Friends of Caltrain Panel Discussion: Caltrain and HSR

From Friends of Caltrain:

Caltrain would provide faster, more on-time, more convenient, and more accessible service, and the “blended system” with Caltrain and High Speed Rail would deliver more capacity, if Caltrain and High Speed Rail could solve platform height issues.

Right now, riders need to climb stairs to get aboard Caltrain.  Caltrain has to stop for up to two minutes at each station stop, and up to 5 minutes for passengers in wheelchairs. BART, by comparison, stops for 30-40 seconds. Caltrain can’t schedule transfer connections to be on time.  Boarding Caltrain is difficult and time-consuming for people with mobility issues (and strollers, and luggage, and bikes).

The good news is that Caltrain is leaning toward level boarding – a major step forward – but there are funding, technical, and regulatory challenges.

However, Caltrain and High Speed Rail are still intending to have incompatible platform heights, and set-aside areas in the space-constrained Transbay station, limiting the amount of rail service. Caltrain is currently intending to send only 2 of 6 rush hour trains into Transbay, even though there are 3x as many jobs in downtown San Francisco.

Can Caltrain have level boarding?  Can Caltrain and High Speed Rail share platform heights?  What are the technical, legal, and cost barriers to solving these problems?  What would it take to overcome them?  How can we community members help?

Join Friends of Caltrain on Monday October 14, 6:30pm at Mountain View City Hall for a panel discussion on the opportunities and challenges of level boarding and platform height.


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