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 ■