System Maintenance

Maintaining the railroad is an important and continual part of Caltrain’s commitment to safety. Routine maintenance is done nearly everyday on the Caltrain line. Although much of this maintenance is mandated by the Federal Railroad Administration and California Public Utilities Commission, Caltrain’s safety standards far exceed minimum requirements.

Performing the necessary maintenance on the 151-year old rail line allows Caltrain to serve its 12 million annual riders.

Maintenance work using on-track machinery can only be done when there are no trains on the tracks. Although maintenance work is usually done from 7 p.m. to 4:30 a.m., there are times when work will continue around-the-clock. When this happens north- and southbound trains may operate on one track instead of two, going around or “single tracking” around the work site.

This work often uses heavy equipment that may produce noise that can be heard by neighbors in the area. On-track maintenance machines must run at full throttle in order to work properly. Tampers have vibrating motors that generate noise. Ballast regulators use a large, rotating broom to sweep up the ballast, which produces both noise and dust. Large lights also are used.

Caltrain uses three crews to perform weekly maintenance at night – the tie gang, the surfacing gang and the welding gang. Each crew has between two and seven people.

Type of Work:

Cross Tie Replacement



Other Maintenance: Track Inspection, Switch Maintenance, Crossing Gates, Weed Abatement, Rail Grinding