Biden admin. grants $20mil to convert Fresno’s historic train depot for high-speed rail

A major grant from the Biden administration will see Fresno’s historic depot be incorporated into the high-speed rail vision.

A $20 million grant from the Federal Railroad Administration will help pay for restoration of Fresno’s historic Southern Pacific train depot and its surrounding plazas, which will eventually tie in with a future high-speed rail passenger station.

The grant award came from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s RAISE (Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity) program, which received more than 162 applications and distributed over $2.2 billion nationwide.


Driving the news: The project will include “the renovation, modernization and preservation” of the historic passenger depot building as well as electric vehicle charging infrastructure and space for future transit charging in anticipation of the future California high-speed rail multi-modal station.

  • Margaret Cederoth, the rail authority’s director of planning and sustainability said, “The historic depot structures, which have seen a lack of investment for 50 years, will be returned to a state of good repair.”
  • The upgraded high-speed rail passenger station is expected to include a landscaped and elevated terrace and a terminal with retail and restaurant offerings for passengers and visitors, while the historic depot will be incorporated into the development of the bullet-train station.
  • Plans also call for the development of two plazas as part of “early site activation” efforts to entice visitors to downtown and the neighboring Chinatown district years before high-speed trains commence their operations between 2030 and 2033.

The backstory: The Fresno depot was built in 1889 and closed in 1971 due to the decline in passenger travel by rail. The California High-Speed Rail Authority sought $25 million from the RAISE program, which covered about 60% of the anticipated $33.2 million project cost.

  • The old depot sits on the H Street side of the Union Pacific Railroad freight tracks between Fresno and Tulare streets.
  • Fresno leaders are excited about the grant as it is seen as a step toward reducing blight in the downtown and Chinatown districts of the city.
  • Margaret Cederoth said the renovation construction is expected to start and conclude by 2026.

Related Posts