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Project Overview

About the Project

Project Study Area

South Bay Connect would relocate Capitol Corridor passenger rail service between the Oakland Coliseum and Newark from the current route on the Union Pacific Railroad (UP) Niles Subdivision line to the UP Coast Subdivision line.

It also proposes to create new transbay connections for Capitol Corridor passengers between the East Bay and the Peninsula, an underserved market for the Capitol Corridor service and which will help link affordable housing to employment centers. Capitol Corridor riders could connect to over 125 weekday local or regional bus and shuttles at the new Ardenwood Station linking Alameda County to San Mateo and western Santa Clara counties on the Peninsula. These bus services include: Dumbarton Express, AC Transit U Line, Stanford shuttles, and numerous employee shuttles. This critical transbay link was identified in the Capitol Corridor Joint Powers Authority Service Optimization work as the largest unrealized connection in the Capitol Corridor system.

While the project is not proposing an increase in Capitol Corridor Service, it allows Capitol Corridor to be ready for growth in the future should that need arise.

The new connections and rail improvements are part of a bold vision for the future rail network highlighted within the 2018 California State Rail Plan which includes improving service and transit connectivity between Oakland and San Jose in the near-term and establishing an East Bay hub station to allow north-south and east-west connections across the Dumbarton corridor in the long-term. The South Bay Connect project is a feasible near-term improvement that will be an initial step in creating an integrated and connected rail transit network.

Red/orange circle Proposed New Station and Potential Station Area
Small gray circle Potential Station Considered and Eliminated
Small light blue circle Existing Station
Small dark blue circle Station where CC Service to be Discontinued
BART logo BART Station
Gray dashed line Railroad
Red/orange line Proposed Capitol Corridor (CC) Service
Dark blue line Existing CC Service
Dashed blue line CC Service to be Discontinued
Dashed black line Study Area
Green highlight area UP Improvement Area

A Challenging Rail Network

Within the East Bay project area, there are three rail lines running north/south (Coast, Niles and Oakland Subdivisions) and two running east/west (Oakland Subdivision through Niles Canyon and Centerville Line through Fremont). The rail lines, owned by Union Pacific Railroad (UP), are utilized for freight and three passenger rail services [Capitol Corridor, Altamont Corridor Express (ACE) and Amtrak Coast Starlight].

Today, Capitol Corridor must travel indirectly between Oakland and San Jose on the Niles Subdivision, across the Centerville Line in Fremont before turning south at Newark Junction on the Coast Subdivision. The Niles Subdivision experiences heavy rail traffic as a main UP route for freight trains heading south from the Port of Oakland to San Jose and further beyond. The Centerville Line in Fremont is used by UP, Capitol Corridor and ACE passenger trains traveling between the Central Valley and San Jose. The Centerville Line that connects the Niles and Coast Subdivision runs through Central Fremont and has several at-grade crossings that experience backups for local travel due to heavy passenger and freight train traffic. UP’s Coast Subdivision has fewer freight trains and is also used by Amtrak’s Coast Starlight which offers only one round trip daily.

By relocating Capitol Corridor from the Niles over to the Coast Subdivision, train congestion on the Niles and Centerville Line will decrease and overall train operations and efficiency will improve. The relocation will create a faster, more direct route for Capitol Corridor trains between Oakland and San Jose, and provide new transit access between the East Bay and Penninsula through a multi-modal connection to bus/shuttle services that currently serve the Ardenwood Park-and-ride. This transbay connection has been identified as an underserved market and necessary link within the transit system.

The South Bay Connect project is also analyzing potential rail infrastructure and connection improvements within the project corridor that could enhance UP’s ability to move through the area more efficiently. The rail improvements and relocation of Capitol Corridor service will reduce rail congestion which will result in increased reliability for riders and the movement of goods to market.

Diagram view of the changing rail network

Potential Rail Infrastructure Upgrades

CCJPA is working closely with Union Pacific (UP) to identify railroad improvements within the project area on the Coast Subdivision line to bring it up to the Federal Railroad Administrations Class 5 standards. Railroad upgrades will also be included on the Niles and Oakland Subdivision lines to allow UP freight trains going to Central Valley to travel a more direct route south on the Niles Subdivision line, shifting east via a new freight rail connection near Niles Junction in the Shinn area. Rail improvements as part of South Bay Connect may include:

  • Rail track and rail tie replacements
  • Installation of new signal technology
  • Right-of-way safety and security modifications such as fencing
  • New sidings or passing tracks to reduce train idling
  • At-grade crossing safety improvements
  • New Niles and Oakland Subdivision connection near Industrial Parkway
  • Grade separation at Industrial Parkway
  • New freight rail connection near Niles Junction

Project Benefits

South Bay Connect can provide many benefits to Capitol Corridor travelers, the Northern California megaregional economy, and the environment, including:

Travel time icon

Reduce passenger rail travel time throughout the larger Northern California 21 County megaregion to increase ridership on transit, ease congestion, and reduce lengthy commutes.

