USA: San José light rail operator VTA has started work on a southern extension of its Orange Line from Alum Rock to Eastridge.

Celebrations were held at the Eastridge Transit Center on June 8 to mark the start of construction on the 3·9 km extension, which is expected to take around four years to build. The line has been dubbed the ‘Eastridge to BART Regional Connector’, as passengers from Eastridge will be able to interchange to the heavy metro Green Line at Milpitas Transit Center, north of Alum Rock.

The extension will mostly run on an elevated alignment in the median of the East Capitol Expressway. There will be an intermediate station at Story Road, accessed via a footbridge over the road, and a street level terminus at the Eastridge Transit Center. Revenue services are scheduled to begin in 2028.


Guests at the groundbreaking event included local decision-makers who had supported the project and lobbied for funding, including Senator Dave Cortese, VTA Board Chair Cindy Chavez, Mayor Matt Mahan and Vice Mayor Sergio Lopez. Describing the event as a milestone moment, Chavez said it had ‘taken 20 years of relentless work by community activists and local and state leaders’ to get the project under way. She believed that the regional connector would be ‘a lifeline to work, school, shopping and much more’.

The light rail extension forms the final phase of the city’s decade-long Capitol Expressway Transit Improvement Project, which is intended to transform the highway into a multimodal corridor supporting bus rapid transit and improved pedestrian access as well as rail. Earlier phases included the reconstruction of the Eastridge Transit Center, completed in 2015.