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Old March 28th, 2006, 04:50 AM   #1
Manila-X
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NORTHERN CALIFORNIA | Commuter Rail

If often took The Caltrain when I was in The Bay Area for 2 weeks. I always take this ride since I was staying in Sunnyvale and I always go to San Francisco every day. Anyway, has anyone here ridden the Caltrain? What do you think of it?

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Old March 28th, 2006, 04:51 AM   #2
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Old March 28th, 2006, 05:02 AM   #3
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More Caltrain images





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Old March 28th, 2006, 02:50 PM   #4
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Chicago has the exact same double decker commuter trains as San Frans. I rather like them and can't imagine them not in Chicago. Some of the interiors could be updated (in the ones in Chicago) but all in all they are pretty nice.
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Old March 28th, 2006, 10:02 PM   #5
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CalTrain impression

I traveled with Caltrain last week. The trains did run on time. It was a quite shacky ride (due to the bad tracks).

Here are some pictures





In 1980 Caltrain looked like this:



regards

Wouter

http://gallery139815.fotopic.net/
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Old March 28th, 2006, 10:50 PM   #6
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Are plans for exansions anytime soon (more lines or something?)?
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Old March 30th, 2006, 02:44 AM   #7
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lets hope not. its already humorous that such an old-fashioned system is still in use in the bay area. On the so-called "Bullet Trains" it takes an hour to get to San Jose from SF.

this was an outdated mode of tranport - a heavy rail system running on the same grade as automible traffic in a heavily urban area - about ummmm 80 years ago. there are no grade seprations, which is an extreme safety hazard.

at about 500 different point the rails cross the road, which is obviously a place where car-vs-train accidents are a possiblity.

the bay area is wayyyyy too conservative for this to happen, but an underground BART system is really the only acceptable replacement to this line. BART-on-Stilts as it is elsewhere in the area is loud and needless to say incredibly ugly. underground is silent and takes up no space above ground.

underground BART is the future, but this public does not have the mentality for something like that. they want to run unelectrified heavy dirty ugly polluting diesel locomotives running on 60's technology. it saddens me as a bay area resident
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Old March 30th, 2006, 06:31 AM   #8
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Whats going on in this pic? Is that a balcony of some sort?
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Old March 30th, 2006, 07:27 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by asohn


Whats going on in this pic? Is that a balcony of some sort?
Its just a double decker train, but the middle part of the 2nd floor is open. So on the bottom level there are 2 seats per side and on the top one side next to and isle on each side. Wierd arrangement, but oh well.
Oettinger, baby bullets are very fast, competitive with driving. Ive actually raced my friend from downtown San Jose to downtown SF, I going Caltrain->N Muni and him driving on 280. I beat him due to parking issues only, but that still has to be factored in when driving in an urban environment. And please, underground bart SJ-SF would be >$100 Billion because a underground 3rd-rail eletric metro that uses custom trains and signalling is extremely expensive, whereas using standard trains, equipment and signalling on standard gauge track without the complicated electrification systems is dirt cheap.
The only possible expansion is a potential line crossing the dumbarton bridge, but that is unlikely. More likely is the system being converted to electric if the transbay terminal is to be built and being extened from the current 4th street terminus which is relatively far from downtown underground to the terminal. That would be clean to keep oetinnger happy, and still a fraction of the price.
And finally at that one below picture with the purple and blue car, that is not Caltrain. That is ACE (represented brown in the map WANCH posted)which is a completely seperate commute rail system that runs 3(soon to be 4) trains a day in each direction between Stockton/Tracy to San Jose through fremont with bart and other transit connections. They just use the same San Jose Station and sit around all day in San Jose waiting to return back north at night Those trains do have wifi and power ports though, which is welcomed on a 2 hour train ride.
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Old March 30th, 2006, 07:37 AM   #10
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^ I don't understand what you're saying about the seating arrangments. We have DD trains here but they don't have any open space between them. Both the top and bottom have 2 seats per side with an aisle down the middle.
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Old March 30th, 2006, 07:44 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DrJoe
^ I don't understand what you're saying about the seating arrangments. We have DD trains here but they don't have any open space between them. Both the top and bottom have 2 seats per side with an aisle down the middle.
Its a very valid question that I cant answer. I dont know why it would vary from the standard Bombardier double levels. Could it be platform height? Looking at the bottom level shows the doors at the edge rise a bit above the "ceiling" above the seats, so maybe in have level boarding with older (and higher) platforms they had to raise the lower level but in order to have enough room for people to stand have to give room above their heads? This is all conjecture though
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Old March 30th, 2006, 07:48 AM   #12
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They are called Gallery Cars. You reach the second levels through 2 different stairs on either side of the train. I think it allows the second level the be lower, since the middle section is open, and allows for more headroom.
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Old March 30th, 2006, 07:49 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MSPtoMKE
They are called Gallery Cars. You reach the second levels through 2 different stairs on either side of the train. I think it allows the second level the be lower, since the middle section is open, and allows for more headroom.
sounds plausilbe
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Old March 30th, 2006, 07:50 AM   #14
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Honestly I dont mind this kind of design that Caltrain has right now. The only thing I mind is the view
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Old March 30th, 2006, 09:35 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OettingerCroat
lets hope not. its already humorous that such an old-fashioned system is still in use in the bay area. On the so-called "Bullet Trains" it takes an hour to get to San Jose from SF.

