Menlo Park Ballast Removal

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Loading/Unloading Activity
Today was the final day of ballast loading at the Chilco site. There are no other days scheduled for loading. Crews may be in the area performing other work in the future. 

Project Background
Responding to community concerns, Caltrain is removing all ballast material from its Chilco storage site in Menlo Park and will complete the project by October 2015, about 1 ½ years earlier than initially projected. Funding for the removal is being provided in part by Facebook.

Ballast—crushed stones that provide stability and structure for the railroad— is needed to ensure safe rail operations and the maintenance of the system in a state of good repair.  

Ballast currently stored at the Chilco site will be used as part of the San Mateo Bridges Replacement Project and a smaller portion will be transferred to an area in Redwood City that is surrounded primarily by industrial and retail uses.

Caltrain began storing the ballast in 2008 in Chilco, an area near the Belle Haven neighborhood in Menlo Park. After meetings with local residents who were concerned about the dust from the ballast, Caltrain agreed to explore options to remove the crushed stone.

Originally, Caltrain projected that removing the ballast would take up to two years. However, after exploring several alternatives, Caltrain identified an approach that would accelerate removal of the material, but at an additional cost.

Cleaning up the Chilco site, prepping the new site and removing the ballast in an expedited fashion will cost $295,000. With assistance from Facebook, Caltrain will be able to accelerate the schedule for removing the material.

Caltrain will continue to work with Facebook, the City of Menlo Park and the community to assess long term strategies and associated costs necessary to minimize or prevent the need to utilize the Chilco site for ballast storage in the future. 

For questions or more information please contact Brent Tietjen at or 650.508.6495.