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Rail News: High-Speed Rail

Caltrain officials mark end of $61 million station improvement project


Yesterday, officials from Caltrain and its rail partners marked the completion of a $61 million station improvement project that will enable the agency to offer more service.

The two-year project was completed through a partnership with Altamont Commuter Express, the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans), Capitol Corridor, Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), Federal Transit Administration (FTA), San Francisco County Transportation Authority, San Mateo County Transit District and Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority, Caltrain officials said in a prepared statement.

The FRA contributed $18 million to the project under the High-Speed and Intercity Passenger Rail Program. Altamont Commuter Express, Caltrans, the FTA and Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority contributed additional funding.

The project, which modernized the San Jose Diridon and the Santa Clara Caltrain stations, will improve connections with regional rail services and increase operational flexibility at the stations, Caltrain officials said.

“Our ridership numbers prove that Caltrain is an increasingly popular commute option,” said Ken Yeager, vice chairman of the Peninsula Corridor Joint Powers Board. “These improvements not only make our riders safer, they will help Caltrain meet rising demand.”

The San Jose Diridon facility is Caltrain’s busiest station, with a train passing through the station every two minutes during peak commute hours. The project’s improvements included two new fully-equipped board platforms on the west side of the station, along with tracks on each side of platform to improve operations. Caltrain, Altamont Commuter Express, Capitol Corridor and Amtrak Coast Starlight passenger trains, as well as Union Pacific Railroad freight trains use the station.

The Santa Clara Station now features a narrow center boarding platform for northbound passengers. Three non-signalized at-grade pedestrian crossings connected the two platforms. Due to that configuration, the Santa Clara facility allowed only one train in the station at a time, creating a bottleneck in the system, Caltrain officials said.

With the completion of the project, Altamont Commuter Express service, which was suspended a few years ago, can resume to Santa Clara. The Capitol Corridor also might add the station as a stop in the future, Caltrain officials said.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 3/2/2012