The third Webster's definition of conundrum is "an intricate and difficult problem". To me, Caltrain is an intricate problem because of all of the parties involved starting with the actual railroad that owns the right of way (Union Pacific) and is often quiet on high-cost rail using said right of way all the way to the Joint Powers Board, Caltrain's organization itself, etc, etc, etc. The Daily Journal did two nice pieces on Friday that note
Caltrain’s Board of Directors is on a tight schedule to secure funds if it wants to stay on track to award design and construction contracts in the comings months that will enable its growing commuter base to ride electric trains by 2020. The board met Thursday morning to approve an updated agreement with its various local, regional, state and federal funding partners after staff realized the project cost had grown considerably from just $1.5 billion a few years ago.
The board members didn’t comment publicly during the meeting on the increased expense or discuss the project’s reliance on $713 million from high-speed rail and $647 million in not-yet-awarded federal grant money.
and the piece noted at least one guy who is paying attention
During Thursday’s meeting, some members of the public expressed skepticism whether relying on high-speed rail was wise. “There’s a $600 million hole in this budget currently,” said San Jose resident Roland Lebrun, noting high-speed rail’s legal troubles. “It’s blocked in the court, it’s not going anywhere.”
High-cost rail may eventually "go somewhere" but it won't be up the Peninsula by 2020! The second article goes to the design of the new cars themselves
The board and public gathered Thursday to discuss several key aspects of the new electric trains such as whether to include restrooms, how much space to leave for bicyclists and height of the doors.
The “discussion generally is centered around how to strike the balance between seats and standees, and bathrooms and general competition for onboard space in light of the growth we’ve experienced,” (COO Michelle) Bouchard said, later noting “one bathroom in essence equals 12 seats or 24 standees. And that’s quite significant if you look at it per car.”
So the conundrum continues as do the crowded trains, stranded cyclists and our closed B'way station. A conundrum indeed, but with the salaries Caltrain is paying one would hope for some good resolutions!