Courtesy South San FranciscoA new Caltrain station in South San Francisco is scheduled to be ready in 2019.

Courtesy South San FranciscoA new Caltrain station in South San Francisco is scheduled to be ready in 2019.

Caltrain begins collecting public feedback on modernizing car interiors

As Caltrain prepares to electrify and modernize its system, the transit agency is hoping to hear from the traveling public about the preferred design of the cars that will run on the tracks.

At the first of a series of preliminary meetings on future Caltrain cars in San Carlos Monday, the public was invited to meet with SamTrans representatives to provide feedback specifically on the interior of the new cars that will be part of the electrification and modernization of Caltrain. Community members are encouraged to weigh in on various features such as the number of seats per car versus the number of bathrooms, as well as luggage racks and bike racks, said Caltrain spokeswoman Christine Dunn.

“One of the things going on right now is that many of our trains are very crowded,” Dunn said. “And people are having to stand during the peak commutes. So what we're asking people right now is, 'What is your preference?' 'Is it more important to you to have a bathroom than a seat? You don't mind standing, but you'd like luggage racks?'”

Though not an issue directly addressed as part of the system modernization, “level boarding” of trains was a key topic discussed by audience members at the two public meetings at SamTrans headquarters on Monday, Dunn noted.

Some stations require passengers to board a short flight of stairs to embark the train cars, which can extend boarding times and be difficult for passengers in wheelchairs. While some have suggested correcting the issue, Dunn said such a change is not considered feasible because it would require modifications to the stations themselves, not to the cars.

“We have 27 stations, and all of the stations are unique and different. Some of them are historic, and right at this time, we don't have the funds to change all of the stations to be able to accommodate level boarding,” she said.

The electrification and modernization process has yet to begin in earnest, as the environmental impact report for the project has not been fully completed. The electrification of Caltrain will improve trains' performance, reduce pollution and allow for a projected increase in ridership in future years, according to the environmental impact report.

The manufacturing of the cars, which is not expected to begin until next year, will take approximately three years to complete, said Dunn, adding that the public outreach efforts are in the preliminary stages.

Monday's meetings were only the first in a long series of meetings SamTrans has in the works. Besides getting together with members of various committees including the Bicycle Advisory Committee, the Accessibility Committee and others, representatives will also be conducting on-site surveys during peak ridership hours at 10 different Caltrain stations, Dunn said.

SamTrans is also seeking the public's feedback through an online survey at

“We are deliberately doing this outreach now because we wanted to hear back from our riders what we're looking at right now,” Dunn said.

The modernization of Caltrain is slated to be completed by 2019.

Bay Area NewsCaltrainelectrificationPeninsulaSamTrans

Just Posted

Cabernet Sauvignon grapes sit in a container after being crushed at Smith-Madrone Winery in St. Helena, Calif. on Thursday, Sept. 9, 2021. (Courtesy Smith-Madrone Winery)
‘Champagne problems’ and supply chain nightmares: San Francisco’s wine industry is suffering

‘Everywhere you turn, things that were easy are no longer easy’

A Giants fans hangs his head in disbelief after the Dodgers won the NLDS in a controversial finish to a tight Game 5. (Chris Victorio/Special to The Examiner)
Giants dream season ends at the hands of the Dodgers, 2-1

A masterful game comes down to the bottom of the ninth, and San Francisco came up short

<strong>Workers with Urban Alchemy and the Downtown Streets Team clean at Seventh and Market streets on Oct. 12. <ins>(Kevin N. Hume/The Examiner)</ins> </strong>
Why is it so hard to keep San Francisco’s streets clean?

Some blame bureaucracy, others say it’s the residents’ fault

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi — seen in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday — touted Congressional Democrats’ infrastructure bill in San Francisco on Thursday. (Stefani Reynolds/The New York Times)
Pelosi touts infrastructure bill as it nears finish line

Climate change, social safety net among major priorities of Democrats’ 10-year funding measure

<strong>A lion from Cambodia at the Asian Art Museum, which was acquired from a private collector and dates back to between 1150 and 1225, is one of two pieces identified as a potential stolen artifact in the leaked Pandora Papers.<ins> (Kevin N. Hume/The Examiner)</ins> </strong>
Asian Art Museum reckons with Cambodian antiquities of disputed provenance

Pandora Papers revelations accelerate culture shift at museums near and far

Most Read