Speaking of anticipated decisions, the Metro Board approved initial concepts for LA Union Station as part of the station’s master plan. Staff recommended that the Metro Board look further into one particular concept, which calls for building a bus plaza to the west side of existing rail tracks, vastly expanding the existing pedestrian corridor underneath the tracks into a concourse, and removing the Patsaouras Transit Plaza as a means to extend said concourse. The concept also incorporates the proposal to extend the westernmost tracks to the south as part of the Southern California Interregional Gateway project, while HSR is not mentioned. The study team will now look into specifics on the concepts, with an update due next spring.
Representatives from the National Association of Railroad Passengers toured the CAF USA plant in Elmira, NY, to take a sneak peek of the new long-distance cars CAF is manufacturing for Amtrak. The new baggage cars will also have space for 16 bicycles, improved lighting and sealed doors for climate control. The manufacture of the cars has also reinvigorated the local economy in Elmira, since CAF is using a temporarily dormant factory to build the cars, hiring at least 500 employees and enlisting local contractors to build the cars. An initial set of four cars, using an older Amtrak livery scheme, will start operations next summer, with complete roll-out of the 130 new cars coming by 2016.