Complete List of Changes
- More frequent and faster peak period service (6 a.m. to 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. and 7 p.m.)
To support the easing of restrictions implemented during the COVID-19 pandemic and the reopening of society, Caltrain is significantly increasing the number of trains scheduled during the peak commuting hours with a wider variety of service options.
- The number of trains operated each hour during the peak commuting period will be doubled from 2 trains per hour to 4 trains per hour
- Instead of offering skip stop Limited trains, Caltrain will offer the following service options:
- One (1) Local (L1, 1XX-series) train per hour per direction;
- Two (2) Limited (L3, 3XX-series, and L4, 4XX-series) trains per hour per direction:
- One (1) Express “Baby Bullet” (B7, 7XX-series) train per hour per direction.
- Local trains offer a one-seat ride for all weekday station pairs, even ones not served by other train types
- Express “Baby Bullet” trains offer greater trip time savings between San Francisco and San Jose (in approximately 65 minutes) as well as 5 mid-stations served (e.g.: the trip from Palo Alto to Millbrae will take only 24 minutes);
- Limited trains offer faster service to some popular stations not served by “Baby Bullet” trains, both from end-of-line locations (approximately 75 minutes between San Francisco and San Jose) and mid-line locations (approximately 30 minutes from Palo Alto and Millbrae)
With this combination of service patterns, Caltrain will offer alternatives for customers with different needs and priorities, namely:
- Introducing Limited service during midday periods
As a part of this new timetable, midday service is also changing. Instead of offering 2 skip-stop Limited trains per hour, Caltrain will offer the service in the following combination:
- One Local train per hour in each direction, making all weekday stops between San Francisco and San Jose Diridon Stations, and;
- One Limited (L5, 5XX-series) train per hour in each direction, stopping at the 10 most popular stations with good regional transit connections.
- Hourly one-seat ride between all stations between San Francisco and Tamien by Local trains
- Two trains per hour between 12 stations served by L5 trains instead of only 8 stations under the current service (service at 22nd Street, San Mateo, Menlo Park, and Santa Clara will increase), and
- Shorter scheduled trip time between San Francisco and San Jose (74 minutes, 9 minutes shorter than the fastest off-peak trains in the current timetable) as well as between some other station pairs served by L5 trains. It should also be noted that L5 trains are scheduled to operate in the early morning (before the morning peak commuting period) and in the evening (after the afternoon peak commuting period) to offer the same benefits described above.
This new off-peak service offers the following benefits:
- More frequent late evening service
Caltrain will double the service in the late evening period in both directions by adding 3 roundtrips of Local trains between approximately 8 p.m. and 11 p.m. With this addition, Local trains will run once every 30 minutes during this period. In addition to potentially capturing new ridership markets, this increase will provide better and more consistent service options for customers going to sports games and other weekday evening events. Also, as a part of this late evening service increase, Caltrain will operate the last northbound train approximately 30 minutes after the one in the current schedule. Under the new timetable, the last northbound train will operate as a Local and depart Tamien at 11:05 p.m. (San Jose Diridon at 11:12 p.m.).
- Restore Gilroy Service to 3 round trips per day
Caltrain will restore the 3rd Gilroy Service roundtrip during the peak period serving the 5 South County stations south of Tamien on weekdays (Capitol, Blossom Hill, Morgan Hill, San Martin and Gilroy).
- Adjusted College Park Service
With the increase in train service and service options, Caltrain will make adjustments to service to/from College Park Station (including direct service to/from Gilroy line stations).
- Maintaining adequate transfer times between Caltrain trains and BART trains at Millbrae Station.
Even with all of these changes, Caltrain developed the timetable with an emphasis on BART connections at Millbrae. Since June 2020, the goal has been for northbound Caltrain trains to arrive within 10 minutes of a scheduled BART departure to San Francisco and the East Bay, while southbound trains will depart within 10 minutes of a scheduled BART arrival. Even though most of the trains scheduled during the weekdays have met that goal, when BART changes service in the evenings from Red Line (Richmond-Millbrae) to Yellow Line (Antioch-SFO) service, BART changes the pattern of arrival/departure time at Millbrae, which will unfortunately create longer wait times for customers during those periods. In addition, due to the way BART service at Millbrae is timed, customers transferring from/to BART trains from/to SFO will experience longer wait times.
- Identical schedule on Saturdays and Sundays
The new Caltrain schedule was designed to simplify and enhance the customer experience. For this reason, Caltrain will operate an identical schedule on both Saturdays and Sundays, which will also help with operational consistency and the acceleration of electrification construction activities.
It should be noted that due to the significant difference in the BART train schedule on Saturday and Sunday, the time buffer between Caltrain arrival/departure and BART arrival/departure at Millbrae Station on Sundays is significantly longer than on weekdays and Saturdays. We apologize in advance for any inconvenience this may cause for riders transferring between the two services at Millbrae.
- Earlier and later trains on Sunday
Creation of a unified weekend schedule means that Caltrain will operate 2 additional roundtrips on Sundays. The timing of the new trains is close to the “Saturday only” trains in the current weekend schedule, which are scheduled in early morning and late evening:
- The first northbound train will be a Local departing Tamien Station 7:12 AM (currently 7:17 a,m, on Saturday) and scheduled to arrive San Francisco Station 8:56 a.m., approximately 90 minutes earlier than the current Sunday service;
- The last northbound train will be a Local departing Tamien Station 11:05 p.m.. With the last train departing San Jose Diridon Station at 11:12 p.m., 30 minutes later than currently scheduled. it will provide a new option for customers going to sports games and other special events on Sunday evenings;
- Two more Local trains will operate after the last train on the current schedule and will depart San Francisco Station at 10:58 p.m. and 12:05 a.m. This new service is oriented towards essential workers on later shifts, as well as customers returning from sports games and other evening events in San Francisco on Sunday evenings
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