At this evening’s board meeting the VTA board is considering allocating $750,000 for a study of increased Caltrain service to South San Jose and South Santa Clara County.Â This is a very good direction, since Caltrain’s business plan indicates that there is substantial pent-up demand, especially in South San Jose – ridership could increase from 300 today to 3,500-4,000 with 15-minute service.
Service increases would need to move forward in multiple stages. There is already an opportunity and funding to add a 4th daily diesel train, using rights Caltrain already has, and funding that VTA has raised with Measure B. This service could start after Caltrain finishes overhauling some older diesel locomotives in 2021.Â VTA is also proposing to allocateÂ $4.3M of the Measure B funding to contribute to the locomotive overhaul which is needed to free up enough trains to run the service.
After that, there’s an opportunity to electrify service between Tamien and Gilroy.Â The State of California / High Speed Rail Authority are negotiating with Union Pacific for rights to operate electric service, that would eventually be shared with High Speed Rail.Â Those negotiations continue – this project is seen by the state as beneficial regardless of how soon there may be long-distance train service between San Jose, the Central Valley, and Southern California.
At today’s Caltrain board meeting, a City Council member from Gilroy and a business leader from Morgan Hill spoke in favor of increased service as soon as possible.Â San Jose Council Member Jimenez, who represents the district with the two underserved South San Jose stations, also strongly supports the increase in service.
At VTA’s policy committee meeting, there were some objections to VTA’s contribution to the locomotive rehab project which will allow Caltrain to run the South County service.Â The funding being recommended for board approval today.
If you want to see increased South San Jose/South County service, send a note to the VTA board, email@example.com and Caltrain board, firstname.lastname@example.org.Â Feel free to copy us, email@example.com