Network integration icon

Diversify and enhance network integration by reducing duplicative capital investments and differentiating intercity rail service from commuter rail and other transit services, including BART’s extension to San Jose.

Megaregional markets icon

Improve service between markets by permitting enhanced rail movement and the preservation of freight rail capacity through the reduction of conflicts between freight rail operations and passenger rail service.

Economic vitality icon

Support economic vitality of the Northern California Megaregion by enhancing connections to key destinations, linking affordable housing and jobs, and filling existing geographic service gaps.

Environmental sustainability icon

Promote environmental sustainability by reducing greenhouse gas emissions through decreased train idling, travel mode shift and lower vehicle miles traveled on local freeways.

Project Milestones

Key technical milestones have been identified and represent opportunities for public engagement to share information and seek timely input into the planning process and project components.

Project timeline graphic

Environmental Planning

South Bay Connect is entering the environmental phase, which means that the proposed new service route and station alternatives will be analyzed for potential environmental impacts as required by the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). This environmental analysis will look at a wide range of resource areas to identify potential impacts and establish clear mitigations prior to approval to move the project forward. The CEQA lead agency is the CCJPA.

Resource areas include:

  • Aesthetics
  • Agriculture forestry
  • Air quality
  • Biological
  • Cultural
  • Energy
  • Geology/soils
  • Greenhouse gas emissions
  • Hazards & hazardous materials
  • Hydrology/water quality
  • Land use/planning
  • Minerals
  • Noise
  • Population/housing
  • Public services
  • Recreation
  • Transportation
  • Tribal culture
  • Utilities/service systems
  • Wildfire

California Environmental Quality Act Process

Explore the steps of the CEQA Process below and expand each section to learn more. A star icon () indicates the steps of the process that are currently underway. Please note: While the interested public will be engaged throughout the CEQA process, the yellow highlighted steps represent the formal Public Comment Periods.

1Notice of Preparation (NOP) of Environmental Impact Report (EIR)

  • Advertisement placed within local/regional newspapers to alert public of Environmental Process kick-off and initiation of development of the environmental document.
  • Mailer sent to project contact list promoting NOP/Scoping Period and Public Comment opportunities.

2Scoping and 45-Day Public Comment Period – Public Scoping Meeting

  • An early step in the EIR allowing interested public to provide input into the project and environmental scope.
  • Scoping includes a formal public comment period to provide opportunity for submission of comments for agency review.
  • Public Scoping meeting held to share information and seek input.

3Administrative Draft EIR Development

  • Prepared and reviewed by all partner agencies for refinements before circulating to the Public.

4Draft EIR Development

  • Draft environmental document that highlights the results of the analysis of alternatives, environmental impacts and identification of mitigation measures.

5State Clearinghouse Submittal

  • Public agency distributes Notice of Completion of the Draft EIR for state agency review.

6Draft EIR minimum 30-Day Circulation for Public/Agency Review & Comment – Public Meeting

  • A Notice Of Availability (NOA) of Draft EIR is placed within local/regional newspapers.
  • Mailer sent to project contact list promoting NOA/Public Comment Period.
  • Environmental document is circulated electronically through website, housed at key community repositories and distributed to partner agencies for review and submission of comments within a formal public comment period.
  • Public Meeting held to share Draft EIR and seek formal input through a number of mediums including but not limited to: letters, emails, website submission, comment cards and court reporter transcripts.

7Preparation of Response to Comments

  • Public agency evaluates and prepares written responses with detailed explanation of response.

8Final EIR

  • Preparation and certification of the Final EIR.
  • All comments received during the Draft EIR Public Comment Period are included and addressed within the Final EIR.

9Agency Decisions/Findings, Statement of Overriding Considerations, Mitigation Monitoring – Public Hearing

  • Provides formal notification in local/regional newspapers of Final EIR availability and review.
  • Public hearing held to allow Lead Agency to hear Public Testimony and take action on FINAL EIR.

Coordination Efforts

Key activities during environmental planning include close coordination with regulatory agencies including, but not limited to:

Local and regional community stakeholders, as well as the general public, also play key roles in the environmental planning process through ongoing participation and providing timely input. This valuable engagement helps define the best alternative to meet diverse regional needs.

Station Location Evaluation

As part of the South Bay Connect analysis, potential station locations along the new Capitol Corridor route were identified and examined as feasible options. Station locations included Ardenwood, Hayward and Newark Junction. Each station was evaluated against four categories to identify the most feasible location including: Capitol Program Benefits, Environmental, Design Feasibility, and Station Area.

