California High-Speed Rail Authority Approves Contractor, Moves Design of Track and Overhead Electrical Systems Forward


 [ Article originally appeared in ]

In yet another significant step toward getting electrified high-speed trains operating in the U.S., the California High-Speed Rail Authority’s (Authority) Board of Directors today approved a contractor to begin designing track and overhead contact systems (OCS) for the initial 171-mile passenger service connecting Merced to Bakersfield.

Dusk side view of high-speed train.
Dusk side view of high-speed train.


“Getting track and systems design under contract is an important milestone in movement to bring high-speed rail service to California. This approval gets us closer to electrified passenger rail service and putting this transformative project into operations as soon as possible.” –Board Chair Tom Richards

After an extensive competitive procurement process, joint venture SYSTRA | TYPSA was awarded the contract with today’s board action.  SYSTRA | TYPSA has worked together for more than two decades and partnered with California rail and transit agencies for more than 35 years.

With an initial contract value of up to $131.2 million, this contract will allow the Authority to:

  • Produce high-level designs for track and OCS for the 171 miles connecting Merced to Bakersfield, including detailed designs for the 119-mile section currently under active construction within that Central Valley stretch.
  • Design the track system, including the track structure, OCS, along-track cable containment, across-track ducts, access walkways, fencing, and drainage.
  • Manage technical and non-technical interfaces with contractors/consultants.

This action comes on the heels of the Authority releasing a shortlist of potential suppliers for electrified high-speed trains in California.

In October 2022, the Authority opted to let a previous Request for Qualifications (RFQ) for procurement of a track and systems contractor expire due to the economic climate, supply-chain challenges and 40-year high inflation.

The Authority has since developed a new procurement strategy, considering extensive industry feedback and adjusting to program needs. The track and OCS design services contract is an important step in the new procurement strategy. This contractor will collaborate with a future construction manager/general contractor hired to construct the track and OCS based on its designs.

Since the start of construction, the Authority has created more than 13,500 construction jobs, a majority going to residents from the Central Valley.

The Authority has begun work to extend the 119 miles currently under construction to 171 miles of future electrified high-speed rail from Merced to Bakersfield. There are currently more than 25 active construction sites in the Central Valley, with the Authority having now fully environmentally cleared 422 miles of the high-speed rail program from the Bay Area to Los Angeles County.

For the latest on high-speed rail construction, visit www.buildhsr.comExternal Link.

The following link contains recent video, animations, photography, press center resources and latest renderings:? Link

These files are all available for free use, courtesy of the California High-Speed Rail Authority.


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