to determine the impacts on the city.

Ives ticked off six major arteries where the trains would potentially snarl traffic — Grant Line Road, Corral Hollow Road, 11th Street, Tracy Boulevard, Central Avenue and MacArthur Drive — where a need for a grade-separation crossing would be created at a cost of about $35 million for each over- or under-crossing.

He said it would be “terrible” if there were a dozen trains running through Tracy every day.

“We’ve laid out for them the clear impacts of going through Tracy on the Mococo line again,” Ives said. “They’ve been understanding and listened, but they say if they have to do it, they’ll do it.”

“UP doesn’t care who they impact,” Ives said. “it’s their line. The Bowtie and the tracks belong to them. People will tell you we’ve got to do something about it, and I’ve talked to a number of people about it, including Congressman Jerry McNerney.

“We haven’t heard (what UP is going to do), and they’re not obligated to tell us.”
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