High-speed rail officials discuss route through Tehachapi mountains

The stretch of tracks from Bakersfield to Palmdale is poised to be one of the most difficult and costly sections of California’s high-speed rail project. Thursday night, representatives from the California High-Speed Rail Authority met with residents and local leaders to talk about the four proposed alignments.

Held at Edison Middle School, it was the fourth in a series of five meetings along the route this week.

“The people who live in a community, they know it best,” said Michelle Boehm, the Southern California regional director for the Authority.

The meetings, she said, serve a dual purpose: to educate the public and to give them the opportunity give feedback to rail officials.

The segment from Tehachapi to Palmdale encompasses 80 miles and climbs approximately 4,000 vertical feet. About 10 miles of it will be tunneled through the Tehachapi mountains.

Four alignments are currently being considered. A speaker at the meeting said the authority hopes to make a decision by the end of 2017.

The valley portion of the train is expected to open in 2025. The full completion of Phase 1, from San Francisco to Anaheim, isn’t estimated to open until 2029.

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