California Department of Transportation

Rail Planning Branch


The Rail Planning Branch does long-range planning for statewide passenger (high-speed, intercity and commuter) and freight rail systems.  The primary vehicle for this planning is the California State Rail Plan.  The next California State Rail Plan will be delivered in 2017.  In other planning responsibilities, the Branch focuses on intercity passenger rail services as the State funds these services; either the State or Joint Powers Authority (JPA) administer the operation of these services.  The Rail Planning Branch also works in cooperation with other transportation agencies to develop network integration plans for high-speed and conventional rail systems, taking into consideration freight issues.

The Rail Planning Branch coordinates activities with other planning functions and exercises to insure that rail planning is well integrated into Caltrans planning functions.  This includes coordination with the Interregional Transportation Strategic Plan (ITSP), the California Transportation Plan (CTP), and the Statewide Travel Demand Model. 

Both passenger and freight rail networks are owned and operated by various rail partners and the Rail Planning Branch strives to foster partnerships with these rail owner/operators/planners  in order to maintain a coordinated and efficient statewide passenger and freight rail system.

Additional Information


Emily Burstein, Branch Chief
(916) 654-6932

Shelly Chernicki, Rail Transportation Associate
(916) 654-6142

Alan Miller, Rail Transportation Associate
(916) 651-8476

Jan Perschler, Rail Transportation Associate
(916) 653-0754