this was an outdated mode of tranport - a heavy rail system running on the same grade as automible traffic in a heavily urban area - about ummmm 80 years ago. there are no grade seprations, which is an extreme safety hazard.

at about 500 different point the rails cross the road, which is obviously a place where car-vs-train accidents are a possiblity.
Other cities have heaps of level crossings and do fine. Flashing lights, bells and boom gates do the job very well.

The crossing I pass every day gets four trains each way an hour, not counting regional passenger and freight traffic, nor not-in-service trains running empty to the nearby depot. This doubles during the two peaks. Accidents are very rare - the last one started a TV campaign informing viewers about how long a train takes to stop.

It certainly shouldn't prevent expansion. Replacing loco-hauled diesel trains with something like EMUs would help too, but I am aware that regulations might make that less viable.


That said, there were huge grade separation projects in the 1920s here. Today, it would never happen because of the huge cost. It wasn't just building bridges over tracks either - they took entire sections of track and put them into a trench.
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Old March 30th, 2006, 10:15 AM   #16
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from the map i saw.... going to the airport is very convienent
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Old March 30th, 2006, 03:06 PM   #17
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Gallery cars

In the gallery cars the train guard can check al the tickets from the lower level, so he or she doesn't need to walk stairs. Passengers on the top level can put their tickets in special clips. (they are vissable on the picture). I think this has something to do with Union rules.

There are indeed a lot of level crossings in the Calltrain route and for a continental european it's remarkeble to so such a busy diesel operated route.
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Old March 30th, 2006, 08:37 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dchengg
from the map i saw.... going to the airport is very convienent
Actually its not convenient since you have to switch to bart at millbrae and the frequency is only like 4 trains per hour during peaks (silly dublin line with bad frequnecies )
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Old March 30th, 2006, 09:37 PM   #19
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Old pictures from Caltrain

Here is another picture from "caltrain" taken 25 years ago when southern pacific ran the trains.



They have modernized since then. There are plan to extend the line to the city centre via a tunnel. At this moment you can take the "N" streetcar or the 30 or 45 trolleybus to go downtown.



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Old April 2nd, 2006, 11:25 AM   #20
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A few notes on expansion:

-Caltrain has agreed to supervise the proposed commuter rail line across the Dumbarton Rail Bridge, which was partially damaged in a fire in the late nineties... maybe before 2015?

-A connection to the Transbay Terminal (one block from Market Street, the "main drag" of the City) is hotly contested. The high density of the area requires the line to be underground, which prevents the current diesel-based system from expanding in this direction. A while ago I read that they hope to have completely electrified the system by 2009, but we'll see. That would be a prerequisite to northward expansion.

-There is also a plan floating out there to expand south past Gilroy. The UP track continues to LA, so it's a matter of where to stop, really. Watsonville is the next big city on the line, but why stop there? Why not continue to Salinas or Monterey?

I've been riding Caltrain my whole life, and while people who usually drive might not admit, it really is the backbone of the peninsula.
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