Alameda Corridor

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Alameda Corridor Transit Authority Corridor logo
The Alameda Corridor (purple) was built mostly on the former Southern Pacific Railroad line to the ports, which became part of the Union Pacific Railroad in 1996. The BNSF Harbor Subdivision loops to the west.

The Alameda Corridor is a 20-mile (32 km) freight rail "expressway"[1] owned by the Alameda Corridor Transportation Authority (reporting mark ATAX) that connects the national rail system near downtown Los Angeles, California, to the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, running parallel to Alameda Street. The corridor is considered one of the region's largest transportation projects in the past 20 years.[1]


A section of the Alameda Corridor trench in the city of Compton.
Aerial view showing Alameda Corridor trench in South Los Angeles

The project is notable for its “Mid-Corridor Trench”, a below-ground, triple-tracked rail line that is 10 miles (16 km) long, 33 feet (10 m) deep, and 50 feet (15 m) wide,[2] shared by the BNSF Railway and Union Pacific Railroad[1] via trackage rights. The Alameda Corridor allows trains to bypass 90 miles (140 km) of early 20th-century branch lines and the Santa Fe's historic Harbor Subdivision along a high-speed grade-separated corridor (mainly built on the alignment of a former Southern Pacific Railroad line), avoiding more than 200 at-grade railroad crossings where cars and trucks previously had to wait for long freight trains to pass.[3] Many of those same rail lines were inadequately protected with little more than “wigwag” crossing signals dating from the original construction of the lines. One important use of the corridor is to carry cargo containers to and from the ports. The corridor has a maximum speed of 40 miles per hour (64 km/h).


The Ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles, with the direction of John Rinard, completed the purchase of Southern Pacific's Alameda Corridor line for $235 million in December 1994.[4] The line went into operation on April 15, 2002, and reached a peak of 60 train movements per day in October 2006.[5] It is credited with significantly relieving congestion on the Long Beach Freeway (I-710) and elsewhere in the region. In 2007, the line carried 17,824 trains carrying 4.7 million TEUs (twenty-foot equivalent units) of containers.[5]

Future development[edit]

Alameda Corridor East[edit]

The Alameda Corridor–East project, currently under construction, will grade-separate many of the crossings along Union Pacific Railroad's Alhambra Subdivision and the Los Angeles Subdivision. Many of these crossings, which are currently at grade, tie up traffic on north–south streets for long periods multiple times a day as long freight trains pass on their way to and from the massive Union Pacific yards in Vernon and Commerce.

Included as part of the Alameda Corridor–East project is the half-billion dollar San Gabriel Trench, which will submerge the track between Ramona street and San Gabriel Boulevard in the city of San Gabriel.[6] This project is in the design phase, with a large portion of its construction funds secured.

Along with federal fund matching, the project would be funded in part by the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority.


  1. ^ a b c Redden, J. W.; Selig, E. T.; Zaremsbki, A. M. (February 2002). "Stiff track modulus considerations". RT&S: Railway Track & Structures 98 (2): 25–30. 
  2. ^ Fortner, Brian (September 2002). "The Train Lane". Civil Engineering 72 (9): 52–61. 
  3. ^ Cerny, L. T. (May 2002). "Alameda corridor opens to traffic in L.A.". RT&S: Railway Track & Structures 98 (5): 32. 
  4. ^ "Corridor Purchase". Alameda Corridor Transportation Authority. Retrieved 2006-03-12. [dead link]
  5. ^ a b "Corridor Statistics". Alameda Corridor Transportation Authority. Archived from the original on 2008-06-02. Retrieved 2008-07-23. 
  6. ^ "State OKs funds for San Gabriel crossing". Pasadena Star News. 2008-04-10. 

External links[edit]