Is there a UP/HSR rail war?

Anthony Pignataro:

A huge assumption on the part of the California High-Speed Rail Authority is that they’ll be able to run bullet trains alongside Union Pacific’s freight train tracks as the system winds its way through Central California. The Authority has long said that they “will not share” the tracks used by UP, but they do want to use the same corridors as the big freight trains. But now, according to today’s Wall Street Journal, even this may be a non-starter to UP.

“(A) Sept. 2 report by the authority said Union Pacific, the largest U.S. railroad, insisted in letters to the authority that ‘no part of the high-speed corridor’ be located on the railroad’s right-of-way or near it,” the Journal reported. “The railroad said it would fight any attempts to take its land — or that of its customers — by eminent domain, according to the authority.”

Union Pacific told the paper that they are “committed” to working this out, but Authority spokesperson Rachel Wall seemed a tad pessimistic, telling the Journal that if they UP doesn’t give in then the authority would have to exercise even more of its eminent domain muscles (check out this previous CalWatchdog story on the HSR Authority’s eminent domain issues).

Given this fight, is it any wonder that last night the Palo Alto City Council voted unanimously to sue the rail authority in hopes of stopping the bullet trains from slashing through their city?

Posted Sept. 21, 2010

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