CALTRAIN GOES ELECTRIC... On Saturday, federal and state officials joined Caltrain representatives for the public unveiling of its new electric train cars. Serving as the centerpiece of the Caltrain Electrification Project, these new high-performance trains will offer better service to riders by generating less noise than diesel train engines, which also will benefit residents living near tracks, according to a press release. "The Bay Area is the high-tech capital of the world, and it deserves a transportation system that reflects that," said Congresswoman Anna Eshoo (D-Palo Alto). "The tracks that were laid in the time of the steam engine will carry modern, electric trains along the Peninsula, perfectly symbolizing our spirit of innovation and dynamic change." In addition to their technological advances, these new train sets will include seven cars, unlike the current standard of five or six cars per set. Caltrain plans to put these new trains into service in 2024, using the time before they join the fleet to test the trains and the infrastructure they will rely on, according to the press release. The corridor between the San Francisco Caltrain Station and the Tamien Station in San Jose is planned to be electrified as part of the Caltrain Electrification Project. Visual tours of the electric trains are available at caltrain.com and public tours are planned for early 2023.
ZOO'S FLAMINGOS GO INTO HIDING ... Concerned about a bird flu outbreak, the Palo Alto Junior Museum and Zoo has removed its birds from public viewing and canceled all bird interactions, including the popular flamingo feeding activity, until further notice. Avian influenza in wild birds and poultry is common in the U.S., but typically poses low risk to humans, according to the museum's website. The outbreaks do pose a threat to local birds, however, and the zoo is taking precautions to protect its feathered inhabitants. The current outbreak of avian influenza is highly pathogenic, according to a press release from Santa Clara Valley Audubon Society. Four cases were detected in Canada geese and red-tailed hawks in Santa Clara County in August and early September. Avian influenza typically is restricted to aquatic birds. "This is primarily because of the watery habitat they enjoy, which assists in the spread of the virus," Matthew Dodder, executive director of Santa Clara Valley Audubon Society, said in an email. "It is well known that wildfowl, particularly ducks and geese, will make use of small urban ponds and pools." To replace its bird activities, the zoo is offering interactive Zookeeper Talks throughout the day. More information about avian influenza, including how to protect the zoo's birds, can be found at paloaltozoo.org.
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