News

Caltrain swaps out old cars for larger ones to prevent overcrowding

 

Starting Tuesday, Caltrain will be replacing some of its trains with larger trains capable of accommodating more passengers, in an effort to avoid overcrowding.

Four train sets that currently use five-car Gallery trains will be replaced with six-car Bombardier trains, Caltrain officials said.

The swap will allow for more passengers to board the four train sets. The four train sets were chosen for the swap because they regularly experience overcrowding, according to Caltrain officials.

The Bombardier trains contain three different passenger-seating levels, with table seating on the top level, compared to the Gallery cars, which only have two passenger levels.

The Bombardier trains, however, can only carry 72 bicycles at a time, while the Gallery trains were capable of carrying 80 bicycles.

Caltrain averages a daily ridership of about 60,000 passengers, Caltrain spokeswoman Tasha Bartholomew said.

While plans to start using electric trains are in the works for Caltrain in the future, that won't happen for roughly four or five years, according to Bartholomew.

In the meantime, Caltrain maintenance crews will service and repair the aging Gallery train cars to ensure the cars remain reliable and safe to use, Caltrain officials said.

Comments

18 people like this
Posted by Mark
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jul 26, 2016 at 11:09 am

Day 1 Report: The new cars are nice but the drop in bicycle capacity may be a problem. Our northbound car this morning was jammed with bikes not only in the racks but in the aisles. If you had to evacuate the car in a hurry it would have been a mess. I hope that CalTrain will address the situation to encourage more bike use around the peninsula.


Like this comment
Posted by pearl
a resident of another community
on Jul 26, 2016 at 8:31 pm

pearl is a registered user.

What are Bombardier trains? Are they the used white train cars that CalTrain purchased from NYC?


17 people like this
Posted by Reader
a resident of another community
on Jul 26, 2016 at 8:44 pm

@pearl:

The Bombardier trains are the white cars with the double sets of doors. As far as I know, there was no purchase from NYC commuter rail systems.

Caltrain purchased the initial rolling stock from Bombardier in 2002 and supplemented them with a small purchase of cars from Sounder commuter rail (Seattle area). All of that rolling stock is painted in the Caltrain red-and-white livery.

More recently, Caltrain purchased some additional cars from Metrolink (a SoCal commuter rail service) and left the blue-and-white livery intact. The main cosmetic change they made to that rolling stock was the repainting of the operating authority, JPBX (Joint Powers Board).


23 people like this
Posted by Reader
a resident of another community
on Jul 26, 2016 at 9:00 pm

@pearl:

You might be thinking about the Budd single-decker cars that were deployed from 2000-2005. They were silver and purchased from a Virginia-DC region commuter rail service. The livery of some of the trains had a blue strip. They were mostly used as special event trains and eventually sold to Grand Canyon Railways.

There's at least one Budd car at the San Francisco Caltrain depot, likely not in a state that would make it sellable.

The only rolling stock Caltrain currently operates are the 1985-era Nippon Sharyo gallery cars and the early 2000s Bombardiers.


Like this comment
Posted by pearl
a resident of another community
on Jul 26, 2016 at 9:53 pm

pearl is a registered user.

@Reader:

Thank you for all that interesting information! I haven't ridden a train since retiring five years ago, so I'm not up on the latest. My dad commuted from Menlo Park to San Francisco and back for 25 years when the train system was owned and operated by Southern Pacific. Today's train cars are much more comfortable and spacious than those cars were, and there were no bicycle cars...probably because not many people rode bikes back then.


10 people like this
Posted by Martin Sommer
a resident of Downtown North
on Jul 26, 2016 at 10:49 pm

> electric trains ... won't happen for roughly four or five years

Why so long? I propose the following:

1. Incentivize contractors financially, to complete the project early.
2. Shut down weekend service, and run two 24 hour construction periods.
3. Target a 2 year completion, vs 5.

Let's get it done!!

Martin


2 people like this
Posted by chris
a resident of University South
on Jul 27, 2016 at 11:31 pm

The white cars were purchased from the LA Area and added as 6th cars to the 5-car Bombardier sets which were bought new about the time that Caltrain began its baby bullet and limited service.


33 people like this
Posted by resident
a resident of Downtown North
on Jul 27, 2016 at 11:39 pm

One reason that electrification is taking so long is that rich NIMBYs in Atherton and Menlo Park sued Caltrain to block electrification, wasting a lot of money and time.


