Arup and Foster + Partners have revealed the latest designs for California High-Speed Rail’s first four stations. 

Working collaboratively in a joint venture, Arup and Foster + Partners recently took part in a series of public ‘open house’ sessions with local communities, businesses, agencies, and other key stakeholders, which will inform the development of the station designs. The team is overseeing the architecture and engineering for the new Central Valley stations, which will serve as models of design for others planned along the entire 500-mile Los Angeles/Anaheim to San Francisco system.  

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There will be ongoing engagement with key stakeholders through the summer and autumn, with the next round of public ‘open house’ meetings in the winter of 2024-25. When operating state-wide, California High-Speed Rail will allow passengers to travel from Los Angeles to San Francisco in under three hours and take approximately half a million cars off the road annually. 

There will also be an opportunity for the public to learn more about the high-speed rail stations, see renderings of what those stations will look like, check out some 3-D station models, and talk with California High-Speed Rail Authority planning experts at their high-speed rail exhibit at the California State Fair in Sacramento running from July 12-28.  

Stefan Behling, Head of Studio, Foster + Partners, said: “We are honored to be part of this once-in-a- generation project that will connect California’s urban fabric with the agricultural heartland, transform local communities, and completely revolutionize the way people travel across the state. We are developing an architectural language for the four Central Valley stations, including soaring canopies that draw in fresh air and shield waiting passengers from harsh sunlight. The station design reflects the sustainable ethos of the wider project.”  

David Summerfield, Head of Studio, Foster + Partners, added: “It is a great privilege to be making a contribution to this transformative project, which will reconnect communities across the state of California and have exceedingly high environmental benefits for the whole country.”  

John Eddy, Project Manager, Arup, noted: “The excitement high-speed rail is generating in the four Central Valley cities is tremendous. Residents expressed their pride in being the first to receive high-speed rail service and their appreciation for the economic uplift provided by the current construction and the promise of more economic growth when the system is in operation. We look forward to future engagements with these welcoming cities to confirm we are capturing each of their identities while setting the standard for the entirety of California’s high-speed rail stations.” 

“In the Central Valley, we are engaging with the communities to identify station-site activities that will spur economic growth and a sense of community,” said Meg Cederoth, Authority Director of Planning and Sustainability. “We’re receiving important feedback from city leaders, transit agencies, regional transportation authorities, business organizations, community and public organizations, academic institutions, and non-profits throughout the Valley as we work together to advance these stations.” 

The first four stations


Building on the historical link between Merced and Yosemite Valley, this city with a rapidly growing university and college will benefit from high-speed rail connections to the Central Valley and the future connection to the San Francisco Bay Area. The new Merced station will incorporate a pedestrian bridge crossing over freight tracks that currently divide the city. The crossing will align with the existing city grid, directly connecting downtown with the station concourse and will significantly improve pedestrian flows across Merced. A new flexible outdoor plaza, on 16th Street, will provide a local community space and activate the station.  


The Fresno station will reconnect downtown and Chinatown, via an elevated pedestrian crossing that restores the city grid along Mariposa Street. Available to use throughout the day and night, the crossing will create a public connection between these two parts of the city and will act as a catalyst for future economic growth and investment in Chinatown. Landscaped plazas on either side of the crossing will provide new community spaces for early activation. The high-speed rail station site will also incorporate the restoration of the historic depot.  

Kings Tulare  

A short distance away from the city of Hanford, the Kings Tulare station is designed to create a streamlined experience for those arriving by bus, car, or bicycle. The elevated platforms and protective canopy will be added to the Hanford viaduct currently under construction. All of the station’s services and amenities will be located directly below, creating an easy and intuitive passenger journey. The adjacent public plaza will serve as a local community asset.  


The Bakersfield station will be the southern terminus of California High-Speed Rail’s Central Valley initial segment, with future connections already planned to Los Angeles and Anaheim to the south. The design creates a linear park that runs underneath a new viaduct, directly connecting downtown Bakersfield and the Kern River Corridor with a variety of shaded outdoor public spaces and recreation facilities. Looking ahead, there are plans for a transit-oriented development adjacent to the viaduct from the river corridor all the way to Chester Avenue.  

California High-Speed Rail is under construction in the Central Valley today with the goal of having the first operable line complete between 2030-2033.