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ACE COMING IN 2023: Downtown Manteca passenger service on track
$234M project will improve train movements
colton crossing

A $234 million remake of the Stockton Wye where Union Pacific and Santa Fe railroad lines intersect is a part of a long-term strategy to move freight and passenger traffic through San Joaquin County.

It’s long range impacts would eliminate conflicts for the three Altamont Corridor Express trains that will be pulling out of the downtown Manteca station starting in 2023 every weekday and traveling to Sacramento.

Manteca Councilwoman Debby Moorhead who serves on the San Joaquin Rail Commission noted it is a critical project aimed at reducing traffic congestion on the Union Pacific mainline that passes through Manteca.

The Stockton Diamond south of Highway 4, the Crosstown Freeway, is the busiest at grade railway junction in California. The UP line that ACE trains travel when they depart the Cabral station in Stockton on their way to the Lathrop-Manteca station will be elevated to cross the Santa Fe line. That will provide uninterrupted rail service for freight and passenger movements as well as decrease fuel consumption and reduce air pollution from idling locomotives.

Freight movements out of the Union Pacific intermodal yard for truck trailer-to-train movements sandwiched between Manteca and Lathrop are critical to the growth of distribution centers and allied manufacturers that are flocking to business parks in Stockton, Manteca, Lathrop and Tracy to access the growing NorCal Megaregion anchored by Sacramento, San Francisco and San Jose with 17 million residents.

The solution is similar to upgrades that were completed at the Colton Crossing in San Bernardino where the previous at-grade crossing between Santa Fe and Union Pacific led to railroad congestion throughout the greater Los Angeles area.

Santa Fe also has an intermodal yard that is 10 miles northeast of Manteca just west of Jack Tone and east of Austin Road.

The Santa Fe line swings through Stockton where it serves the Port of Stockton on its way to reach ports on the eastern side of San Francisco Bay such as Richmond. Union Pacific freight trains head into the Bay Area from the Northern San Joaquin Valley via the Altamont Pass. The UP line that passes through Stockton on its way to Sacramento where some trains head north to the Pacific Northwest and others head east through Roseville and over the Sierra to connect with Midwest markets.

ACE adding passenger

platform in Manteca

ACE will add a passenger platform along the UP line near the southern end of the Manteca Transit station for the start of service in 2023 that was funded in the Senate Bill 1 spending plan that secured the gas tax increase.

Initially that will see four trains originating in Ceres with stops in Modesto and Ripon before they reach Manteca. Eventually service will be extended to Merced to connect with the California High Speed Rail system. Three of the initial ACE trains will head onto Sacramento to address the growing commute traffic heading from the Northern San Joaquin Valley into Sacramento. The fourth train will switch onto the Altamont Pass line at the Lathrop Wye that is just to the northwest of the Manteca Unified School District office complex and joins the other ACE trains heading into San Jose.

The current Lathrop/Manteca station on West Yosemite Avenue will shift to a location on the Sharpe Depot property in Lathrop.

That will accomplish two things. It will allow for significantly more parking. Also when Valley Link service is eventually launched to connect to BART in Dublin/Pleasanton, the future ACE station will service as the transfer point.

The Manteca/Lathrop station is the No. 1 boarding point for passengers along the ACE line. Many of the commuters drive to the station from east of Manteca in the foothills as well as from Ripon and Modesto plus other points in Stanislaus County.

The bottom line is starting in 2023 commuters in Ripon and Manteca that work in the Silicon Valley or Sacramento will be able to take passenger trains instead of battling freeway traffic.


To contact Dennis Wyatt, email