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Caltrain will run at night to test new train-control system

 

Caltrain is upgrading its signaling and train-control systems this week. Beginning Monday, July 13, and extending through Friday, July 17, workers will be installing new technology, and "test" trains will be begin traversing the rail corridor, including through Menlo Park and Atherton, between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m., according to a Caltrain statement.

During the day, workers will be trenching and boring near the tracks to install fiber optic cables. The train tests, to be run intermittently over several months, will be conducted at night so as not to disrupt normal train service.

As usual, the passage of a train will engage the crossing gates, and train engineers may be using their horns, Caltrain says.

The new technology, known as positive train control, will "monitor and, if necessary, control train movement in the event of human error," and is expected to reduce the time that crossing gates are down and improve traffic conditions, according to Caltrain.

Positive train control is a key component of electrification of the rail corridor and should also "eliminate" the risk of train-to-train collisions, enforce speed limits and improve safety for railroad workers on the tracks, Caltrain says.

During this week, workers will also be pressure-washing the train stations and doing janitorial work, Caltrain says.

— Dave Boyce

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