California Transportation Commission Approves Branch Line Purchase
After nearly ten years of negotiations and review of the property’s condition, the Santa Cruz County Regional Transportation Commission secured State approval to purchase the Branch Line for $14.2 million with a commitment to make $5 million in improvements.
In a letter urging the CTC to approve the project, Congressman Sam Farr noted, “The acquisition of this 32-mile coastal rail corridor is a vital element of the Central California Coast’s efforts to provide multi-modal solutions to its significant transportation problems.”
By preserving the rail line as a continuous transportation corridor, the RTC will be able to provide transportation options for residents and visitors that may be feasible in the future. This could include passenger rail, transit, bicycle and pedestrian uses. In the near term, the RTC will continue existing freight and recreational rail service and plans to establish new recreational rail service along the scenic north coast between the main beach area in Santa Cruz and the historic town of Davenport eleven miles north.
Passenger trains and the coastal rail trail will run together along the coastal line to help students, commuters, and visitors to travel throughout the County. According to reports, many sections of the coastal rail line is beautifully forested and offers a very accessible, flat place to walk or cycle.
For more details, visit the Friends of the Rail Trail website.
The Santa Cruz trail is a key component in creating a larger, Monterey Bay Sanctuary Scenic Trail Network.