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Todd's Railfan Guide to the
San Jose CA
Light Rail System
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Railfanning around San Jose
VTA Light Rail is a light rail system serving San Jose CA and its suburbs in Silicon Valley. The system is operated by the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA). There is 42.2 mi (67.9 km) of track on two main lines and one spur line. The system initially opened in 1987, and has gradually expanded since then. Currently, there are 62 stations in operation on the three lines.
Although there are only 3 lines, there are 4 major corridors which the lines run on. The most important is the Guadalupe Corridor in South San Jose along CA-87, north to Tasman Station, which runs through Downtown San Jose and the business areas of central and North San Jose. It is serviced by two lines, making frequency along this corridor around 7.5 minutes. The other corridors are: the Tasman East/Capitol Corridor in East San Jose, the Mountain View/Tasman West Corridor in Northwest Silicon Valley, and the Winchester Corridor, which services communities in Campbell and West San Jose. Frequency along these corridors are around 15-30 minutes.
An interesting addition to the usual light rail service is the Commuter Express Light Rail Service. Introduced in October 2010 as a complementary service to the Alum Rock–Santa Teresa light rail line, the weekday, peak-period only Commuter Express light rail service currently operates between Baypointe and Santa Teresa stations. This service, with three trips each in the morning (to Baypointe) and in the afternoon (to Santa Teresa) stops at every station, with nonstop service between Convention Center and Ohlone/Chynoweth stations. This service offers free WiFi on board, and fares are the same as other local light rail services.
The short three station spur, or shuttle from the Ohlone/Chyoweth to Almaden (at the Almaden Expressway), is designated as route 900. At the Ohlone/ Chynoweth station, the shuttle connects to the Alum Rock–Santa Teresa Line. The Almaden station provides connections to VTA bus service. The shuttle receives little traffic, even though there is an intermediate stop at the Westfield Oakridge mall. The shuttles take about four minutes to go from end to end. This line only runs 1 car trains, as they can only fit on the platforms. The line has one track, with sidings at the two "end" stations.
The VTA system operates a fleet of 100 Kinki Sharyo Low Floor LRV's, which first entered service in 2002. They replaced a fleet of 50 cars made by Urban Transportation Development Corp, placed into service in 1987, retired in 2003.
last Modified: 08 Oct 2013