Bad day on CalTrain !


I took CalTrain to San Francisco today. From San Bruno, near the airport, the train was supposed to go direct to SF. We started off, as expected, but the train stopped at the next station, Bayshore.

Curious. After a while, a lot of people came walking through the aisle. After a further while, the crew came onto the PA system and explained that there was a stuck brake (that’s what was causing the smell: but not in the car I was in). They eventually cut loose the whole car – explaining why the people were relocating – and moved on. Slowly, per standard operating procedure.

Sounded ok, it wouldn’t be that much of a delay. We went through a tunnel, and stopped again. The driver came on the PA: “Some idiot is walking through the tunnel. We have trains stopped at each end, waiting for him to get through, and we hope the San Francisco police will be here to pick him up.”

Foof! What a hassle! Eventually, we did start rolling again. Didn’t see any police, but maybe the idiot du jour was walking the other direction. What else could possibly go wrong?

Funny you should ask. Three minutes later, we stop again. The driver comes on the PA: “We just hit a car.”

From my second deck seat in the third car back, I had a ringside view of any number of fire engines arriving, police redirecting all the traffic, an EMT crew unloading a stretcher, then later re-loading it empty, a CalTrain truck arriving to inspect for damage, a tow truck arriving. Similar collection of vehicles on the other side, only a little of which could I see.

Eventually, the sheriff released the train to back up off the car, CalTrain inspected the track, and … dare we hope?

We actually made it to SF, about an hour and a quarter later than expected. Getting off the train, I turned to look at the cab car, which of course showed no sign of damage whatever.

It’s always an adventure, isn’t it! Official story

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