Railroadin’ on the Peninsula

Written by: Gary Dolzall

Gary Dolzall of Elphaba’s Workshop creates two Steam Workshop scenarios for the new Peninsula Corridor route

The “main act” on Train Simulator’s recently released Peninsula Corridor route is, of course, busy Caltrain commuter railroading. But this California line also hosts regular Union Pacific freight operations, and with both Caltrain and Union Pacific equipment included with this new route, I couldn’t wait to “go railroadin” on the Peninsula and create both a commuter and freight scenario for Steam Workshop!

The results, available free at Steam Workshop, are “Caltrain Baby Bullet 332” available here and “Union Pacific Redwood Extra” available here.

Hustling a Baby Bullet to San Jose:

Train Simulator’s Peninsula Corridor route extends over 47 miles of multiple track between San Francisco’s bustling 4th & King Street station and San Jose’s stylish Diridon station, and in the scenario “Caltrain Baby Bullet 332” I wanted to re-create a fast run southbound down the Peninsula. Caltrain’s Train 332 is a weekday 8:56 am departure from San Francisco that makes six scheduled intermediate commuter stops en route to San Jose.

As is typical for Caltrain’s Baby Bullet services, the consist of Train 332 is an MPI “MPXpress” MP36PH-3C diesel hauling six Bombardier-built Bi-Level commuter cars (five coaches and a trailing cab car). Over the course of approximately one hour (the scenario is based on Train 332’s current schedule but with minor adjustments for playability), the Baby Bullet will hurry down the busy and scenic corridor route and make intermediate stops at San Francisco 22nd Street, Millbrae, Redwood City, Menlo Park, Palo Alto, and Mountain View before pulling to a final stop at San Jose’s Diridon Station.

Set on a pleasant northern California summer morning, the southbound run of Train 332 provides an opportunity both for fast running (79 mph) and keeping to schedule while making multiple stops and, as might be expected, the railroad is busy with other train movements.

Saturday Morning Extra Duty:

Union Pacific’s freight operations on the Peninsula Corridor route are based out of the small yard positioned along both sides of the main line at South San Francisco. Typically, these operations consist of three jobs: The “South City Switcher” which handles yard duty and works the industrial sidings and spurs north toward San Francisco; the “Broadway Local,” which makes a turn south from South San Francisco handling lineside industries between South San Francisco and San Jose; and the “Mission Bay Hauler,” which is the road-haul train that forwards cars collected by the previous two jobs to UP’s connecting lines near Santa Clara. The above-mentioned three UP jobs are the basis of the freight career scenarios included with the route, so for a Steam Workshop scenario, I chose to re-create a Saturday morning “extra” that has been called to forward tonnage from South San Francisco to Redwood Junction.

Power for the Saturday extra freight job is a pair of Union Pacific Electro-Motive GP38-2s which are included with this route. Through its own purchases as well as inheriting via merger the GP38-2s owned by Missouri Pacific, Katy (Missouri-Kansas-Texas), Southern Pacific, and Chicago & North Western, the Union Pacific garnered an expansive roster of the versatile Geeps, many of which remain in active yard and road service today. The locomotive included with the Peninsula Corridor route is representative of those dynamic-brake-equipped EMD GP38-2s originally purchased by the Union Pacific in 1974-75 and which today wear up road numbers in the 500-series (UP road numbers 500-559).

The scenario “Union Pacific Redwood Extra” begins with the venerable EMD Geeps switching some of the nearby sidings at South San Francisco, then pulling together the extra’s consist in the yard, and finally making the run (freight maximum speed on the line is 50 mph) down to Redwood Junction where the train crosses over the route’s dual mains and is yarded.

I certainly enjoyed creating these Steam Workshop scenarios for the new Train Simulator Peninsula Corridor route, and other members of the community have also been busy and already contributed excellent scenario content to Steam Workshop for the new route. And no doubt, there are many more superb Peninsula Corridor scenarios to come from the community, so be sure to check them all out! – Gary Dolzall

The Peninsula Corridor route brings to Train Simulator both dramatic commuter railroading and challenging freight operations. In the Elphaba’s Workshop scenario “Caltrain Baby Bullet 332,” MP36PH-3C 927 is on the point as the morning southbound prepares to depart San Francisco (above), then a short time later blasts out of one the tunnels near Bayshore (below).

