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Caltrain Spending $15M On Hand-Me-Down Rail Cars From Los Angeles' Metrolink To Help Alleviate Crowding

SAN JOSE (CBS SF) -- Ridership on Caltrain is at an all-time high, so the transit agency is investing in some hand-me-down train cars from Los Angeles to help handle all the passengers.

Caltrain bought sixteen of the cars from Metrolink, but there are concerns the used cars will need a lot of work before being put into use.

"Cars look pretty beat up, pretty old fashioned," one rider said of the new cars.

Caltrain is averaging sixty thousand riders daily, smashing previous ridership records.

"We're at standing room only," Caltrain Spokesperson Tasha Bartholomew said.

During peak commute hours, Caltrain says each Metrolink car will add 145 more seats, and standing room for 150.  But, getting them on the tracks could take up to a year.

"Each car has to go through an inspection process to see what the needs are," Bartholomew said.

Would it be faster to just buy new cars?  Silicon Valley's "Father of Transit" Rod Diridon Sr. says no.

"New cars would cost much more, and take years of environmental reviews and public hearings," Diridon said.

Caltrain is paying $15 million to buy and refurbish the cars.

Caltrain plans to make its system electric by the year 2020, so it only needs a temporary solution to crowded rail cars.

Some riders can't wait.

"I think this is a good positive overall development if they're adding more.  I'd love to see that," Caltrain Passenger Erin said.

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