1 person likes this
Posted by maguro_01
a resident of Mountain View
on Jul 28, 2016 at 3:12 pm

"One reason that electrification is taking so long is that rich NIMBYs in Atherton and Menlo Park sued Caltrain to block electrification, wasting a lot of money and time."

Obstruction is so rewarding in both gratification and money that we can just expect more of it - far beyond real self interest.

The different problem of at-grade crossings is likely unsolvable now; any solutions are less and less affordable as the years (decades) go by. NIMBY's, like anyone else, have to live with the results of their work. There will be, we read, more frequent trains with electrification and they will still, by law, have to have horns sounding at each crossing. Decades from now, maybe some developed low speed (magnetic?) Hyperloop or monorail like a pod system with large cars with exit loops at stations may provide a civil tech fix for peninsula transit and eliminate grade crossings. But NIMBY's will block it.

Does electrification mean the end of Caltrain service south of San Jose? There are a few commuter daily trains to Tamien, Gilroy, and between.


4 people like this
Posted by WilliamR
a resident of another community
on Jul 28, 2016 at 4:33 pm

WilliamR is a registered user.

@maguro_01,

My understanding is that Caltrain would continue to use the (old) diesel trains on the runs between Gilroy and SF, and the electric trains between SJ and SF.


19 people like this
Posted by Poor Quality
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jul 28, 2016 at 4:54 pm

I recall that in the early 90s, CalTrain ordered some Bombardier cars and at least one engine. They were of such poor quality that they had to be returned for extensive repairs.


Posted by peninsula resident
a resident of Atherton

on Jul 28, 2016 at 8:52 pm


Remember me?
Forgot Password?
Due to violations of our Terms of Use, comments from this poster are only visible to registered users who are logged in. Use the links at the top of the page to Register or Login.


6 people like this
Posted by Martin Sommer
a resident of Downtown North
on Jul 29, 2016 at 7:14 am

@maguro_01

> ... with electrification and they will still, by law, have to have horns sounding at each crossing ...

Not true! With electrification, comes quad-gates. With quad-gates, trains by law, only need to sound hours if there is "imminent danger". Technically speaking, the whole electrified peninsula (with quad gates), could qualify for a "quite zone".

Wouldn't that be nice!

Martin


3 people like this
Posted by no speed change
a resident of another community
on Jul 29, 2016 at 12:39 pm

@Martin Sommer
"Not true! With electrification, comes quad-gates."

This is not accurate.

Quad-gates (or other SSMs) could come into play if Caltrain ran at a higher speed. However, AFAIK Caltrain will continue to run at <80MPH even if/when electrification is in place, which is the limit for class-4 railway tracks.

There are guidelines, and possibly regulations, in which SSMs are needed for class-5 and 6. See this link here for details: Web Link

But if Caltrain isn't going for a higher speed, then the SSMs are not a requirement.


24 people like this
Posted by Wishing Won't Make It So, BUT....
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 29, 2016 at 1:47 pm

I wish CalTrain would get on with the business of electrifying the tracks! Partly in the interest of reduced noise, but mostly in the interest of reduced air pollution.

The combination of diesel train pollution and the recent increased ridership, plus nonstop all day traffic on Alma, has turned me into a shut-in! I have to stay indoors during high auto and train traffic hours, where the air filters in my home can remove the pollutants.

Recommended filter cleaning is every four weeks, but the level of pollutants THREE BLOCKS away from Alma clogs the filters with black filth within two weeks!


7 people like this
Posted by Martin Sommer
a resident of Downtown North
on Aug 2, 2016 at 4:43 am

@no speed change

At a recent HSR meeting in Mountain View, Caltrain announced that the new electric trains will be operating at around 100 mph, with quad-gates at all grade-level crossings.

Martin


Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

He said – she said – who is lying? Justice Brett Kavanaugh or PA resident Christine Ford
By Diana Diamond | 69 comments | 5,700 views

Let's Talk Internships
By John Raftrey and Lori McCormick | 0 comments | 853 views

Couples: Sex and Connection (Chicken or Egg?)
By Chandrama Anderson | 0 comments | 640 views

Zucchini Takeover
By Laura Stec | 0 comments | 586 views