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Monday, February 27, 2012

12-02-27 PHOTOS: Caltran Caltrain V

Ah yes, it is time again for yet another trip out to the Bay Area and what is shaping up to be the most competent and railfan friendly commuter rail system in the country. Frankly its pretty bullshit that I have to travel 3000 miles just to find a descent express run with a railfan window, but what's worse is that some people actually complain about the service and want to replace it with something far less enjoyable. Anyway this being the 5th set of photos to document the Caltrain system there's not a lot of new territory to cover so this time around I'll just stick to pictures of locomotives.

This set actually combines both the Caltrain portion of the trip and the San Francisco portion of the trip. However I was a bit busier on this trip than previous ones so I didn't have much opportunity to get out and ride the cable cars and F Market, but I've taken photos of those things before and they don't tend to change much.

You can find the entire set of photos here.

We begin once again at the Millbrae BART/Caltrain transfer station where despite my employer's contracted carrier on this route changing from United to Air Tran, my flight still arrived just in time for me to just miss a BART train which then causes me to just miss a Caltrain connection. I find it baffling when you have something with hour headways that the schedulers of the rapid transit system will allow their trains to miss said connection by 2 minutes.

Anyway, the scent of diesel exhaust still in the air I went down to the Caltrain platform where I discovered that the extended portion that covers the siding track was actually open that day (more likely had forgotten to have been closed). That gave me a much better vantage point where from I could get a photo of the next scheduled northbound Caltrain, which was still scheduled to use a Baby Bullet trainset with Cab Car #119 on point.

Caltrain MP36PH-3C #926 passing under the signal gantry at CP-BART.

#926 discharging and recharging at the station.

I was also able to get a good photo of one of the BART signal units which make use of the SafeTran Unilens signal fitted with a special goose-neck extension for close clearances and other odd fitting locations.

An hour after arrived my southbound train finally showed up with F40PH #914 in the lead.

At San Carlos we passed the next northbound with F40PH #905.

We proceeded to pass another northbound with #912 at CP-MARY south of Mountain View.

The new island platform has been completed at the Santa Clara station providing direct service to both Caltrain and the ACE/Capitol Corridor trains on their respective tracks without need for crossing over.

MP36PH-3C #924 with original F40PH #900 sitting at the Caltrain traction depot.

#917 running lite towards the San Jose terminal.

Amtrak Cab Car #8311 with a Capitol Corridor train at San Jose.

The train departed toward a clear signal indication at the previously tough sounding CP-JULIAN. Amtrak F59PHI #2009 was providing power on the rear end.

My cab car for the return trip was to be #4025. In the background you can see that the two new platforms for the San Jose station have been completed on what used to be the former storage yard. These will provide 4 new tracks, bringing the total to 9 and making San Jose the third largest rail station west of the Mississippi.

For some bizarre reason the new station tracks were fitted with these stunted pedestal type signals instead of the Unilens dwarf stacks fitted to the original tracks. Furthermore a new interlocking, CP-ALAMEDA, was put into service between the old intermediate gantry at CP-JULIAN and the ends of the platform.

Before my train left an ACE trainset with Cab Car #3008 pulled in on track #1.

My entire trip northbound was captured in High Def video, but you can look for that in a followup post. At this point I am just going to finish up with a few shots of cable cars like 17 and 3 at the Beach terminal.

5 and 25 at the same.

Looking down at the grip.

And 17 again after having departed at Union Square.

Whelp, that's all for now. Stay tuned for the video segment.

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