Atherton and Menlo Park residents may hear train horns in the middle of the night this week as Caltrain runs "test" trains from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. to check out new signaling and train-control systems.
The train tests, which will actually be run intermittently over several months, will be conducted at night so as not to disrupt normal train service, Caltrain says. As usual, the trains will engage crossing gates, and train engineers may use their horns in testing the systems that Caltrain is upgrading this week.
During the day, workers will be trenching and boring near the tracks to install fiber optic cables.
'Positive train control'
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.