California Dreamin’

Written by: Gary Dolzall

Train Simulator’s extraordinary Peninsula Corridor route will be the featured North American route in TS2018!

Stretching from San Francisco, the magnificent “City by the Bay,” 47 miles down the scenic San Francisco Peninsula and through vibrant Silicon Valley to San Jose, California, the Peninsula Corridor: San Francisco to San Jose route will be the featured North American content in the upcoming Train Simulator 2018 package.

Train Simulator’s Peninsula Corridor: San Francisco to San Jose route is a bustling, multi-track line alive with Caltrain commuter operations and the railroad’s flashy MPI “MPXpress” diesels and Bombardier bi-level equipment. Between San Francisco’s 4th & King Street station and San Jose Diridon station, Caltrain serves 24 intermediate commuter stations which, together with fast (79 mph) mainline running, guarantees plenty of contemporary railroading challenges for train engineers on the line. And the Peninsula route is also home to diverse freight services operated by western railroading giant Union Pacific.

Today’s railroad stretching down the San Francisco Peninsula was formed in 1860 as the San Francisco and San Jose Railroad and, after completion south to San Jose in 1864, was in 1870 absorbed into the Southern Pacific. For more than a century, SP then operated what became known as its “Peninsula Commute Service.” By the late 1970s, though, SP’s commuter services were saddled with operating losses. As an initial step toward a long-term solution, in 1980 the California Department of Transportation assumed control and provided funding for the route and while introduced a new “Caltrain” branding for the commuter services (but with SP operating the line as a contractor).

A decade later, via the creation of the Peninsula Corridor Joint Powers Board, Caltrain assumed full operations. Originally operating with ex-SP equipment, the California Department of Transportation and Caltrain took its first major step in fleet renewal in 1985 with the acquisition of Nippon Sharyo galley commuter cars equipped for push-pull operations, together with Electro-Motive F40PH diesel-electric locomotives. In the intervening years, Caltrain’s fleets of gallery cars and F40PHs have been expanded and continue to serve the railroad and, beginning in 2003, they were joined by MPI “MPXpress” MP36PH-3C diesel locomotives and Bombardier bi-level commuter equipment. Coinciding with the arrival of its new equipment, Caltrain introduced its popular express “Baby Bullet” trains which, depending upon schedule, make as few as four intermediate stops between San Francisco and San Jose. Caltrain’s primary maintenance facility for its equipment is its Central Equipment & Maintenance Facility (CEMOF) located near the San Jose Diridon station.

Southern Pacific, which retained operating rights for freight traffic on the Peninsula following the formation of Caltrain, was merged into Union Pacific in 1996, and UP today serves the route with freight services centered from South San Francisco Yard.

Train Simulator’s Peninsula Corridor: San Francisco to San Jose route included in the upcoming TS2018 will deliver fast-paced American commuter railroading at its contemporary best. Featured equipment accompanying the route includes Caltrain’s distinctive and energy-efficient, 3,600-horsepower MPI MP36PH-3C diesels and Bombardier bi-level coaches and cab cars. Providing the opportunity to re-create the line’s freight services, the route also includes a Union Pacific Electro-Motive GP38-2 and appropriate UP freight rolling stock – and the route also includes seven career scenarios re-creating a variety of Caltrain and Union Pacific operations as well as three railfan scenarios. – Gary Dolzall

Train Simulator’s extraordinary Peninsula Corridor: San Francisco to San Jose route will be the featured North American content in the upcoming TS2018 package! At the northern terminus of the busy, multi-track 47-mile route, Caltrain MPI MP36PH-3C No. 927 and two sisters are each lined up for departure from San Francisco’s 4th & King Street station (above), then a short time later Caltrain 927, with a Bombardier-equipped “Baby Bullet” in tow, makes its departure from the terminal (below). Screenshots by Gary Dolzall.

The Peninsula Corridor route utilizes a series of tunnels to make its exist from the famed “City by the Bay,” and a southbound Baby Bullet express commuter train has just emerged into the California sunshine as it nears Bayshore (above). The corridor is dominated by Caltrain’ busy commuter services, but is also home to Union Pacific freight operations. Based out of South San Francisco Yard, UP Electro-Motive GP38-2 504 is making a predawn delivery to San Francisco’s Pier district (below). Both the stylish Caltrain MPI MP36PH-3C and versatile Union Pacific EMD GP38-2 are included with the route.

Between San Francisco’s 4th & King Street station and San Jose Diridon Station, the Train Simulator Peninsula Corridor route includes 24 accurately modeled commuter stops. Dusk is beginning to settle at Burlingame as a southbound Baby Bullet arrives at the station (above), while on a brilliant California summer day Caltrain MP36PH-3C 927 leads another Bombardier-equipped Baby Bullet into Redwood City (below).

Whether viewed from trackside (above) or from the modernistic engineer’s controls of an MPI “MPXpress” MP36PH-3C diesel locomotive (below), the activity is bustling on the multi-track Peninsula Corridor route, as exemplified by a meet between north- and southbound Caltrain commuter trains near Santa Clara, California. Caltrain serves more than 13,500 passengers per weekday.

Caltrain commuter trains operate in “push-pull” fashion and the Train Simulator Peninsula Corridor route includes Bombardier bi-level cab car and coach versions. Dawn is just breaking at Santa Clara as a Caltrain Baby Bullet makes it station stop with a colorful and distinctive Bombardier cab car leading the way north.

With busy Diridon Station standing in the background, a northbound Caltrain Baby Bullet prepares to make its departure from San Jose (above), then moments later swings past the home of the San Jose Sharks of the National Hockey League (below).

