Caltrain: The Future is Bright

SAN CARLOS, Calif. – Over the next two decades, Caltrain will makeover its whole railway, improving its tracks, bridges and terminals, and transitioning to an electric train system, according the to a Peninsula Corridor Joint Powers Board, which recently released its 2006 progress report for Caltrain.

“Bay Area residents can be proud that they have a world-class railroad in their back yard,” said Caltrain Board Chair and San Jose City Councilman Ken Yeager. “Our riders already appreciate the easy commute, and they are only going to see things get better.”

The report provides a snapshot in time of the railroad’s current situation and its plans for capital and infrastructural improvement. Current and future projects include improved rail safety programs, opening of its first maintenance facility, electrification of the railroad and wireless internet access on trains

In the 1980s Southern Pacific Railroad wanted to shut down passenger rail service between San Francisco and San Jose for lack of ridership, but the JPB stepped in and purchased the system to preserve this transit link.

Since then, Caltrain service has increased from 54 to 96 weekday trains, with 22 Baby Bullet trains, and ridership is at an all-time high in the 143 years of rail history on the Peninsula. With this record, Caltrain is positioning itself for continued growth and improved service over the next 20 years and beyond, officials say.

“Caltrain is looking to a future in which it will be more innovative, more creative, and a more significant part of our lives,” Caltrain Executive Director Michael Scanlon said.