source "California Drawbridges" Bernard C. Winn
Efforts to return the old Southern Pacific Dumbarton rail bridge crossing the southern part of San Francisco Bay to service have taken a major step forward, with a recent negotiating agreement allowing social media giant Facebook to work with an Australian infrastructure investment firm to revitalize that long-dormant rail corridor.
On May 6, Facebook entered into an negotiations with the San Mateo County Transit District to improve the Dumbarton corridor, a 14-mile ex-SP line connecting Union City in the East Bay and Redwood City on the peninsula. That could enable a rail connection with the Altamont Commuter Express — whose Fremont station is about two miles east of the east end of the still-moribund Dumbarton corridor — and with Caltrain in Redwood City.
It hasn’t been established which agency would operate trains over the span, should the rehabilitation occur. Past studies, the oldest dating from the 1990s, have considered shuttle service between Union City or Fremont and Redwood City, as well as “extended” service that included Union City-San Francisco and Union City-San Jose trains.
The rail bridge, opened in 1910, carried SP freight trains between the old Bayshore Yard south of San Francisco and points east, including Sacramento and the San Joaquin Valley. Some passenger trains, including the San Joaquin Daylight, also used it. The last freight train ran over the bridge in 1982, and the bridge has been owned by the transit district since 1994.
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