March 9th, 2012

Pointless Arrow

Wrong Track

I took the last ACE train home yesterday, which arrives in Fremont/Centerville at about 6 PM. Both ACE trains (San Jose to Stockton via Pleasanton) and Amtrak Capitol Corridor trains (San Jose to Sacramento via Oakland) stop at Centerville. The trains are painted in completely different color schemes; the ACE trains say ACE / ALTAMONT COMMUTER EXPRESS in big letters on them, while the Capitol Corridor trains say "Amtrak California" on them. The ACE train managers repeatedly say, when the train makes its Great America and Fremont stops, "This is Altamont Commuter Express ACE train number # to Stockton. This is Not Amtrak." Collapse )

I have saved people from getting on an ACE train or the wrong-direction Capitol more than once at that station. People really need their hands held. They don't listen to announcements and they don't read signs or train-destination placards. And Fremont station, even with only two tracks, can be confusing because the platforms are not directional. A train going either direction can call on either platform, although there are normal calling patterns. However, you can't always rely on it, and there's no guarantee that "all trains to Sacramento stop at platform 2" or anything like that.