Thursday, March 01, 2012

Caltrain celebrates renovations and improvements at two stations

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San Francisco-area Caltrain and its partners celebrated the completion of a $61 million station improvement project that will allow it to offer more service now and in the future.

The two-year project was completed through a partnership with Altamont Commuter Express, California Department of Transportation, Capitol Corridor, Federal Railroad Administration, Federal Transit Administration, San Francisco Transportation Authority, San Mateo County Transit District and Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority.

The Federal Railroad Administration contributed $18 million to the project under the High-Speed and Intercity Passenger Rail Program. Additional funds were contributed by Altamont Commuter Express, Caltrans, Federal Transportation Administration and Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority.

The project, which modernized the San Jose Diridon Caltrain Station and the Santa Clara Caltrain Station, improves connections with regional rail services and increases operational flexibility at the stations.

The San Jose Diridon station is the busiest station in the Caltrain system, with a train passing through the station every two minutes during peak commute hours. The improvements include two new fully-equipped board platforms on the west side of the station along with tracks on each side of platform will improve operations. The station is used by Caltrain, Altamont Commuter Express, Capitol Corridor and Amtrak Coast Starlight passenger trains and Union Pacific freight trains.

The project also includes the reconstruction of signal control points at both ends of the station, which will allow trains to move more quickly in and out of the station.

The Santa Clara station had a regular platform for southbound passengers but had a narrow center boarding platform for northbound passengers. Three non-signalized at-grade pedestrian crossings connected the two platforms. Due to that configuration, Santa Clara was a "hold-out" station that allowed only one train in the station at a time, creating a bottle-neck in the Caltrain system.

The modernization project added a new outboard northbound platform and extended the southern platform 150 feet. A new pedestrian underpass now connects the two platforms, which allows two trains to pass through the station at the same time and improves safety for pedestrians.

At the same time, a track turnout at the southern end of the station was relocated to improve rail operations.

With the completion of the project, Altamont Commuter Express trains can resume service to the station, which was suspended a few years ago. Capitol Corridor also may add this station stop to its schedule in the future.

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