ACE still on high-speed radar

An afternoon Altamont Commuter Express train leaves the Tracy platform for Manteca after dropping off riders. Glenn Moore/Tracy Press

The future Valley Link light-rail system will be operated by the existing ACE rail service.

Decisions to combine the operations of the two commuter-rail systems were approved at recent meetings of their parent organizations — Valley Link’s Tri-Valley-San Joaquin Valley Regional Rail Authority and the San Joaquin Valley Rail Commission, which operates ACE (Altamont Commuter Express) and Amtrak San Joaquin.

Tracy Mayor Pro Tem Veronica Vargas, who is vice chairman of the Valley Link sponsoring authority, hailed the decision to form an operating partnership.

“I believe this partnership with ACE will help us to meet our goals and support our communities and struggling workforce,” she said.

Alameda County Supervisor Scott Haggerty of Livermore, chairman of Valley Link’s governing authority, said that entering into a joint-operations agreement with ACE takes advantage of ACE’s 20 years of experience operating commuter rail service over Union Pacific tracks between Stockton and San Jose, including a station in Tracy.

Both Valley Link and ACE have been planning to run trains on their individual systems, except for using combined tracks over the Altamont Pass.

ACE trains are powered on Union Pacific tracks by diesel locomotives, while Valley Link is planning to use all-electric or hybrid electric-diesel self-propelled rail cars.

The proposed Valley Link light-rail system includes 42 miles of track connecting the existing Dublin-Pleasanton BART station to a North Lathrop station with stops in Mountain House, downtown Tracy and River Islands. Most-recent goals are to have the system in service by 2028.

• Contact the Tracy Press at tpnews@tracypress.com or 209-835-3030.

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