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The Green Caltrain blog is sponsored by BayRail Alliance, an all-volunteer non-profit organization supporting green rail transit in the Bay Area. This blog and BayRail have no affiliation with Caltrain.


Caltrain’s plans for longer platforms and longer trains

At last week’s Local Policy Maker Working Group, Caltrain shared information about what it will take to extend its platforms to handle longer trains.  As rush hour trains get more and more crowded, the added capacity will be needed to to carry more riders.

Out of 27 stations from San Francisco to Tamien, nine could handle longer trains, six could handle longer trains with relatively easy modifications, and 12 could handle longer trains with more extensive modifications.   For example, 4th and King and Diridon are plenty long already, while the Mountain View station would need to move pedestrian crossing gates.

Currently Caltrain runs 5 car trains; it has an offer in to Metrolink to buy some used railcars to add a sixth car.  The sixth car could be handled with minor modifications to a couple of stations; handling up to 8 cars would take more work.

Caltrain estimates that the cost of a platform extension would be $1-$2 million on average. The cost of moving to level boarding was not included. It’s not clear why not, since it would seem logical to modify platforms once.

Also, it would seem logical to start by modifying the stations with baby bullet stops first, since that is where the capacity is needed.  Since the baby bullet stations are used by major employers have major transit oriented developments, and/or transportation management associations, there might be opportunities for public/private partnerships to help fund the extensions.  (top 10 stations are in italics).  Caltrain’s presentation is likely to get posted on this page.

Stations needing platform modifications for 8 car trains
No extension needed  Extensions needed Substantial  modifications
4th and King Belmont 22nd Street
Bayshore California Avenue Atherton
Diridon San Antonio Broadway
Lawrence San Carlos Burlingame
Millbrae San Mateo College Park
Palo Alto Santa Clara (SB) Hayward Park
San Bruno Hillsdale
Santa Clara (NB) Menlo Park
Stanford Mountain View
Tamien Redwood City
South San Francisco
Sunnyvale

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