Room for two freight rail tracks

There’s only one working freight rail track through the recently purchased Union Pacific property, but there is room for another. In fact there’s room for a new line of track through much of Fremont as shown in the photo below.

When the city depressed Paseo Padre Parkway underneath the rail bridge, it and UP agreed to a deal. The city would build a single track bridge over Paseo Padre, but it would also put the infrastructure in place for a second track, which UP can build if it chooses.

This photo was sent to me by a reader:


Matt Artz


  1. Matt…that is the Paseo Padre section that was rebuilt for Bart.

    In a previous catagory I stated:

    If there are/were a single track through Fremont then WHY are there (existing) 2 railroad tracks and 2 bridges (for same) at the Grimmer Blvd underpass, then there are 2 sets of tracks (also existing) at Warren and at Kato ????

    Take a drive through the area and prove me wrong, plus if you looks at the tracks (Google maps) there are 20+ seperate tracks adjacent to Nummi (obviously for staging and switching).

  2. I keep forgetting the 2 railroad bridges and 2 sets of tracks that cross Mission Blvd/262.

    Upon further review…the 2 sets of tracks continue north of Grimmer then reduce to 1 track South of Paseo.

    If you follow the tracks (2) South of Kato, they again reduce to 1 and then return to 2 in Milpitas and continue on…………

  3. What ever happened to plans to make the now removed tracks into a path for walking/biking from the Irvington area to Central Park? Did they abandon that idea?

  4. Jack, That’s the Grimmer Greenbelt Project, which the city is trying to save on Monday by authorizing redevelopment bonds before the agency gets killed.

  5. The separation of grade projects at Washington Blvd. and Paseo Padre Parkway were the most expensive COF has ever undertaken. If Union Pacific got the City to include the second support for another track at Paseo Padre did they help pay for it? Or did the federal government funds pick up the tab?

  6. I’m pretty sure there’s only room for one Union Pacific track at Washington and Paseo. The former Western Pacific right-of-way was sold to VTA/BART for the extensions to Warm Springs and beyond. The remaining Union Pacific track was realigned for the two grade separations.

  7. Mike, look closely at the photo Martz posted. The rail bridge is the one on the left. Currently it has only one track but if you look at the width of the support structure it is wide enough for another rail line. The City has confirmed this to be the case. And if you use the underpass you will see the configuration he’s talking about.

  8. Mike you are correct about VTA purchasing the old WP line. That line is now abandon and a portion of it from Washington Blvd. south will be used for the BART extension. You can still see a remnant of the old line if you look at Google Maps, but most of the track has been removed from Niles to Paseo Padre Parkway and from Washington Blvd running south to Warm Springs.

  9. VOR, now I see what you mean. The wide empty bridge to the right is for BART. But there’s room (and supports) to the left of the UP bridge to build a second bridge alongside it. And if you pan up in the original satellite view, you can see a short second bridge already built over the two pipes.

    Likewise, there seems to be enough clearance under Washington for a second freight track (as well as the two BART tracks).

  10. The three structures in place over Paseo Padre are 1) BART, the farthest to the right, 2) UP rail line and 3) the pedestrian overpass to be used in conjunction with the Grimmer Greenbelt Project (red bridge), although the word greenbelt is kind of a joke. The greenbelt would be a narrow strip just wide enough to accommodate the bike path. The rest of the land from Washington to Paseo Padre would be three-story, individual townhouses crammed into this sliver of open space, called Central Park South. So much for greenbelt.

  11. I’m not against it based on NIMBY-ism – my problem is the health ramifications. When I was working on the leadership team at a major environmental toxic non-profit, I saw the impact of diesel on young lungs. It is not just the impact of the train engines – it is also the impact of the trucks waiting in line to get called into the yard to pick up their loads. Take a ride through the Hegenberger Corridor, Fruitvale neighborhood and West Oakland and see all the trucks just idling, waiting for their turn to take their load. The level of carbon emissions is off the charts – headaches, asthma, bronchitis – their aren’t enough carbon credits to keep Fremont residents safe.

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