To help accommodate passengers feeling the squeeze from crowded onboard conditions, Caltrain will be adding extra seating capacity to its commute service beginning Monday, November 14.
An extra train car will be added to three Caltrain lines, increasing carrying capacity on trains #220, #272, and #278. Typically those lines operate with five-car consists, but they will now have six-car consists for each trip. As a result, Caltrain will be to carry approximately 200 additional passengers on those trips.
Caltrain #220 is a limited southbound service route that departs San Francisco at 7:44 a.m., and Caltrain #272 and #278 are limited southbound service routes that depart San Francisco at 5:20 p.m. and 5:55 p.m., respectively. The extra trains will be Gallery cars, the “more-traditional” trains on the Caltrain system, featuring two passenger levels and a box design.
Ridership on Caltrain has increased significantly in recent times, with average weekday counts rising to more than 60,000 passengers this year. By comparison the average weekday ridership in 2010 was just over 36,000.
Caltrain has addressed its capacity issues in several manners. In 2015, the agency added a sixth train car to each one of its Bombardier train sets, increasing capacity by 150 passengers on several busy commute lines. Caltrain’s Bombardier trains have a sleeker look to them, and contain three different passenger seating levels.
Earlier this year, Caltrain replaced some five-car Gallery train sets with six-car Bombardier train sets, a move that added further capacity to the system.
The real answer for Caltrain’s capacity issues will be the electrification of the system, which is set for late 2020 or early 2021. Once the train network is electrified between San Francisco and San Jose, Caltrain will be able to run more frequent service, allowing the system to carry more passengers.
About Caltrain: Owned and operated by the Peninsula Corridor Joint Powers Board, Caltrain provides commuter rail service from San Francisco to San Jose, with limited commute service to Gilroy. Caltrain enjoyed five years of consecutive monthly ridership increases, surpassing more than 60,000 average weekday riders earlier this year. While the Joint Powers Board assumed operating responsibilities for the service in 1992, the railroad celebrated 150 years of continuous passenger service in 2014. Planning for the next 150 years of Peninsula rail service, Caltrain is on pace to electrify the system, reduce diesel emissions by 97 percent by 2040 and add more service to more stations.
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