TYPSA group will design the first high-speed railway in the USA

The California High-Speed Rail Authority has chosen the SYSTRA/TYPSA Joint Venture to carry out design services for track and electrification of the high-speed line connecting Merced and Bakersfield, California. This 171-mile (275 km) stretch is part of the first high-speed railway in the USA, connecting the main towns of California. 

The Authority is responsible for planning, designing, building, and operating the first high-speed rail system in the nation, and aims to complete construction and begin functionality testing on the first segment between Madera and Poplar Avenue by the end of 2028, and begin operations on the Merced-Fresno-Bakersfield segment between 2030 and 2033. The initial 119-mile (191 km) section is currently under construction and is a crucial part of these goals, as it will serve as the test track, necessary for certification from the Federal Railroad Administration. 

The SYSTRA/TYPSA Joint Venture will provide design services for the track and Overhead Contact Systems (OCS) for the section, including the design of the entire track and OCS network, along-track cable containment, access walkways, drainage systems, and fencing. SYSTRA/TYPSA will collaborate intensively with the future track and OCS construction contractor, during the design phase and during construction, as well as with other interfacing contractors (trainsets, traction power, signaling and communications contractors) to ensure the system as a whole is integrated. 

The scope of work will be delivered in phases, and detailed through subsequent Task Orders issued by Authority staff for work that include:  

  • Preparation of the design and support during construction of the track system and OCS, together with the other abovementioned elements, on the Merced-Bakersfield stretch.  
  • Production of high-level designs for maintenance of track, sidings, Trainset Certification Facility, and light/heavy maintenance facilities.  
  • Detailed design of the track, OCS and other elements on the segment, between Madera and Poplar Avenue, north of Bakersfield and currently under construction. 
  • Collaboration with the Authority and the track and OCS construction contractor, trainsets supplier, and the different system designers and constructors, to ensure optimal design and operability of technical interfaces. 
  • Managing technical and non-technical interfaces with contractors and consultants in areas of civil engineering, track systems and OCS construction, MEP facilities, station design and other relevant systems. 

The contract will ensure compliance of the support track and OCS elements with the Authority’s Reliability Availability Maintainability (RAM) Management Plan, and the implementation of the Building Information Modelling (BIM) system for the development of the initial digital model of the entire rail system, stations, operations centre, and maintenance facilities. 

In accordance with current legislation in California, SYSTRA/TYPSA has partnered with 19 small local businesses who will participate in this contract, including disadvantaged sectors and diversity represented groups, such as veterans, disabled and LGBTBE. 

This project is a unique opportunity for TYPSA, together with its subsidiary AZTEC, to gain ground in high-speed rail development in the north American market. 



Carlos Tarazaga
Head of Railway Engineering - USA

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