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Monterey Branch Line

May contain: road, freeway, and highway

The Monterey Peninsula Fixed Guideway Service will provide express transit service using the existing Monterey Branch Line alignment, which was purchased by the Transportation Agency in 2003 for $9.3 million. The 16-mile corridor extends between Monterey and Castroville on the publicly owned tracks adjacent to Highway 1. The current project for this corridor is the SURF! Busway and Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) project (see SURF! links in sidebar). The future (unfunded) plans for this corridor include a light rail transit service between Monterey and Marina, serving local commute traffic needs, and a round-the-bay service to Santa Cruz (see Network Integration Study links in sidebar).

Proposed Light Rail Project

The first phase of the light rail transit project will run between Monterey and north Marina with key stations in Monterey, Seaside, Sand City, Marina/CSUMB, and connecting bus service to Pacific Grove and Carmel to the south and Salinas to the east. Later phases will extend light rail service to the planned commuter rail station in Castroville and increase the frequency of trains. Unfortunately, the project currently lacks funding, and has been delayed until TAMC can secure the funds needed to complete the environmental review, design, and construction. See below for links to relevant historical documentation, frequently asked questions, and studies.

Project Benefits

  • Improves access between Monterey and Marina
  • Facilitates access to jobs, health care, shopping
  • Provides alternative to traffic congestion
  • Reduces commuter stress
  • Promotes economic development around stations

Phased Implementation

In advance of securing funding for the light rail project, TAMC is coordinating with Monterey-Salinas Transit (MST) to explore using the corridor for rapid bus service to build ridership and provide an alternative to Highway 1. MST adopted the final environmental review of the proposed busway in June 2021. See sidebar or go to the MST SURF! Project website to learn more.

Christina Watson is the Transportation Agency for Monterey County’s rail program planner. If you have any questions, you can reach her at (831) 775-4406, or via email at: christina (at)