Comments: 804 • Responses: 46  • Date: 

thatsreallynotme190 karma

Will the new trains have regenerative braking?

Caltrain_News244 karma


conspirator_schlotti175 karma

Are you looking into somewhat expanding the late schedules so those of us who live in the South Bay can return from the city at night?

Also, are you trying to automate the trains? Automation should make denser schedules more cost-efficient, and it should theoretically be easier with electric carriages.

Caltrain_News104 karma

Currently, the operating schedules support the construction windows required to build electrification. There will be an extensive public process to determine what service will be provided following electrification construction.

SkiHawaii165 karma

How will this change Caltrain for the ordinary person?

Caltrain_News223 karma

Cleaner, quieter, more frequent service. Along with increased capacity. Check out http://calmodtrains.com/

spatula96 karma

Is Caltrain deferring maintenance prior to electrification? The ride is getting really rough, especially in the older gallery cars.

Caltrain_News71 karma

No, we'll continue to have on-going maintenance as a part of our state of good repair project

themodulus87 karma

Super excited about newer trains. Is wireless internet service being considered as any part of this project?

Caltrain_News181 karma

The new trains will have wifi capability. We know our riders would love it, we're looking into it.

DesertFlyer81 karma

In addition to electrification, what are the plans for grade separation along the corridor?

Caltrain_News109 karma

Yesterday Caltrain awarded a contract to grade separate 3 crossings in San Mateo county. We are also working with several other communities on the peninsula to advance grade separation projects. The challenge with this is the availability of funding.

zerosouls47 karma

Can you elaborate what the plan will be for riders coming from Gilroy/Morgan Hill? Will we transfer from diesel trains to electrical trains at Tamian/San Jose?

Caltrain_News49 karma

We are still determining how service will be provided to Gilroy post-electrification.

this will be a part of a public process.

HelplessCorgis46 karma

What is an existing comparable transit system to the new electric Caltrain system?

Caltrain_News68 karma

Amtrak Northeast Corridor

Caltrain_News43 karma

Thank You to everyone who participated, we look forward to hosting more AMA's about Caltrain in the near future.

creative_username11137 karma

Caltrain, what advice could you give to an aspiring civil engineer? I'm going off to university this fall and am hoping to specialize in mass transit systems.

Caltrain_News78 karma

Don't do it! Lol, it's great to have the opportunity to work on such a transformative project.

loveat2ndsight31 karma

Given the fact that Caltrain receives discretionary and not dedicated funding from MUNI/SamTrans/VTA, could funding instability from these agencies affect or delay electrification? If so, what steps is Caltrain taking to secure its funding in the future?

Caltrain_News47 karma

The electrification project has all of the funding secured.

Caltrain is undertaking a Business Plan effort to identify dedicated long-term funding.

almondchampagne31 karma

I'm here for the hard hitting questions - will food and drink still be allowed in the new trains?

Caltrain_News61 karma

That question is too hard to answer.

old_gold_mountain29 karma

The Transbay Transit Center opens next year to bus service but the basement, designed to accommodate Caltrain and High Speed Rail, will sit empty for years. What's the status of the extension to the new station? What connection is there between electrification and the downtown extension project?

Caltrain_News25 karma

The Transbay project is being implemented by the Transbay Joint Powers Authority. Caltrain works closely with the TJPA on design review elements. The TJPA is currently looking into funding opportunities to implement the extension from the current 4th and King Station to the Transbay Transit Center.

mharti_mcdonalds29 karma

Hi! Absolutely excited by what's going down on the Peninsula, but what's going to happen to all the current Caltrain rolling stock?

And forgive me for going slightly off track, but is there still talk of going across the bay to Union City still? If those plans ever came to be, would that line be electrified too or would you rely on other stock?

Thanks so much for this AMA!!

Caltrain_News57 karma

After the commencement of electrified service Caltrain will retire 20 locomotives and 73 railcars, all of which date from 1985. We are considering several options for what to do with the retired cars including selling them to other Authorities that need them.

xlegs29 karma

As someone in a wheelchair, being in the Bay Area without a car makes access to trains crucial. What are the plans regarding accessibility in the new cars? In an ideal world, every station's platform would be level with the train cars.

Caltrain_News45 karma

All cars will be ADA accessible. Level boarding is a priority for us in the future. Prior to level boarding, ADA access will be the same as today.

SlowInFastOut26 karma

Do you read http://caltrain-hsr.blogspot.com/ and do you have any response to the common criticisms brought up there? Most specifically I'm curious about level boarding.


Caltrain_News31 karma

Yes we are aware of it. Caltrain is interested in pursuing level boarding, there is still an open issue of the different heights of level boarding for Caltrain and High Speed Rail.

TheGnuGuy22 karma

Will the Caltrain ever encircle the Bay Area?

Caltrain_News72 karma

World domination!

dkrkqtiv22 karma

Two questions for you:

What is the timeline for electrification work in the short term? Do you think it will be on schedule?

I've taken Amtrak's Northeast Regional electric train, and every now and then it hits a dead spot where all the lights (except emergency ones) turn off, fans shut down, etc. for about 20 seconds. It's so blissfully quiet for those precious seconds, and then the fans, presumably HVAC, start roaring again. The dead spots make me realize how nice and quiet riding an electric train could be, if only they would last — it's so quiet in there, you can hear a pin drop. But for most of the ride, it's just as loud as diesel Caltrain. Will electric Caltrain have this same problem, too, or could you get quieter ventilation systems?

