11 February 2017

Worth a Thousand Words

As Trump's FTA ponders whether to award a big chunk of federal money to make Caltrain great again, the agency itself is failing to promote in pictures what its modern fleet will look like. Visit caltrain.com or even the nascent but unadvertised calmodtrains.com, and you won't see any images of the new Stadler EMUs. We know they exist, and now might be a good time to splash them all over social media.

Here are two new renderings that emerged recently:

A new Stadler rendering set in San Mateo, via Swiss Trade Magazine
A new version of the original Palo Alto rendering, via Business Journal
Note the train now sports folding bridge plates on the high doors.
To be fair, Caltrain is really good at snark.


  1. Clem, Just want to say, good job again on your posts here. Thanks for taking the time to do much research. Keep up the good work.

  2. But isn't there still the problem of the big step down in seating capacity per train, at a time when Caltrain ridership growth is marching along faster and faster? Even the 225, which used to be around 90% capacity, is now shoulder to shoulder every morning, within just 4 or 5 months.

    1. "But isn't there still the problem of ..."

      Don't worry about that.

      Just give Caltrain MORE MONEY.

      Because Caltrain is AT CAPACITY.

      And DONALD TRUMP is responsible for trains CATCHING ON FIRE.

      Caltrain has a plan for more trains. And longer trains. And level boarding. And trains more than once <strike>an hour</strike> every 90 minutes. And world class CBOSS. And blending. (Oops, did we say "level boarding"? Well forget that!) And capacity. And Atherton. And College Park. And capacity. And longer trains. And World Class in everything. And capacity. And more.

      But first you need to give Caltrain MORE MONEY. Because Caltrain is AT CAPACITY. Caltrain can reveal the plans once Caltrain has MORE MONEY. Later Caltrain will reveal the secret plans for World Class Everything. But MORE MONEY NOW. Because AT CAPACITY NOWWWWWWWWWWWWW!

    2. Ironically, fewer seats does actually mean more capacity... less seated capacity, but more overall capacity. When transit is packed shoulder to shoulder, then removing seats actually is a legitimate next step.

    3. Trump's fault? He's been the president for 3 weeks. CalTrain has been linger along for years. It is only (apparently) in the past 6 months months that things have truly become apocalyptic.

      I'm not sure why this is ... it is just a nonlinear effect with linearly growing ridership? Or nonlinear ridership increase? Here in the bay, it seems like major geosocial flux percolates really rapidly, like how Berkeley real estate went up 150% in 12 months just because so many people gave up on SF and moved there instead.

  3. Not only the trains, but the service. What will the off-peak stopper service be, 60/30/15? Will express trains run all-day and how frequently? What time will the service revert back to hourly (a Caltrain favorite)? And when will the last trains be? They want our money, but.....

  4. I left some comments on the calmod page of the following:

    1) Missing second set of doors on mid-level used for level boarding.
    2) Level boarding is not mentioned anywhere in CalMod
    3) Bike diagram showing 8 racks * 4 bikes/rack * 2 cars = 64 bikes per train. That is lower than current 72 or 80. Regardless how you feel about bikes, dropping bike capacity will create lots of turmoil consuming valuable discussion time that could be spent better on more valuable things... level boarding... service levels... grade seps... etc...

    Lastly, I still mentioned tha there should be more than 1 bathroom and that Caltrain is being dishonest when saying that bahrooms take up 8 seats where with a better layout, you can do it with 3 flip up seats on Bombardier. We're getting a custom train anyway, so why do we have to settle for the most inefficient bathroom layout.

  5. Ha! Probably due to the unwanted publicity here, Caltrain took its Calmod page down ... it now just says "COMING SOON"

    Yes, of course there should be one bathroom per train. But they're big because they have to be ADA-compliant for wheelchair users.

    It just occurred to me that bikes-on-Caltrain advocates could have been played. They fought to increase gross bike capacity (ie number of bikes per train). Caltrain finally agreed to increase the bike-spaces-to-seats RATIO ... but by quietly sufficiently reducing the number of seats, did Caltrain just deviously sneak a per-train bike capacity DECREASE past advocates?

  6. Yes, of course, there should be MORE THAN one bathroom per train. (But given the pitched battle it was just to get the one bathroom, it's highly doubtful the stubborn staff and board will go for an increase at this late stage of the game.)

  7. I would much prefer retractable gap filler, a la Brightline, than folding ones.

  8. Sorry to be such a dinosaur but I'd like to see one of these decades returning to flat-faced railcars. SMART also features the dopey slope-front look. A waste IMHO; a lot of the time they will be running at speeds where streamlining does not apply.

    But once again and OT the real issue in re Caltrain and CAHSR is whether the Trump DOT means business or is just messing with Jerry Brown. No doubt the Caltrain electrification project is spendy and could be better but by comparison to PalmdaleRail it is pure genius. This is stressful for me as the last thing one wants to do is get hopes up for a reset at what was formerly the PBhauptbunker. This is probably just a bump in the road but then blame the delay on Jerry Brown for making so many enemies of people relatively pro-rail and refusing any kind of audit of the mess.

    Where are the professionals and adults in the room to literally straighten out CAHSR?