Caltrain: Rail Grinding Will Result in Quieter Trains

SAN CARLOS, Calif. — Caltrain began a three-week rail grinding project March 18 “that will result in measurably reduced noise impacts for neighbors next to the right of way and a safer, smoother ride for passengers,” the railroad said.

A rail-mounted, industrial-sized grinder will be used to smooth out defects and restore the shape of the rail.

During the rail maintenance, there will be noise impacts to areas immediately adjacent to the rail alignment while the grinding is taking place. The contractor is required to maintain noise levels below 85 decibels at a distance of 25 feet from the center of the rail. This noise level roughly compares to shop tools or someone shouting but is quieter than a train whistle or a gas-powered lawn mower.

The equipment must be used when there is reduced train traffic, which means the grinding must take place from 10 p.m. to 4:30 a.m. The work will begin in Redwood City and proceed on the northbound track reaching San Francisco about March 23. The equipment will then travel back to San Jose on the southbound tracks. Finally, the equipment will complete the work from San Jose to Redwood City. Work at any one location will be completed in one to two nights.

The entire project will be completed by April 13.