With Caltrain’s expansive Central Equipment & Maintenance Facility (CEMOF) at San Jose standing in the distance, Caltrain and Union Pacific trains meet on the always busy and challenging Train Simulator Peninsula Corridor: San Francisco to San Jose route, which will be the featured North American content in the upcoming TS2018 package!

We’re always happy to receive your comments below but please ensure they are related to the subject of the article, we’ll remove any that appear to be unrelated.

Gary Dolzall


  • Can you guys please remove the “advanced braking” system on the MP36? Train brakes on passenger locos do not operate like that, they should be able to move freely and have graduated release. This particular system is also a huge pain when operating with a RailDriver, as you have to keep banging the train brake lever to release to get them to release in time.

    • The braking on the MP36 was set up by an expert on the locos, Matthew, do you have any documentation that can confirm what you’re reporting?

  • While I’m looking forward to the upcoming CalTrain EMD F40PH-2 (or F40PH-2CAT) with the Nippon-Sharyo gallery coaches and cab cars for the Peninsula Corridor, I have to ask, why can’t (or will) Dovetail Games make the Southern Pacific P-8 and P-10 class Pacific type steam locomotives with Southern Pacific heavyweight passenger cars (baggage, coach, diner, observation, etc) as a DLC for the Peninsula Corridor? That would be great for something much older and that some of that content I mentioned can even be used on Donner Pass. I saw Southern Pacific P-8 Class Pacific #2467 at the California State Railroad Museum and got some good photos of it from up-close and I’d be willing to send them to Dovetail Games as resources to make them for Train Simulator 2018 or Train Sim World. Even though if Dovetail Games did make this locomotive, I know it wouldn’t be as advanced as one of Smokebox’s steam locomotives, but at the same time, based on the advances Dovetail Games made on their British and German steamers over the last four years, I’d like to see that level of detail and realism added to American steam locomotives they make, that’s fair.

    • The key challenge with US steam is getting access to a working one for the purposes of recording audio, Tom. It’s certainly not deliberate why we haven’t made a US Steam locomotive in a while but we know all too well just how sensitive you all are to trains with sounds that are less than accurate. It’s because of this, we’re hesitant to put one into the plan. Does this mean we’ll never make a US steam engine? Certainly does not mean that as we’re working on creating the relationships we need to help us achieve the level of accuracy we all want. If you know of any railroad in the US that would be willing to help us get access to these locos, we’d certainly appreciate any direct contacts you can give us 🙂

      • Well Steve, if audio is what’s preventing Dovetail Games from making more American steam locomotives, then search no more because I’ve got it! From small tank engines like Flagg Coal #75 to big mainline steam locomotives like Norfolk & Western #611, I’m sure I can conjure up some clean audio from the American steam locomotives I’ve seen in operation. Count me in as a contact who can help get Dovetail Games making more American steam locomotives again. But please don’t feel that the lack of audio is preventing the company from making more American steam locomotives because I can help solve that and also some sounds can be shared among all American steam locomotives like the dynamo and air compressor sounds. I’ll send a support ticket to the support line with my audio files. Or is there another method of sending them to the developers at the company?

  • I can’t wait till the Caltrain F40 and Gallery cars come out! Will they be included with the TS2018 Edition or a separate DLC pack?

    • They’ll be a separate add-on Daniel, sometime later this year

  • When TS2018, or when the F40 and gallery cars get released, is there a chance we could get a possible bell fix with the bombardier cab car, and MP36?

    • Could you elaborate on what you think is the problem with the bell Angel, we’ll certainly pass the details over to the team

      • Sure Steve, in both the MP36 and the Cab Car, the E-bell sounds fine on the outside,but when you go inside to the engineer’s view in the cab, you can hear 2 bells, the E-bell, and another kind of bell. Also, the bell is incorrect for the cab car, the bombardiers use a bell similar to the one used for the LA Commuter Rail, but a little more higher pitch.

        • Thanks for the feedback Angel, I’ll be sure to get this across to the team to look into but cannot make any promises

  • One thing that I have noted previously is that ‘Baby Bullet’ equipment is no longer restricted to Baby Bullet service. The equipment is used on many local and limited stop services. I will provide the list of trains that operate with Bombardier built equipment below just for reference in case new scenarios are created for the update. (G) is for Gilroy service.
    Northbound trains using Bombardier: 309, 313, 217(G), 319, 323, 225, 233, 143, 155, 257, 365, 269, 375, 287, 289, 193, 199
    Southbound trains using Bombardier: 206, 310, 324, 228, 232, 134, 236, 152, 254, 366, 268(G), 370, 376, 386, 190, 192, 198

    • I did forget to add 278 to the SB list.

  • I wish DoveTail Games makes the LIRR (entries system they you must), also the Empire Corridor, featuring Metro-North’s Hudson and Harlem lines

    • I’m all in for the Long Island Railroad

  • When are we gonna see the F40PH-2 and Nippon Sharyo Gallery cars for this route?

    • I don’t have any details to share with you right now LatviaBoy1999, all I can say is, they’re in progress 🙂

  • For an American route that Dovetail Games has made before. This is a good one! The Peninsula Corridor is an exciting route that has passenger and freight trains included in its default package.

    Kudos to the marketing department. I also love the look of the CalTrain MPI MP36 on the Train Simulator 2018 cover with the DB BR 442 and the Virgin BR Class 221 with the backgrounds of the Austrian/German Alps, the San Francisco skyline and Conwy Castle in Wales.

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