Three tracks, shared platforms recommended for entrance to Salesforce/Transbay

“Three tunnel tracks are required to provide reliable and dependable service into the Salesforce Transit Center” is the conclusion of a peer review study of the approach of the “downtown extension” tracks connecting Caltrain and High Speed Rail to the Salesforce Transbay terminal. The peer review study was intended to address a debate about whether two tracks would be enough to meet the needs of Caltrain and High Speed Rail service – the answer was a clear “no.”The study also concludes that Caltrain and High Speed Rail need to share platforms, in order to deliver the full expected service. The report concludes “The Salesforce Transit Center capacity plan of four high-speed trains and six Caltrain trains per peak hour cannot be assured unless both services can use all platforms.”  The results of the peer review study will be presented to the SFCTA board on April 10th, agenda 16.

Next step – a decision about the Downtown Extension Alignment
The throat design peer review study is one of two key pieces San Francisco needs to move ahead with the Downtown Extension project. The other major missing piece is a conclusion from the “RAB” study of alignment alternatives.   Recommendations from that study are expected to be made public within the coming month.
Caltrain, High Speed Rail need to make station sharing, level boarding decisions
The conclusion adds incentive to Caltrain and High Speed Rail to figure out their strategies for the other two shared stations at Millbrae and Diridon, and to Caltrain to figure out its strategy to provide level boarding.  Caltrain’s electric trains are being built with an extra set of “ghost doors” (shown in yellow in the illustration below), that would allow it to share platforms with High Speed Rail assuming HSR continues to prefer high-platform trains, at the cost of removing some seats on the train.