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Caltrain's Switch From Diesel Fuel To Electrification Will Cause 'Significant' Backups For Drivers; Report Shows

MOUNTAIN VIEW (KCBS) -- Drivers on the Peninsula may soon be waiting even longer at some train crossings, according to a new report on Caltrain's switch to electrification.


The $1.5 billion Peninsula Corridor Electrification Project will be a major improvement for Caltrain with more frequent service and less environmental impacts. There is, however, a drawback as the wait at train crossings will be longer for drivers.

The agency's final impact report finds that 7 out of 82 intersections along the Peninsula will experience significant and unavoidable delays because electric trains can accelerate and decelerate faster than diesel trains allowing the more of them to travel per hours.

Three of intersections are in Palo Alto: Alma Street and Meadow Drive, Alma Street and Churchill Avenue, and Alma Street and Charleston Road. Two are in Mountain View, where Central Expressway crosses N. Rengstorff Avenue and Moffett Boulevard/Castro Street.

The remaining are in Burlingame, at Carolan and Oak avenues and Sunnyvale, at W. Evelyn and S. Mary avenues.

Many Caltrain commuters that spoke with KCBS said it's just growing pains.

"For changes and improvements in the commuting services, there's always going to be a repercussion and the way that I look at it, yes, we've got to move to electrification," one man, who didn't want to give his name, said.

The solution would be to direct traffic under or over the crossings but Caltrain said that would be too expensive as it could cost up to $700,000 million per intersection.

According to Caltrain, the electrification project will enable agency to raise its ridership from about 60,000 today to more than 110,000 by 2040.


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