Local Leaders Set To Celebrate Caltrain’s 150th Anniversary in Menlo Park

Local Leaders Set To Celebrate Caltrain’s 150th Anniversary in Menlo Park

What: Caltrain will kick off a year-long celebration of 150 years of railroad service between San Francisco and San Jose with the re-enactment of an historic picnic that took place in October 1863 near Menlo Park.  The San Francisco & San Jose Railroad completed the line all the way to San Jose in January 1864, but the management invited notables including Governor Leland Stanford for a VIP train ride when construction was about two-thirds complete. 

Caltrain will bring history to life by re-creating that picnic with a cast of costumed re-enactors and an authentic 19-century-style band.  Other event festivities will include informational booths, model railroads and exhibits, and displays including a Wells Fargo stagecoach, a vintage bus and a replica of the transcontinental railroad’s famed gold spike.  Moveable Feast will also be on hand along with Baskin Robbins, face painting and more family fun activities.

When:  Community festival from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., Saturday, October 19, 2013

The program begins at 11:30 a.m. Historic re-enactors arrive by train at       12:14 p.m.

Where: Menlo Park Caltrain Station, 1120 Merrill Street

Who:       Speakers for the program will include:

   California State Senator Jerry Hill

               Caltrain Board Chairman Ken Yeager

San Mateo County Board of Supervisors members Warren Slocum and    Adrienne Tissier

               Menlo Park Mayor Peter Ohtaki

Caltrain’s Place in History

The railroad known today as “Caltrain” is the oldest passenger railroad in the West in continuous operation.  Constructed by the San Francisco & San Jose Railroad, the railroad subsequently was absorbed by the Southern Pacific, which operated the Peninsula Commute Service for more than a century. A transition to public ownership began in the 1980s, first under the State of California, followed by a three-county agency called the Peninsula Corridor Joint Powers Board, which has owned and operated Caltrain since 1992.

Beyond its longevity, Caltrain boasts seven depots on the National Register of Historic Places: Millbrae, Burlingame, San Carlos, Menlo Park, Palo Alto, Santa Clara and San Jose Diridon, four of them built in the 1800s. 

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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 has enjoyed three years of consecutive monthly ridership increases, surpassing more than 50,000 average weekday riders earlier this year. While the Joint Powers Board assumed operating responsibilities for the service in 1992, the railroad will celebrate 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 corridor by 2019, reducing diesel emissions by 90 percent and adding more service to more stations. 

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Media Contact: Will Reisman, 650.508.7704