Hurrying south on the always-busy Peninsula Corridor route, Baby Bullet 332 encounters a northbound Caltrain commuter train operating in push mode with a Bombardier Bi-Level cab car in the lead (above), then rolls into Redwood City station (below) to make one of its six intermediate stops en route to San Jose.

Its journey to San Jose nearly complete, Caltrain Baby Bullet 332 sweeps past the restored Southern Pacific tower at Santa Clara. Opened in 1927 and used until 1993, the tower has been saved and restored by the City of Santa Clara and the South Bay Historical Railroad Society.

In the Elphaba’s Workshop scenario “Union Pacific Redwood Extra,” UP Electro-Motive GP38-2s 553 and 550 ease out of a siding at South San Francisco as a southbound Caltrain Baby Bullet sweeps past (above), then while handling switching duties, pull a pair of refrigerator cars from another nearby siding (below).

With their switching tasks in South San Francisco Yard complete, the Geeps twist through a pair of switches to enter the southbound main line with a high green ahead, just as a San Francisco-bound Caltrain commuter whisks by on the northbound track.

Working southward along the Peninsula, Union Pacific GP38-2 553 leads the way through the modernistic Millbrae Transportation Center (above), then the pair of veteran EMD Geeps make good time as the extra freight swings through a curve south of San Mateo (below).

Its morning journey nearly accomplished, the UP Redwood Extra crosses over the main line and swings into Redwood Junction. Train Simulator’s new Peninsula Corridor route offers challenging and authentic commuter and freight operations, and you can always find new and enjoyable community-contributed scenarios at Steam Workshop!

Profile photo of Gary Dolzall

Gary Dolzall

9 Comments

  • Profile photo of Adam Palmer

    Great stuff having played both of the scenarios. However I have one question. When can we expect the F40’s and NS bi-levels? Looking forward to those to complete the route

    • Profile photo of TrainSim-Steve

      We’ll have more details soon on what is coming this year

  • Profile photo of tlawer

    These are both great scenarios. You should make a scenario featuring a limited stop service, as the bombardier sets are used on local and limited stop services now, as seen here: http://www.caltrain.com/riderinfo/Bicycles/BikesOnBombardiers.html

  • Profile photo of Angel Barcelo

    Absolutely stunning route! I do have a few questions though. I’m not sure if it’s just my route, but the small white station name signs at Bayshore are upside down, and I was wondering if this could possibly be corrected. And, I’m very exited for the F40 and gallery cars to arrive soon, and was wondering if the F40 and cab cars will have the same sounding horns as the MP36 and Bombardier car, and the F40 and gallery cab mainly use an EMD steel bell.

    • Profile photo of lizardgai4

      I have the same thoughts regarding the F40. Also, I am guessing they will use the F40PH-2CAT because it is the most common variant of the F40

    • Profile photo of lizardgai4

      I don’t mean to sound angry, but it has been two months since any mention of the F40PH-2 and Gallery card for Caltrain was mentioned. What happened?

      • Profile photo of TrainSim-Steve

        The F40PH-2CAT and Gallery Cars will be added at a later date, I’ll have more news on this at the appropriate time.

        • Profile photo of Angel Barcelo

          I cant wait for the F40! But I do need to ask about the possibility of getting some fixes to the Caltrain Bombardier cab car since the cab cars don’t use E-bells, also for the horns on both the cab cars and the MP36 as you can hear a slight E-bell in the back round. Also, the signs at Bayshore station are upside down. I’m sorry if I sound too demanding, I do LOVE this route, I really do and I can’t wait to drive the F40 and the Gallery cab car, and add it to my Caltrain collection!

          • Profile photo of TrainSim-Steve

            Thanks for the feedback Angel, I’ll relay your thoughts to the Development Team

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