In 1989, according to the Altamont Corridor Express (ACE), passenger rail service across the Altamont region “was considered a pipe dream that might be worth discussing in twenty years.” But by 1998, passengers could travel by rail between the Central Valley and Silicon Valley, stopping at stations in San Joaquin, Alameda, and Santa Clara Counties.
For many years, ACE used the Union Pacific Railroad’s maintenance facility, but as ACE’s ridership increased it was clear that they needed their own facility. Ridership continues to increase rapidly. From 2013 to 2014, ridership on ACE increased by 169,000 or 20%, bringing total ridership to a record figure of more than one million.
A 64-acre (26-hectare) site in Stockton, once used by a manufacturer of wooden boxes, had become a focus of undesirable activity. During the housing boom, the site was slated for a large development, but the end of the boom created an opportunity for ACE to meets its maintenance needs and reclaim the site for the community.
In 2011, Mott MacDonald was retained as construction manager for a 157,000-square-foot (14,500-square-meter) maintenance facility and offices to serve ACE. Unique features of the facility included the following:
- Three-bay specialized drop table system for removing wheelsets and traction power
- Wheel truing lathe, able to retrue a wheelset in 45 minutes
- 30-ton bridge crane spanning 102 feet (31 meters) across the maintenance shop building
- 5-ton crane spanning 34 feet 6 inches (10.5 meters) across the preventive maintenance track, equipped with an independent traveling fall protection system
- Oil/water separator treatment system able to process up to 300 gallons (3 cubic meters) of waste per minute
- Approximately 5.2 miles of installed train tracks within the facility
- 22-foot-tall (6.7-meter) breakaway high-speed roll-up doors
The $85.6 million maintenance facility complex was completed on time and on budget. The grand opening on March 22, 2014, was attended by US Representative Jeff Denham (R-CA, House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure), Representative Jerry McNerney (D-CA), and other US, state, and local officials. Officials noted that the project had contributed to job growth in the Stockton area.
The maintenance facility was designed to incorporate a variety of sustainability features. More than 1,100 solar photovoltaic panels provide 20% of the building’s power (260 kilowatts), specialized window shades follow the sun, electric power usage is monitored in real time, and a 102,000-gallon (386,000-liter) rain harvest tank is part of the reclaimed and reused water system. The facility was the first in the country to achieve LEED Silver certification from Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design.