San Diego NCTD Sprinter DMU (Photo Siemens Mobility)

USA: The federal Department of Transportation has awarded California’s North County Transit District a $10·2m grant to complete preliminary engineering and environmental clearance for the San Marcos to Escondido eastern segment of the Sprinter Corridor Service Improvement Project.

The overall project involves 15 km of double-tracking on the 35 km Oceaside to Escondido line, which NCTD’s Sprinter passenger service operates using Siemens Desiro diesel multiple-units. The route is shared with BNSF freight trains. Double tracking will enable passenger trains to run every 15 min instead of every 30 min, while also supporting an increase in freight traffic.

The Federal Transit Administration has also awarded funding for signalling modernisation on the route.

‘This project will increase the convenience of taking transit in North County, improving access to major regional employment centres, educational institutions, health care providers, and other essential destinations’, said NCTD Board Chair Jewel Edson on June 26. ‘Getting more people out of their cars and on to transit will improve air quality and reduce congestion on adjacent roadways.’