Santa Clara VTA light-rail service could welcome passengers by end of the week

Aug. 26, 2021
The transportation authority is making progress on its light-rail restoration plan following suspension of service at the end of May.

Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) could be welcoming passengers on its light-rail trains by the end of the week following the release of a progress report on its restoration efforts.

The authority is nearing the end of Phase 3 of its six-phase plan and expects to complete Phase 4 and enter Phase 5, which includes trains running with passengers, by the end of the week. 

The third phase of the plan includes track inspections, employee recertification and retraining. Phase 4 involves non-revenue service testing and operators, supervisors and support staff will be operating test trains from the Guadalupe yard to Baypointe Station in North San Jose along North First Street.

Santa Clara VTA reminds the public the system is considered “live” and is urging motorists, pedestrians and cyclists approaching tracks to keep an eye out for trains and maintenance vehicles.

“Safety on the tracks is paramount. Not having trains running for the past three months may have led bicyclists, pedestrians and motorists to let their guard down around tracks,” the authority said in an update on service restoration. “Everyone near the system should stop, look and listen for activity.”

The non-revenue service testing phase is expected to last one to two days, which will be followed by the start of Phase 5 toward the end of this week.

Substitute bus service along First Street in San Jose to Milpitas Transit Center is operational and is serving light-rail stations on the route. The temporary bus service is operating fare free and will continue until light-rail service is restored.

Santa Clara VTA started its restoration plan in June and had to rework the schedule for reopening after its original target date of restoration had to be moved. Light-rail service has been suspended since May 26, when a gunman killed nine of his coworkers at Guadalupe Yard

“VTA’s priority is to put our people first while also achieving the goal of providing critical transit services to our community. We ask that you keep in mind that the reopening of light-rail service is a significant process considering the work that we are putting into making sure our employees are ready to return,” the authority said. “Thank you for your patience while we work through this together.”

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.