Upcoming Year a Big One for Caltrain

While ridership of Bay Meadows’ favorite commuter rail soars, plans are on the horizon for big changes to improve service. Sure, you’ve been hearing about the multi-year Modernization project Caltrain is undergoing. A $1.7 billion program, Caltrain Modernization (CalMod) will provide cleaner, quieter, faster and more-frequent service.

Did you also know there are immediate changes forthcoming in 2016?

While CalMod includes adding more train cars, some of those cars will be available to put into service as soon as they arrive – adding a 6th car to Bombardier trains. And we’ll be seeing new bike lockers at heavily used stations. Check out the plan for lockers in this extensive spreadsheet on Caltrain’s website >

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Also on tap in 2016, SPUR, a regional public policy think-tank, is undertaking a study in conjunction with Stanford University, the San Mateo County Economic Development Association (SAMCEDA) and the Silicon Valley Leadership Group. SPUR’s extensive Caltrain project will try to figure out the big policy, infrastructure and funding moves needed to keep this corridor working for decades to come.

Additionally, grade separations are making rail more compatible with surrounding cities, which want to eliminate local traffic delays when trains go by. Train tracks are already separated from roads at 78 out of Caltrain’s 120 crossings.

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At least five more projects for grade separations are planned, including raising the tracks at 25th Avenue, near Bay Meadows. In November, the San Mateo City Council allocated $2.4 million toward one of the final planning pieces necessary for this project before construction can begin.

While the price-tag for the CalMod program sounds daunting, earlier this year Caltrain presented an update and plans for how the agency will fill the funding gap. In 2016, we’re likely to see the electrification project fully funded with a schedule for construction to begin soon.

To stay on top of news for Caltrain, follow the Friends of Caltrain blog, SPUR’s blog, Peninsula Transportation Alternatives and, of course, Peninsula Moves, the Caltrain blog.

Strap on your seatbelts, Caltrain riders, it’s going to be a big year!

Looking for a great place to ride on two-wheels? Bay Meadows and the surrounding San Mateo area are bike friendly and offer many different paths to ride and sights to see. We even have a convenient bike map that you can download here, so you can decide exactly where to ride. Some resident favorites include the Bay Trail as well as Coyote Point Park.