News

Caltrain to add six weekday trains

By Chris Cooney

Bay City News Service

The Caltrain board of directors on Thursday considered a preliminary budget that would add trains to its current weekday schedule, and approved an agreement with the California High-Speed Rail Authority to electrify the corridor.

Caltrain Deputy CEO Gigi Harrington said that average weekday ridership has increased for 20 straight months to reach historic highs, up 12 percent from this time last year.

Some trains at peak commute hours have more passengers than seats, he said.

The fiscal year 2012-2013 preliminary budget includes a $375,000 investment in six additional weekday trains that will help relieve overcrowding at peak hours.

However, the one-time grants, savings, and fare-box revenue increases that have funded Caltrain from year to year are drying up, Mr. Harrington said.

Caltrain's executive director Mike Scanlon said that Caltrain had not solved its fiscal crisis, just delayed it for another year.

In a separate vote that Mr. Scanlon referred to as "historic," the board of directors unanimously approved a memorandum of understanding with the California High-Speed Rail Authority to match more than $700 million in funds from the Metropolitan Transportation Commission to electrify the Caltrain corridor between San Francisco and San Jose, and pave the way for a two-track right-of-way that will eventually accommodate high-speed trains.

Board President Adrienne Tissier, who also chairs the MTC, received a warm round of applause from board members and the public for her "Herculean" effort in spearheading negotiations that secured the funds for a "long overdue" Caltrain upgrade.

"It was a very bumpy road at the beginning," Ms. Tissier said.

She commended the California High-Speed Rail Authority for listening to the concerns of Peninsula cities and residents along the right-of-way, and coming up with an agreement that would free up high-speed rail funds to electrify Caltrain, which will ultimately be able to operate on a track system that blends with high-speed rail.

"Without this start, this foundation, we have nothing," she said.

An electrified, upgraded Caltrain will be able to make more stops, accommodate more passengers, and reduce greenhouse gas emission by running on electricity rather than diesel-powered engines.

If started this year, the electrification project could be completed by 2015.

The $1.5 billion agreement has already been approved by the MTC and the high-speed rail authority.

The funding will now need to be approved by the state Legislature.

Comments

Posted by Sammy, a resident of Menlo Park: Park Forest
on May 5, 2012 at 8:58 pm

Why ? The afternoon trains run close to empty now. I got it ! Jack the ticket rates up!


Posted by Menlo Voter, a resident of Menlo Park: other
on May 6, 2012 at 9:14 am

Menlo Voter is a registered user.

"She commended the California High-Speed Rail Authority for listening to the concerns of Peninsula cities and residents along the right-of-way, and coming up with an agreement that would free up high-speed rail funds to electrify Caltrain, which will ultimately be able to operate on a track system that blends with high-speed rail."

"Blends" HSR? Without grade separation there is no HSR, just another fancy electric train. Folks, can't you see we're being screwed by the HSR authority. IF it's ever built, if they don't build monolithic grade separations (they've already said they won't put them underground) it won't be able to run any faster than Caltrain. So what's the point? Be prepared for monolithic grade separations because the camel just got his nose under the tent.


If you were a member and logged in you could track comments from this story.

Post a comment

Posting an item on Town Square is simple and requires no registration. Just complete this form and hit "submit" and your topic will appear online. Please be respectful and truthful in your postings so Town Square will continue to be a thoughtful gathering place for sharing community information and opinion. All postings are subject to our TERMS OF USE, and may be deleted if deemed inappropriate by our staff.

We prefer that you use your real name, but you may use any "member" name you wish.

Name: *

Select your neighborhood or school community: * Not sure?

Comment: *

Verification code: *
Enter the verification code exactly as shown, using capital and lowercase letters, in the multi-colored box.

*Required Fields

Palo Alto quietly gets new evening food truck market
By Elena Kadvany | 4 comments | 3,667 views

See Me. Hear Me. Donít Fix Me.
By Chandrama Anderson | 2 comments | 1,820 views

Universal Language
By Cheryl Bac | 3 comments | 1,411 views

Anglo Menlo Park
By Paul Bendix | 0 comments | 443 views

Council election, and then some.
By Stuart Soffer | 0 comments | 174 views