The Student News Site of Menlo School

The Coat of Arms

The Student News Site of Menlo School

The Coat of Arms

The Student News Site of Menlo School

The Coat of Arms

Electric Caltrain Provides Students a Greener Commute

Staff+illustration%3A+Tatum+Herrin
Staff illustration: Tatum Herrin

The most frequently acknowledged methods of commuting to Menlo are driving, carpooling, biking or riding the bus are often the most frequently acknowledged methods of commuting to Menlo. At the same time, a notable portion of students and faculty also take the Caltrain to and from school, making the local rail system a small but important aspect of Menlo’s commuting culture.

And Caltrain popularity amongst Menlo commuters will likely grow as a result of the new changes coming to the trains. Caltrain broke ground on a modernization project in 2017, which will electrify 75% of Caltrain’s fleet and update the performance, efficiency and reliability of the trains. The advancements will not only help Caltrain combat climate change, but will also improve the experiences of passengers across the Peninsula.

The modernizations will add numerous power outlets and introduce built-in Wi-Fi, a first for Caltrain. There will also be a reduction in travel time and increased frequency, heightening the convenience of traveling by train — an impact that will be especially relevant for Menlo Caltrain commuters.

According to Caltrain, most of the electrified trains are set to be in service as soon as 2024, falling in line with Menlo’s sustainability program, GoMenlo, which provides students with incentives for practicing sustainable commuting.

Freshman Dean and history teacher Sabahat Adil commutes on the Caltrain nearly every day and is grateful for the change. “I think it’s a really positive change overall,” Adil said. “And I hope it’ll increase ridership.” 

Sophomore Carissa Satuito also weighed in on the benefits of the changes, agreeing with Adil. “I think it might encourage more people to take the Caltrain,” Satuito said. “[That] would be a lot better for everyone in our community.”

In accordance with Adil and Satuito’s hope for heightened popularity, Caltrain predicts a 20% increase in daily riders, a number that could extend to the Menlo community.

Beyond commuting advantages, Adil anticipates the benefits electrification will present on environmental noise. Adil lives near the Caltrain railroad and its noise causes inconvenience for her on a daily basis. “There’s days where we’ve been awakened by the Caltrain going by,” she said. “So I think that [the change] will help a lot just with noise pollution aspects.”

Adil is also appreciative of the efforts Caltrain has been making to improve its system. “They’re adding these little bits to make people feel enticed by the upcoming electrification,” she said, citing recent updates in pricing and scheduling as small-scale but welcome changes. “It’s great how they’re making it more marketable.”

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About the Contributor
Lucas Kawamoto
Lucas Kawamoto, Assistant A&L Editor

Number of years in The Coat of Arms: 2

Favorite aspect of journalism: Writing features!

Interests outside of school: Swimming, entrepreneurship, creative writing, watching tv and basketball.

Class of 2026

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