California High-Speed Rail Authority approves RFQ for track and OCS

1 min read

The California High-Speed Rail Authority’s Board of Directors has taken another step toward bringing the nation’s first 220mph electrified high-speed rail system into operational service, with release of a Request for Qualifications (RFQ) to industry for design services for track and overhead contact systems (OCS) for the initial 171-mile passenger service connecting Merced to Bakersfield.

“The approval allows us to move forward and get this transformative project into operations as soon as possible,” said board chair Tom Richards. “This is a critical step in our new procurement strategy and yet another important milestone for us to deliver high-speed rail service in the Central Valley and statewide.”

The RFQ is available on the California High-Speed Rail Authority’s website, with Statements of Qualifications (SOQ) due January 22, 2024, and potential board approval and contract execution and issuance in April 2024.

With a total contract value of up to US$131.2m and potential extension options, this procurement process will allow the authority to:

  • Produce high-level designs for track and systems for the 171 miles connecting Merced to Bakersfield, including detailed designs for the 119-mile stretch currently under active construction within that Central Valley stretch.
  • Design the track system, including the track structure, OCS, along-track cable containment, across-track ducts, access walkways, fencing, and drainage.
  • Manage technical and non-technical interfaces with contractors/consultants.

This action comes on the heels of the authority moving its trainsets procurement forward in August.

In October 2022, the authority opted to let a previous RFQ for procurement of a track and systems contractor expire due to the economic climate, supply chain challenges and 40-year high inflation.

The authority has since developed a new procurement strategy, considering extensive industry feedback and adjusting to program needs. The track and OCS design services contract is an important step in the new procurement strategy.

California High Speed Rail is an 800-mile, 220mph electrified statewide high-speed rail system, which once fully complete will connect San Diego to Sacramento and San Francisco. The project is being completed in phases, with the first phase – the main spine of the system – now under construction in the Central Valley.

The authority has also begun work to extend the 119 miles under construction to 171 miles of double track electrified high-speed rail from Merced to Bakersfield. There are more than 25 active construction sites in California’s Central Valley, with the authority having environmentally cleared 422 miles of the high-speed rail program from the Bay Area to the Los Angeles Basin.