Caltrain_News32 karma

initial electrified service will roll out in 2020. we expect to have all of our electric trains in service in 2021. and YES we expect to be on schedule!

domo_roboto21 karma

How are you coordinating and working with the California High Speed Rail that's expected to use the same rail system? Does their work start after the electrification? Who's responsible for the conflict resolution if any should arise?

Caltrain_News25 karma

caltrain and HSR staff meet regularly to work on the Caltrain/HSR blended system planning and environmental clearance effort. This is an ongoing effort.

newtang20 karma

I know that electrification promises more frequent service, but can you quantify that? Is there a goal for the maximum wait time at a given stop (ie, trains every 30 min).

Caltrain_News40 karma

Baby bullet today is about 60 mins and makes 5-6 stops from SJ to SF. With Electrification, the EMU train can travel 60 mins and makes 12 - 13 stops.

Diver_Dave13 karma

How long do you expect the electrification project to take? How many new engines will need to be purchased? Will this be using overhead electrical lines?

Caltrain_News17 karma

Project will take approximately 4 years. Initial electric service will include 16 trainsets total. And yes, we'll be using overhead electrical lines.

JazzyJackal12 karma

CalTrain to Half Moon Bay or Santa Cruz?

Caltrain_News28 karma


Homer_Jr12 karma

Will any of the stations with shorter platforms (e.g., Sunnyvale) be lengthened to allow for longer 8-car EMU trains?


Caltrain_News12 karma

This is not a part of the current scope of project. This project will provide 6-car EMUs and any lengthening of platforms for 8-car EMUs will be considered for the future.

BraveSquirrel11 karma

There going to be toilets on the new trains? I heard they were thinking about not having them on the new trains, which would be absurd imo since cops won't let people disembark broken down trains, for safety reasons I assume.

Caltrain_News14 karma

Yes, 1 per train set.

ekrubnivek9 karma

Logistically, how do you actually add wires on top of the tracks without disrupting service?

Caltrain_News17 karma

Wiring of the tracks will be done during non-service hours.

edwardthegreat27 karma

Any analytics / sensor infrastructure being built?

Caltrain_News15 karma

There will be sensors to count the number of riders per day on each car.

playtheshovels6 karma

can we expect to see fare increases deferred in the long term due to the (hopefully) reduced operating cost of these electric trains?

Caltrain_News12 karma

See earlier response on the fare study. The switch from diesel to electricity will reduce fuel cost.

lenojames5 karma

Is there any talk or plans to expand service out to Fresno? Or has this idea even come up?

Caltrain_News14 karma

No, but go Bulldogs!

beautifultranslation5 karma

Will the electrification project extend to the stations Caltrain serves south of Tamien? And are there any plans to increase service to those stations (Capitol, BH, MH, SM, Gilroy) beyond today's limited schedule?

Caltrain_News15 karma

No,Caltrain does not own the rail south of Tamien.

[deleted]3 karma


Caltrain_News64 karma

We are disconcerted that you are spending time in your safety training class sending emails and not focusing on the important issue of RAILROAD SAFETY. We have a high standard for workers that work on our property.

efects3 karma

will the new passenger cars fit more people? the commuter trains in japan for instance are more akin to light rail trains which fit far greater amounts of people compared to current caltrain layouts

Caltrain_News8 karma

Yes, Electrification will increase capacity. Please see graph on www.caltrain.com/emucapacity

howaboutthatgod2 karma

Hey team!

How many of you are working on this project? What is the cost to the state? How much cheaper will it make commuting? And lastly, can we get a team selfie, ala Oscar selfie?

Caltrain_News6 karma

About 40 full-time staff and consultants to oversee and implement the project.

bacon_taste1 karma

Is this construction going to be as annoying to deal with as the high speed rail is for residents in the area? Stupid high speed rail has interrupted a lot of businesses here in fresno

Caltrain_News3 karma

No, this project is limited to poles, wires and substations but no large structures such as bridges and track.

manjunathibs1 karma

Will this have any impact on the current fares for Caltrain? With the fares being reviewed and raised almost every year or two, will the electrification of CalTrain contribute to any fare changes? Or, with the electrification, would there be a new fare system in place? Like removing the zones and having a per station fare?

Caltrain_News1 karma

See earlier response about fares.

willyreddit1 karma

Looking forward to it! Will your organization try to utilize Musks Boring machine for tunnels?

Caltrain_News3 karma

No, we're not building any new tunnels as a part of this project.

m42891 karma

How will the construction over the next ~5 years work around or impact daily service?

Caltrain_News3 karma

We've made schedule changes to minimize impacts to daily service. Weekend service change are occurring on July 15. Peak hour service levels will remain. Weekday changes occurred in April.

BoehnerJams1 karma

Will the increases in capacity and frequency of service allow for cheaper ride fares? Caltrain is currently the most expensive and slowest mode of light rail transit in the Bay Area (compared to BART and other multi-city systems).

Caltrain_News14 karma

Caltrain is currently undergoing a fare study.

Btw, we're not light rail. We're a commuter rail service.