Caltrain to buy new cars to ease commute crowding

16 cars will add seating capacity to peak-hour trains, rail officials say

Caltrain officials announced Thursday plans to purchase 16 surplus Metrolink rail cars that will be used to extend train sets and provide more capacity for peak-hour trains.

The Bombardier Bi-Level Generation 2 rail cars are being purchased from Southern California Regional Rail Authority.

Caltrain officials estimate the cars, which will require substantial rehabilitation, could be in service in a year, according to a press release on Sept. 4.

The total cost of purchasing and renovating the equipment is estimated at $15 million, according to Caltrain officials.

Caltrain is purchasing the cars to provide short-term capacity relief on peak-hour trains that frequently experience standing-room-only conditions.

Officials said the majority of the funding for the purchase will be covered by a farebox revenue bond. The remaining funds will be covered by reinvesting surplus farebox revenue, which has seen record returns due to increased ridership.

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2 people like this
Posted by parent
a resident of Midtown
on Sep 5, 2014 at 3:55 pm

Highway traffic on the peninsula has gotten much worse in recent years. More people want to take the train to work, but standing in a crowded and bumpy train for an hour is really uncomfortable, especially for people who are not in great physical condition. I am glad that Caltrain is taking steps to increase their capacity.

2 people like this
Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Sep 5, 2014 at 4:23 pm

Does this purchase of 16 cars include the eleven announced last January?
Web Link

2 people like this
Posted by The downside
a resident of Professorville
on Sep 5, 2014 at 4:28 pm

The only downside to this is that it will be even harder and and take even longer to cross the RR tracks during peak hours because the trains will be longer. The CalTrain tracks will divide the city in half more than ever.

2 people like this
Posted by Robert
a resident of another community
on Sep 5, 2014 at 5:13 pm

@The downside

...wait, are you serious?

Like this comment
Posted by Adina
a resident of another community
on Sep 5, 2014 at 7:30 pm

@musical yes

Like this comment
Posted by resident 1
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Sep 5, 2014 at 7:48 pm

Yeah - great idea. How about some brand new high tech locomotives from the AMTRACK group? They can replace the oldest diesel units.

3 people like this
Posted by Pat Burt
a resident of Community Center
on Sep 5, 2014 at 10:30 pm

@The Downside
The additional cars will only add about 1 second per gate downtime. Longer trains will have a barely measurable impact on our abilities to cross the tracks, whereas more trains per hour have a a significant impact. This is the better way to increase Caltrain capacity.

1 person likes this
Posted by Donald
a resident of South of Midtown
on Sep 6, 2014 at 7:53 am

It doesn't sound as if these are new cars, as stated in the headline, if it will take a year to renovate them. It sounds as if they are additional, used cars. Which is correct?

2 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 6, 2014 at 8:30 am

From what other news media are saying, these are not new cars but second hand, having been used in Los Angeles. They need renovating before they can be used on Caltrain and they will be gradually brought in. They will be replacing all the rolling stock when electrification occurs (in about 5 years).

The headline should say additional cars, not new cars.

Like this comment
Posted by Donald
a resident of South of Midtown
on Sep 6, 2014 at 8:50 am

Caltrain will be having public meetingsto gather input on what their truly NEW cars should look like (after electrification). Here is the page with the schedule for those meetings:
Web Link

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