Capitol Corridor train station provides another choice for transportation

CAITLYN SAMPLEY / AGGIE

New train stops opened in Fairfield, Vacaville

The Capitol Corridor train stations recently opened up new stops in Fairfield and Vacaville to provide commuters another option for travel.

Meanwhile, the City of Fairfield plans to revamp the area with a new downtown so that people have easier access to the train station. Dave Feinstein, a planning division manager for the City of Fairfield, notes that the station will provide more than just transportation for commuters.

“The train station is the centerpiece for a much larger land plan around the station itself,” Feinstein said. “We have a land plan within half a mile of that station, which will include a new downtown. There is a street that will lead from the town centre area right to the train station about a block away. It’s what we call a ‘transit village’ here in the city of Fairfield.”

The new stops were installed after years of planning.

“The earliest planning that I’ve seen for this station leads to the early 1990s,” Feinstein said. “In 2005, the Capitol Corridor approved a resolution. There were a collection of decisions along the way that lead to the station. It takes a long time for the fundings and to actually build it and working with the Union Pacific Railroad to stay within their right of way and accommodate the platform. It takes a long time, but we’re finally there.”

The train will provide an alternative option for commuters, which could also lessen the congested traffic during rush hours.

“One of the things we work very hard to do is to provide people with choices for how they get places,” Feinstein said. “The problem is so many people try to drive at the same time, which clogs our freeways during the commute hours.”

The stops will allow commuters to travel to neighboring cities like Davis, and the train will also link commuters to other forms of transportation at different stops as well.

“It goes to UC Davis, downtown Sacramento, and you can connect to the bus system,” Feinstein said. “It goes all the way down to the heart of the East Bay and connects to BART in Richmond. It continues all the way down to San Jose so there are a large range of options.”

Michael Hendley, a transportation services manager for Capitol Corridor, considered both the negatives and positives of the new train stations.

“Trains will have more noise, as far as the sounds of horns and safety measures for the crossings,” Hendley said. “[However,] the positives outweigh the negatives because now you’re reducing the amount of cars that are within the city and reducing greenhouse gasses.”

Hendley also noted that students and other people headed for Davis would be able to travel more efficiently.

“The new Fairfield and Vacaville stop will positively impact Davis because there will be less passengers going into Davis to get on the train because some passengers live on the outskirts of Davis, like Dixon, [which is] in between Vacaville and Davis,” Hendley said. “We’re going to see those passengers boarding from Fairfield and Vacaville and bringing out traffic from Davis.”

People moving away from the Bay Area will also be looking at transportation services provided, so the new stations could allow more options for those new to the area.

“As the real estate market increases in the Bay Area, people moving out will look for housing and choose to commute, and they’ll be on the freeway,” Hendley said. “So, to get them off the freeways, I think the stations that we have like Fairfield and Vacaville will give them the opportunity for convenience. The trains have Wi-Fi, so people can start their workday on the train, so that helps them out.”

Priscilla Kalugdan, a marketing communications officer for Capitol Corridor, explained that adding the new stops would not impact travel times for the other stations.

“The new stop has been planned for within our new schedule,” Kalugdan said. “We’ve reduced the station dwell times from two minutes to one minute at four of our stations, and that’s part of an overall project that we’re embarking upon. Dwell times is how long a train will stop to board passengers.”

Kalugdan pointed out that people are still searching for new ways to travel or commute, and that Capitol Corridor could potentially provide more choices for those who seek ways to avoid traffic.

“Our riders continue to grow each year, and people are searching for options away from the congested freeways,” Kalugdan said. “We certainly welcome more riders on board and are happy to offer any convenient mode of travel for them.”

 

Written by: Stella Tran — city@theaggie.org

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