News

Caltrain launches work on paralleling station in Palo Alto

Project may impact traffic on Page Mill Road

Caltrain plans to start installing this week a paralleling station like the one depicted in this photo on its right-of-way on Page Mill Road. Courtesy Caltrain.

As part of its effort to electrify its train fleet, Caltrain is beginning work this week on a paralleling station on Page Mill Road in Palo Alto.

The unmanned station, which is required to regulate power to the newly electrified train system, is one of several such stations that Caltrain is building along its corridor. It consists of two box-like structures — a transformer and a control house — and two 50-foot-tall gantries to support the wires perpendicular to the tracks.

The gantries connect to the overhead contract system and provide power to the trains. Caltrain plans to install one such structure near the transformer and another one on the other side of the tracks.

The paralleling station will go up on Caltrain's right-of-way at 187 Page Mill Road, according to the agency's announcement. The agency plans to start setting up the construction area for the project Tuesday on Page Mill Road, between Sheridan Avenue and Park Boulevard. The station is expected to be completed in January 2021.

While the agency does not plan to close Page Mill Road during the construction, local businesses may experience some traffic delays due to these activities, according to Caltrain. Most of the work is set to take place on weekdays, between 6 a.m. and 3 p.m., according to Caltrain, though there may be some night and weekend work. Crews will remove and prune trees and lay a concrete pad before installing the transformer and gantry structures. They will be using excavation equipment and dump trucks to remove and deliver materials, according to the agency.

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The paralleling station is the latest step in Caltrain's phased electrification project, which launched in 2017 in San Mateo County and San Jose before moving on to San Francisco and north Santa Clara County. Caltrain has been installing about 3,000 poles throughout the 51-mile segment between San Francisco and San Jose, which includes 196 poles in Palo Alto.

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Caltrain launches work on paralleling station in Palo Alto

Project may impact traffic on Page Mill Road

by / Palo Alto Weekly

Uploaded: Tue, Jun 9, 2020, 9:44 am

As part of its effort to electrify its train fleet, Caltrain is beginning work this week on a paralleling station on Page Mill Road in Palo Alto.

The unmanned station, which is required to regulate power to the newly electrified train system, is one of several such stations that Caltrain is building along its corridor. It consists of two box-like structures — a transformer and a control house — and two 50-foot-tall gantries to support the wires perpendicular to the tracks.

The gantries connect to the overhead contract system and provide power to the trains. Caltrain plans to install one such structure near the transformer and another one on the other side of the tracks.

The paralleling station will go up on Caltrain's right-of-way at 187 Page Mill Road, according to the agency's announcement. The agency plans to start setting up the construction area for the project Tuesday on Page Mill Road, between Sheridan Avenue and Park Boulevard. The station is expected to be completed in January 2021.

While the agency does not plan to close Page Mill Road during the construction, local businesses may experience some traffic delays due to these activities, according to Caltrain. Most of the work is set to take place on weekdays, between 6 a.m. and 3 p.m., according to Caltrain, though there may be some night and weekend work. Crews will remove and prune trees and lay a concrete pad before installing the transformer and gantry structures. They will be using excavation equipment and dump trucks to remove and deliver materials, according to the agency.

The paralleling station is the latest step in Caltrain's phased electrification project, which launched in 2017 in San Mateo County and San Jose before moving on to San Francisco and north Santa Clara County. Caltrain has been installing about 3,000 poles throughout the 51-mile segment between San Francisco and San Jose, which includes 196 poles in Palo Alto.

Comments

James Thurber
Mountain View
on Jun 9, 2020 at 1:36 pm
James Thurber, Mountain View
on Jun 9, 2020 at 1:36 pm
9 people like this

I am personally delighted that Caltrain is electrifying. Let's hope the new trains have a better ride then the old ones we currently have. Double down and resurface the track and we could have a nearly European train / commute system. Nothing as nice as silent, high speed trains.

Three cheers (and five stars) for Caltrain for making the move to electricity.


Marie
South of Midtown
on Jun 9, 2020 at 1:56 pm
Marie, South of Midtown
on Jun 9, 2020 at 1:56 pm
19 people like this

The message I got from Caltrain is that they are closing a lane on Page Mill next to their construction from now until January. Of course that will disrupt traffic. Did I miss something?


Ahem
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 9, 2020 at 2:11 pm
Ahem, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 9, 2020 at 2:11 pm
24 people like this

In the post-COVID world we need to harden our world against future pandemics by moving away from poorly ventilated and overcrowded transportation systems that accelerate the transmission of disease.

Not reported in the weekly but another local paper reported Caltrain use is down 97%!

Caltrain use will not be coming back. Caltrain users understand germ theory better than Caltrain management and are avoiding Caltrain like the plague. We need to figure out a way to claw back the hundreds of millions of dollars being wasted on these projects that no longer make sense in the post-COVID world.

The money being wasted on Caltrain electrification should be used to provide financial assistance to Caltrain users unable to afford an automobile and ride-share passes for those who are not able to drive.

Traffic is a little bit like living. It's not always fun, but it is a lot better than the alternative.


Donald
South of Midtown
on Jun 9, 2020 at 4:21 pm
Donald, South of Midtown
on Jun 9, 2020 at 4:21 pm
4 people like this

Marie, did you look at where 187 Page Mill Rd is? It is right next to the tracks, on a little-used stretch of Page Mill that dead-ends in a parking lot. This is NOT the busy part west of El Camino.


