Passenger Rail

Santa Cruz County Passenger Rail Study

Passenger Rail Transit Study

The RTC is studying the feasibility of passenger rail transit service along the Santa Cruz Branch Rail Line which roughly parallels Highway 1 and the coast in Santa Cruz County. The RTC is seeking input on the Draft Report  through July 8.

Passenger Rail Feasibility Study – Draft Report

Study Overview

The Passenger Rail Feasibility Study analyzes whether rail transit service is feasible on the Santa Cruz Branch Rail Line. This high-level study includes the following:

Following public review of the draft report, the final report will be prepared – including recommendations for next steps should the RTC decide to implement rail transit service. Project implementation steps include: securing funding, environmental review, detailed engineering/design, and construction.

Public Participation – Your input is important

Broad community participation is encouraged to ensure an informed decision-making process.  Now is the time to review the results of the feasibility analysis and provide your feedback. Review the Draft Report.

  • Learn More – Attend the Board Meeting and/or Open House-Workshop:
    • Open House-Workshop 6/4/15, 6:30 pm – View findings, hear overview presentation, and ask questions, Community Room at Simpkins Family Swim Center – 979 17th Ave. in Live Oak.
    • RTC Board Meeting 6/4/15 – The RTC board will receive a presentation on the draft report from the consultant during its regular monthly meeting at the Watsonville City Council Chambers (275 Main St, Watsonville – 4th Floor in the Civic Plaza Building, 6th Floor of the Parking Structure on Rodriguez). The RTC meeting starts at 9:00 a.m. and will be rebroadcast on Community TV.
  • Submit Comments. Comment period closes July 8, 2015. There are several ways to provide comments.
    • Comment Form: Submit comments online
    • Email the RTC with the subject line “Draft Rail Study Comments.”
    • Survey: Complete the Passenger Rail Study Online Survey – Available June 4-July 8
  • Sign up for Rail eNews, to receive periodic emails about upcoming meetings and other updates on this rail transit study and rail line.

Your participation will help ensure that the Final Report reflects community input!

Past input: The first stage of public input (Summer 2014) included a public workshop and an online survey on goals and objectives, possible stations, and service scenarios. Over 2,000 people provided input on Santa Cruz County passenger rail by participating in the survey or attending the workshop.


The RTC purchased the rail corridor in 2012 with CA and Santa Cruz County voter-approved passenger rail funds in order to expand the passenger rail network and increase transportation options for the community now and into the future. Planning for the rail corridor also includes: connectivity to existing and planned bus service, regional and state rail service, and coordination with other uses of the rail corridor- such as the Monterey Bay Sanctuary Scenic Trail Network (a planned bicycle and pedestrian “rail-trail” parallel to the tracks), freight, and recreational excursion rail service. The RTC secured a transit grant from Caltrans to conduct this passenger rail study in partnership with the Santa Cruz METRO Transit District and the Santa Cruz & Monterey Bay Railway/Iowa Pacific (SC&MB).


RTC Contacts

Karena Pushnik and Rachel Moriconi
Senior Transportation Planners (831) 460-3200