Discussion related to commuter rail and transit operators in California past and present including Los Angeles Metrolink and Metro Subway and Light Rail, San Diego Coaster, Sprinter and MTS Trolley, Altamont Commuter Express (Stockton), Caltrain and MUNI (San Francisco), Sacramento RTD Light Rail, and others...

Moderator: lensovet

  by lensovet
 
Also, looks like powered train testing started on September 25:
Starting September 25, 2023, Caltrain will begin electric train testing on weeknights between San Jose and Mountain View. Testing is expected to continue until Summer 2024. Each trainset must be tested for 1,000 miles before being placed into service, which is planned for September 2024.

Testing will be conducted Monday through Friday evenings between 8 pm and 4 am with an expected 1-2 test trains per hour. Residents may hear additional noise during testing hours, including grade crossing activations and train horns.
Reality check: the project was approved in 2016 with an expected start of service in 2020. But by June 2021, they had settled on a late 2024 start date, so I guess September would even beat that goal.
  by frank754
 
So essentially from the photos I have seen the lead end car is not actually a locomotive but also has passenger seats in it as well, so it seems more like a multiple unit type of train rather than a locomotive hauled train, and do you think there will be a lead unit on both ends to be bidirectional or will they have to do some switching to reverse directions?
  by John_Perkowski
 
Here’s an update from SF Gate:

Click here for the full story: Bay Area's new all-electric train is also going to be 10% faster

Brief, fair use quote:
As Caltrain nears the finish line, recently boosted by $367 million in funding from a state rail program, it announced a finalized service plan with an insight into just how fast the new all-electric trains will run.
  by lensovet
 
The more interesting number is the 25% improvement for local service.

Though as the article states, with ridership at 39% of pre-covid levels, I'm a little lost on where they are getting the money to run even more service.
  by west point
 
more service? It may be Caltrain can easily operate shorter trains? Operators are an additional cost. However, car miles are a much more expensive cost and nonuse of fuel ( electricity) definitely less for shorter trains.
  by RandallW
 
The electric train schedules for local services are 25 minutes faster end to end and don't skip a station like most current local services do, which does suggest that both a single crew and a single trainset can perform more journeys than they could previously with the same turn around times at San Francisco and San Jose Diridon stations, which could simply mean that better crew and equipment utilization means that the only cost of more frequent service is energy/fuel costs (and although I can't find anything, I can't imagine that the new trains won't be less expensive per trip to operate than the existing ones).

One can only presume that offering more than hourly services at most stations will increase overall ridership even though 15 minutes is at the edge of "I don't have to schedule when I get to the station" service frequencies for unreserved services.
  by electricron
 
RandallW wrote: Sat Dec 16, 2023 7:31 am The electric train schedules for local services are 25 minutes faster end to end and don't skip a station like most current local services do, which does suggest that both a single crew and a single trainset can perform more journeys than they could previously with the same turn around times at San Francisco and San Jose Diridon stations, which could simply mean that better crew and equipment utilization means that the only cost of more frequent service is energy/fuel costs (and although I can't find anything, I can't imagine that the new trains won't be less expensive per trip to operate than the existing ones).

One can only presume that offering more than hourly services at most stations will increase overall ridership even though 15 minutes is at the edge of "I don't have to schedule when I get to the station" service frequencies for unreserved services.
With double track lines, the headways between trains depends upon the signaling used along the corridor. Twice as many control points (signals) means twice as many trains. Of course, running empty trains puts more tear and wear and thus more maintenance and operating costs than what is needed. It is far more efficient for supply to meet demand.
  by ExCon90
 
west point wrote: Fri Dec 15, 2023 9:13 pm more service? It may be Caltrain can easily operate shorter trains? Operators are an additional cost. However, car miles are a much more expensive cost and nonuse of fuel ( electricity) definitely less for shorter trains.
Don't the electrics have fixed consists? (If they're short enough they can combine and split easily enough to vary train lengths to suit demand.)
  by west point
 
ExCon90 wrote: Sat Dec 16, 2023 11:10 pm Don't the electrics have fixed consists? (If they're short enough they can combine and split easily enough to vary train lengths to suit demand.)
That was my understanding
  by RandallW
 
The EMUs are semi-permanently coupled together, but also all Caltrain services are fixed in one of two consists with the locomotive always to the south of the train:

EMU consists:
  1. Cab car
  2. Passenger/Restroom car
  3. Bike car
  4. Passenger car
  5. Passenger car
  6. Bike car
  7. Cab car
Gallery 5 car consists:
  1. Cab/bike/restroom car
  2. Passenger trailer
  3. Passenger/luggage trailer
  4. Bike car
  5. Passenger trailer
  6. Locomotive
Bombardier bi-level 6 car consists:
  1. Cab/bike/restroom car
  2. Passenger trailer
  3. Passenger/luggage trailer
  4. Bike car
  5. Bike car (ex-Metrolink)
  6. Passenger trailer
  7. Locomotive
Given the frequency of service, it makes sense to have only a couple of train consists in regularly scheduled services since that allows passengers to position themselves correctly at stations and not need to maneuver to other spots on the platform when a longer/shorter train than anticipated pulls in.
  by electricron
 
Longer trains in commuter services require longer platforms. Whereas the new EMU trainsets can be coupled together to make a twice as long train, to be effective for shorter station stops you would need twice as long platforms. I'm not sure every station along the route could have twice longer platforms.
  by west point
 
electricron wrote: Sun Dec 17, 2023 7:28 pm Longer trains in commuter services require longer platforms. Whereas the new EMU trainsets can be coupled together to make a twice as long train, to be effective for shorter station stops you would need twice as long platforms. I'm not sure every station along the route could have twice longer platforms.
That seems correct. However, are all the baby bullet station platforms long enough for 2 coupled train sets? What stations can handle a two set train?
  by RandallW
 
Caltrain is proposing running more frequent trains rather than longer trains to address any potential capacity issues in the trains.

Caltrain gets 0.8% sales tax revenue directly from the counties it serves starting in November 2020 (a ballot measure passed by more than 2/3 of affected voters at the time) to cover capitol and operating costs.
  by electricron
 
west point wrote: Sun Dec 17, 2023 11:37 pm That seems correct. However, are all the baby bullet station platforms long enough for 2 coupled train sets? What stations can handle a two set train?
Using Google Earth tools, the longest platform lengths are at San Jose Diridon with 1250 feet long platforms, but San Francisco 4th Street longest platforms are around 800 feet long. A 7 car EMU trainset is around 600 feet in length. So your answer is yes there are some stations that can handle coupled EMU sets, but not at the terminus in San Francisco. And as always, the shortest platform length determines train size.
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