I’ve always considered it unfortunate that the Golden Gate Bridge, built in 1936, can’t handle railroad traffic. Though understandable, this fact has had far-reaching effects on rail transport in California. Today you can’t take an intercity train into San Francisco, but must travel to Emeryville or Oakland, and then make your way into the City by mass transit or taxi. True, in the case of Oakland you can use BART to get across the bay, but the fact that you have to change trains at all is a deal breaker for many people, who are adverse to the idea of dragging their luggage on a mass transit train which isn’t very well equipped to handle it. Between Los Angeles and San Francisco, there’s no direct rail connection at all; Amtrak sells tickets but a substantial part of the trip must be made by bus. Meanwhile, the coastal railroad only goes about as far north as Pismo Beach, IIRC. I’ve long believed that if the GGB could have accommodated rail traffic, better rail transit between L.A. and S.F. would have been kept alive, and today would be a great alternative to the hassle of airline travel.
Would it have been conceivably possible to make the GGB strong enough for trains? Do any suspension bridges allow rail traffic, or are heavy duty trains just too heavy?