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Caltrain electrification is coming to Palo Alto. What should you expect?

Original post made on Jan 29, 2020

Caltrain's plan to electrify its trains is about to roll through Palo Alto, where crews are preparing to install nearly 200 poles along the railroad tracks.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Wednesday, January 29, 2020, 9:45 AM

Comments (10)

33 people like this
Posted by the sooner the better
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jan 29, 2020 at 9:52 am

We need better public transportation on the peninsula. Caltrain is standing-room-only during commute hours, which is really difficult for people who aren't strong and fit. Limited capacity is pushing more people into private cars, causing traffic jams and traffic collisions and increased air pollution all over town. The sooner they can fix Caltrain, the better.

17 people like this
Posted by Arthur Keller
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Jan 29, 2020 at 10:47 am

Please note that the lane closure on Alma is temporary and only for construction vehicle access to the tracks. It's for as long as several weeks, not permanent.

8 people like this
Posted by James Thurber
a resident of Mountain View
on Jan 29, 2020 at 10:52 am

Great we're moving to electric power but (BUT) the current state of the rain cars and track is pretty miserable.

Alas, I'm spoiled. I've ridden trains in Europe which show how well a rail system CAN be run.

I also just returned from New Mexico taking the Rail Runner from Albuquerque to Santa Fe. Smooth. Fast. Comfortable. All three things that Caltrain is not (at the moment).

Time to replace wheel bearings, ensure the track is smooth and upgrade the cars along WITH the engines as Caltrain moves into the future . . . with electricity.

16 people like this
Posted by George
a resident of Midtown
on Jan 29, 2020 at 11:01 am

@James Thurber: All of that is already coming. All of the Caltrain train sets are being replaced with electric train sets. A few of the existing train sets will be saved so that service between SJ and Gilroy can still run.

10 people like this
Posted by Arthur Keller
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Jan 29, 2020 at 11:32 am

@ George
Only about 75% of the Caltrain train sets will be new. That means we will still have the diesel train sets operating beyond those going to Gilroy. The oldest train sets will be retired, however.

15 people like this
Posted by Curmudgeon
a resident of Downtown North
on Jan 29, 2020 at 4:29 pm

"a project that will allow Caltrain to increase its service from five to six trains per hour in each direction during peak commute hours."

All that fuss and money for only 20% service increase, and only in rush hour? Come on. Buy some real diesels and you're there.

12 people like this
Posted by Ahem
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 29, 2020 at 6:56 pm

Have to agree with Curmudgeon. 20% is not much bang for the buck.

Well, unless you are Caltrain and its not your buck, or you are a real-estate developer and Caltrain's increased capacity gets you out of having to provide adequate parking in your next project. Then it a great deal.

10 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of another community
on Jan 29, 2020 at 7:20 pm

Good for the environment, but the electric wires don't look so nice.
Just look at Portland or Tokyo.
I guess this is what the Bay Area has turned into - another over populated ugly dense city.

The original rail line was never intended to handle high speed trains.
When I was a kid, I had to cross those tracks to go to school every day - no suicides. The train went so slow between the stations that kids could be on the track and always get out of the way in time. Not now!

How about re-routing those tracks to run down Bay Shore freeway?
It would move the noise and congestion to the periphery of the city, instead of being in the center of the city, and near our school. Things would be much better.

2 people like this
Posted by Rational
a resident of Downtown North
on Jan 31, 2020 at 6:52 am

Glad this is finally happening. I don’t like the 20% capacity increase but, I would like to see two additional benefits: shorter trip time (electric trains can accelerate faster, give back energy when decelerating) and every train stops at every station even with a shorter trip time. Heard about this in the past but not in this article.

Note that electric trains are quieter, and with eventual elimination of grade crossings much fewer horns will be needed.

Trains need to go through center of town — otherwise commuters need taxis to go downtown. Makes no sense.

Like this comment
Posted by HUTCH 7.62
a resident of Portola Valley
on Jan 31, 2020 at 10:16 pm

Can’t wait for Gavin’s super train whisking valley commuters past PA at 200 mph! Maybe I’ll buy some rentals cheap along the ROW

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