Santa Clara VTA targets return of light-rail service by end of July

July 9, 2021
The transit agency stresses that is the target date, not a firm date, with restoration scheduled to occur in phases.

Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) has released plans to phase in the return of light-rail service.

“We know our light-rail passengers are eager to see the trains running again. We are too. Our multi-phase plan is now underway with expectations to resume light-rail service by the end of July, although no firm date can be set at this time,” the authority wrote in an online posting.

The first phase is currently underway with the move to successive phases dependent on the completion of the previous phase. The full plan includes:

  • Phase 1: (currently underway) Outreaching to Guadalupe employees and identifying immediate/interim work locations.
  • Phase 2: Moving and onboarding critical staff entails fit for duty evaluations and set up of immediate work locations.
  • Phases 3-5 involve continued onboarding of staff, infrastructure repairs and a "soft opening" in non-revenue service before being fully operational. Trains will operate in non-revenue service prior to service restoration and Way Power & Signal staff will check out their new work location and visually inspect the line rather than start actual inspections or repairs.

“Each successfully completed phase is critical to provide a strong foundation for the next phase. We will keep the public updated on completion of phases,” explained the authority.

Santa Clara VTA’s light-rail service has been interrupted since May 26 when a gunman killed nine co-workers at Guadalupe Yard - Abdolvahab Alaghmandan, Adrian Balleza, Alex Ward Fritch, Jose Dejesus Hernandez III, Lars Kepler Lane, Michael Joseph Rudometkin, Paul Delacruz Megia, Taptejdeep Singh and Timothy Michael Romo.

As the authority dealt with the emotional and operational fallout of the tragedy, Interim General Manager and General Counsel Evelynn Tran asked for patience shortly after the shooting, explaining that light-rail service restoration was dependent on many factors, but “most importantly the human factor.”

Santa Clara VTA says its “collective priority is to put our people first” and notes the process of restoring light-rail service is significant “considering the work that we are putting into making sure our employees are ready to return.”

About the Author

Mischa Wanek-Libman | Group Editorial Director

Mischa Wanek-Libman serves as editor in chief of Mass Transit magazine and group editorial director of the Infrastructure and Aviation Group at Endeavor Business Media. She is responsible for developing and maintaining the editorial direction of the group and is based in the western suburbs of Chicago.

Wanek-Libman has spent more than 20 years covering transportation issues including construction projects and engineering challenges for various commuter railroads and transit agencies. She has been recognized for editorial excellence through her individual work, as well as for collaborative content. 

She is an active member of the American Public Transportation Association's Marketing and Communications Committee and serves as a Board Observer on the National Railroad Construction and Maintenance Association (NRC) Board of Directors.  

She is a graduate of Drake University, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism and Mass Communication with a major in magazine journalism and a minor in business management.