Evan
Crescent Park
on Jun 9, 2020 at 9:30 pm
Evan, Crescent Park
on Jun 9, 2020 at 9:30 pm
7 people like this

WoooO! Electrification can't come fast enough. So excited to finally have a quiet, fast railroad here. Been waiting a lifetime!


Ahem
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 9, 2020 at 11:49 pm
Ahem, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 9, 2020 at 11:49 pm
19 people like this

@Evan,

Sorry to burst your bubble but electric trains are far from silent. Motors, bearings, wheels, brakes, the pantograph dragging on the power lines, and the large blunt air-frame all generate noise.

In fact, at higher speeds air-frame noise, also known as aerodynamic noise, becomes the dominant source of noise making a faster electric train just as noisy as its slower diesel cousin.

But, not to worry. You won't be disturbed by train noise in Crescent Park.


Maartin
another community
on Jun 10, 2020 at 2:20 am
Maartin, another community
on Jun 10, 2020 at 2:20 am
7 people like this

@Ahem,

You seem to have a poor knowledge of the progress technology has made in terms of noise trains generate. I am not living in the US, but on the boarder of a country which has one of the most dense train traffic in the world. Although it is true that even electrified trains are not silent, they are almost not noticeable depending on the angle you see them. From my experience with the US trains, the most irritating is their horns and bells which from my point of view are much more polluting than the noise generated by the displacement of a train. The US need to be urgently modernized! Your writing is very sad in a world which needs to change in terms of how we treat the planet.


Vecina
Ventura
on Jun 10, 2020 at 1:58 pm
Vecina, Ventura
on Jun 10, 2020 at 1:58 pm
2 people like this

The Palo Alto Train noise and vibration study shows a decrease in noise from grade separation due to reduction in horn blowing and reduction in noise from diesel engines.

And while the consultant didn't model the correct electric train design (they assumed a single electric engine vs Caltrain's EMU [electric multiple-unit] trainset), the new electric trains are supposed to be quieter than existing diesel trains. EMU's have electric motors mounted low on the trainset which should be dampened by any new sound walls built on grade separation projects.


james
College Terrace
on Jun 10, 2020 at 4:43 pm
james, College Terrace
on Jun 10, 2020 at 4:43 pm
2 people like this

Potentially shocking news.


The Dude
Barron Park
on Jun 10, 2020 at 10:50 pm
The Dude, Barron Park
on Jun 10, 2020 at 10:50 pm
2 people like this

Marie: This is not the Page Mill you are looking for ;-)

The busy street that goes under the tracks is Oregon Expressway. They are not closing that one. Page Mill and Oregon form intersection about halfway between El Camino and the tracks. The section of Page between its intersection with Oregon and the tracks is this teeny-tiny street that looks more like an Oregon Expressway onramp than a street. And the section of the street that'd be affected is between Park avenue and tracks, not the "onramp looking" part, so yeah, virtually zero effect on traffic.


The Dude
Barron Park
on Jun 10, 2020 at 10:57 pm
The Dude, Barron Park
on Jun 10, 2020 at 10:57 pm
Like this comment

@Ahem:

Don't see what argument you are trying to make. Of course the ridership dropped with lockdowns and everything. The pandemic will pass. Just like Spanish Flu did. People will get back on trains, just like we'll all start flying again. Or do you plan driving from San Francisco to New York and back 5 times a month?

This is a long term capital investment. Something we build to use for the next 50+ years.


musical
Palo Verde
on Jun 10, 2020 at 11:50 pm
musical, Palo Verde
on Jun 10, 2020 at 11:50 pm
2 people like this

^ Street is so teeny-tiny that we just installed a new traffic signal light on it.


The Dude
Barron Park
on Jun 11, 2020 at 10:52 pm
The Dude, Barron Park
on Jun 11, 2020 at 10:52 pm
Like this comment

^--- A traffic light at intersection of Park and Page? Now that is a waste of taxpayer money ;-)

They should have simply put stop signs on Page, and let Park have right of way.


musical
Palo Verde
on Jun 12, 2020 at 2:26 am
musical, Palo Verde
on Jun 12, 2020 at 2:26 am
2 people like this

^ Anticipation of 20,000 new drivers residing at rezoned Fry's site.


Martin
Downtown North
on Jun 13, 2020 at 11:56 pm
Martin, Downtown North
on Jun 13, 2020 at 11:56 pm
Like this comment

@Ahem,

Countries that got over the pandemic like HK, Korea, Singapore and Japan showed that transit isn't a factor in getting over Covid-19. You can ride a subway safely.

Plus, this is one vaccine that people will want to get.


Ahem
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 14, 2020 at 1:56 am
Ahem, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 14, 2020 at 1:56 am
Like this comment

@Maartin (a resident of Downtown North),

One has to wonder why someone "...not living in the US, but on the boarder of a country which has one of the most dense train traffic in the world" has been so obsessed with posting comments about such a small rail line so very far away and why someone living so very far away would pretend to be a Palo Alto resident for so many years?

Just wondering, does that "country which has one of the most dense train traffic in the world" also employ people to market and sell rail cars?


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