Caltrain budget proposes reduced maintenance of failure-prone equipment; cuts to bike parking program

Caltrain’s proposed 2018 capital budget eliminates $35 million of maintenance projects, including cuts to planned overhauls of elderly and failure-prone MP36 locomotives, gallery cars, and Bombardier cars.  The last time Caltrain cut back on maintenance of aging equipment in 2011/12, the consequence was more frequent breakdowns and customer delays. (Anybody have fond memories of the 905 minutes of mechanical delays in March 2012?)

The capital budget also eliminates $500,000 previously budgeted the bike parking management plan (along with other proposed cuts, see below).  The bike parking program was intended to give people who use bikes for Caltrain first-mile access (but not last-mile) with secure options other than bringing bikes onto crowded trains, relieving the risk of bike bumps.  Since the planning process is scheduled to wrap up this summer, the money proposed to be cut would be used for implementation of the plan, i.e. adding adding bike storage.

The screenshots below from Caltrain’s board budget staff report show the proposed cuts to capital spending, and the specific bicycle parking item in the detailed listing from  Attachment A of the Capital budget.

The proposed budget is subject to change. If you want to see Caltrain maintaining their aging equipment before electric service goes live, and want to improve bike security and reduce the risk of bike bumps, send a note to the Caltrain board,, and send us a copy at

This time, it’s VTA having trouble paying its Caltrain bills

The cuts to capital funding, and operating funding leading to a premature fare increase, were triggered in this budget cycle, by the VTA’s inability to pay its share of its Caltrain bill.   Especially for Santa Clara County residents who supported Measure B’s strong package of future Caltrain improvements, this is disappointing. Stay tuned for more what you can do to help Caltrain balance its budget without maintenance cuts and to encourage VTA to pay its Caltrain bill.

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