Rail passengers now have extra space to securely store bikes that previously spilled into aisles, as Caltrans has nearly doubled the bicycle capacity on Capitol Corridor and San Joaquin trains.
“There’s been a need for additional storage as more and more people ride bicycles on their commute,” said Caltrans director Malcolm Dougherty. “By the end of next year, more than a dozen expanded rail cars will be available for train riders.”
The first expanded rail car serving Capitol Corridor and San Joaquin passengers went into service last week. The lower levels of 13 additional cars will be converted to increase their bicycle-carrying capacity from three to 13 bikes per car, as well as 330 cubic feet of additional luggage storage, Dougherty said.
This will increase the average bicycle capacity from 12 to 22 per train. Construction on the remaining cars will take approximately four weeks per car with each one going into service as it is retrofitted.
Five rail cars in use in Northern and Southern California are already equipped with the new design, and future bi-level cars also will have the extra space.
The $8.3 million conversion project, which is funded by the Recovery Act, also will enhance Americans with Disabilities Act access by moving onboard restrooms to a more convenient location near the ADA seating area. To date, Caltrans has paid about $2.3 billion of the $2.6 billion made available to California.
The Capital Corridor route operates between Auburn and San Jose, stopping in Davis. The San Joaquin route operates between Bakersfield, Oakland and Sacramento.
Under the Amtrak California banner, Caltrans funds three of the six busiest intercity passenger rail routes in the Amtrak system: the Pacific Surfliner corridor (ranked second), the Capitol Corridor (third) and the San Joaquin corridor (ranked fifth). For more information, visit www.amtrakcalifornia.com.