Homeless encampments near the tracks of California’s commuter rail service have caused trains to be significantly more delayed than usual.
Trains have been forced to make more emergency stops this year as more people have been trespassing on the tracks, as reported by the Sacramento Bee.
These unexpected stops on Amtrak’s Capitol Corridor have dramatically lowered the system’s on-time record, with 15 percent of trains arriving late to their destinations last month.
The Capitol Corridor operates between Sacramento and Silicon Valley.
Trains along the Capitol Corridor, which connects Sacramento and Silicon Valley, were late 15 percent of the time last month
Trains have been forced to make more emergency stops this year as more people have been trespassing on the tracks
‘Frankly, we have a business to run, a service to the public. If people can’t depend on the train being on time, they will choose other options,’ Capitol Corridor board chair Lucas Frerichs told the local news outlet.
The fact that the number of homeless in the area has risen by 30 percent since 2015 has certainly not helped the issue.
Trespassings aren’t the only thing delaying trains: issues with track signals, bridge closures and mechanical setbacks have also been happening more recently.
But agency officials say the sight of people walking on the tracks has become more common.
Unauthorized people on the tracks have caused a big enough impact on the system’s ability to function that several rail agencies have already taken action.
Capitol Corridor and the Union Pacific freight rail company, which owns several train tracks in the state, have partnered to crackdown on the issue.
Commuters are delayed every time an emergency stops has to be made, as trains take 10 minutes to restart, according to officials
Unauthorized people on the tracks have caused a big enough impact on the system’s ability to function that several rail agencies have already taken action
Company head David Kutrosky sent an email to passengers asking them to report any encampments or large piles of trash they see while on their commute.
Sacramento, West Sacramento, Davis, Suisun City, Hercules, Berkeley, Oakland and Fremont in the Bay Area are some of the places where the company’s crews have spotted homeless camps.
Capitol Corridor will spend $750,000 per year to finance three UP crews which will be tasked with finding and shutting down homeless camps along the rail lines.
The Sacramento Regional Transit is also spending more time patrolling tracks, according to a spokesperson.
Capitol Corridor will spend $750,000 per year to finance three UP crews which will be tasked with finding and shutting down homeless camps along the rail lines
Dealing with the homeless camps near train tracks is not easy task, as those who are removed usually just move to a different spot
Officials for Capitol Corridor have not said how many crashes have happened in the last year, but the a Union Pacific spokesperson told the Sacramento Bee that three people were hit by trains between Sacramento and the Bay Area.
When someone is killed by a train delays become quite significant, as authorities have to do post-mortem work at the scene.
Even if someone isn’t hit, if an engineer sees a person on the tracks or near it, they will make an emergency stop. Once the train stops, it takes 10 minutes to restart the engine, according to Kutrosky.
Dealing with the homeless camps is not easy task, as the Sacramento Bee points out. A 62-year-old homeless man told the outlet he simply moved to a more hidden spot when he was removed from his spot in the Arcade Creek area.