Evaluation Criteria

TIRCP icon

Capitol Program Benefits

Reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve air quality

Increase ridership based on system and efficiency improvements

Coordinate and integrate with state rail and transit operations

Improve safety

Feasibility icon

Design Feasibility


Capitol Corridor Joint Powers Authority station standards

Union Pacific Railroad acceptability

Stakeholder approval

Non-rail right-of-way required



Environmental icon


Land use consistency

Sensitive air quality and noise receptors

Community cohesion

Visual and aesthetic resources

Natural resources

Protected Section 4(f) public parks, refuges, and historic properties

Access and circulation

Environmental justice

Station Area icon

Station Area

Bicycle and pedestrian accessibility

Existing parking

Local traffic impacts

Priority development area designation

Service optimization

State and local plan consistency

Station Planning

Hayward Station Study

Definition report thumbnail image
The Hayward Station study area is located at the State Route 92 overpass of the coast Subdivision line. Areas to the east and west of the study area are almost entirely industrial with residential areas residing about a quarter-mile east of the track. While there are no existing transbay bus or shuttle services within the study area, these transit services do cross over State Route 92 during peak commute hours.

Multiple station locations within the study area were analyzed, however the space required for a station does not accommodate one located adjacent to the freeway which provides the best transfer potential for riders connecting between Capitol Corridor and the Peninsula. A parcel approximately ½ mile from State Route 92 and the Coast Subdivision line could be a suitable option to consider in the future.

Newark Station Study

Definition report thumbnail image
The Newark Station study area is located where the Dumbarton Rail Corridor connects with the Coast Subdivision and Centerville lines. The north end of the study area is predominantly residential and the south end has mostly industrial use. A station at this location would require re-alignment of existing tracks, and rail configurations and limited right-of-way space is a challenge.

Ardenwood Station Study

Definition report thumbnail image
The Ardenwood Station study area is located where State Route 84 passes over the Coast Subdivision line on the border between the cities of Fremont and Newark. There is an existing Park & Ride lot that serves bus and shuttle service across the bay to the Peninsula currently. The nearest residential to this station area is approximately a quarter-mile away, however there is an existing business park adjacent to this location with thousands of jobs. In addition within a short distance of this station there are multiple rezoning plans that will bring over 30,000 more jobs with existing large tech and auto industry leaders already leasing space to the west of this Station study area with plans to continue employment campus growth nearby within the City of Fremont. This high employment growth area located adjacent to a future multi-modal rail station provides direct connection between jobs and homes.

Station Evaluation

The South Bay Connect Project is anticipated to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve air quality by eliminating 289,390 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions over 50 years. This projection is based on a 2% annual ridership increase over 50 years. Increased ridership projections are based on three key factors:

  • Service will shift to higher-density land uses near stations
  • Transbay connectivity will create new travel option and lead to mode shift from personal vehicle to rail transit
  • More direct route between Oakland and San Jose will reduce travel time, thus making rail travel more attractive and lead to mode shift from auto to Capitol Corridor service

The ridership analysis looked at station locations to determine the location with the highest ridership potential. For more information on the ridership analysis, view the Project Definition Report.

Table showing updated daily ridership forecast

Another key criteria for station identification is the ability to create multi-modal connections, especially to transbay transit services. Local transit connections were considered a smaller factor than transbay transit connections, which can be more difficult to reroute from the highway to local streets.

Existing and planned transit connectivity options

Evaluation Results

The three potential station locations were evaluated across the following scale:

Unfavorable (1): Does not yield benefits and/or could impede project implementation.

Neutral (2): Yields moderate benefits and/or is not expected to impede project implementation.

Favorable (3): Yields significant benefits and/or would not impede project implementation.


Ardenwood results: 97%

Criteria Group Max Possible Score
TIRCP Benefits 12 12
Design Feasibility 21 21
Environmental 24 23
Station Area 18 17
TOTAL 75 73


Hayward results: 68%

Criteria Group Max Possible Score
TIRCP Benefits 12 8
Design Feasibility 21 12
Environmental 24 18
Station Area 18 13
TOTAL 75 51


Newark Junction results: 60%

Criteria Group Max Possible Score
TIRCP Benefits 12 8
Design Feasibility 21 9
Environmental 24 17
Station Area 18 11
TOTAL 75 45

For detailed information on the criteria evaluation view the Project Definition Report

Project Funding

The estimated total project cost is approximately $264 million. Funding is already committed for the project’s environmental and design phases as well as over half of the estimated construction costs.

Identified funding sources

Funding Sources

Project funding sources include:

State Transportation Improvement Program (STIP): Interregional Transportation Improvement Program (ITIP)

State Rail Assistance (SRA)

Regional Measure 3 (RM 3)

Measure BB

Other prospective funding sources include:

Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvements (CRISI)

Transit and Intercity Rail Capital Program (TIRCP)

Solutions for Congested Corridors Program (SCCP)

Trade Corridor Enhancement Program (TCEP)