SF Peninsula Caltrain | UP

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Receiver Frequency Plan:

AAR47 - Caltrain Road (San Jose North)


Welcome to the San Francisco CALTRAIN / UP Freight Operations  stream



The San Francisco Peninsula Commuter Corridor consists of double track CTC main line which runs between San Francisco (Mp 0.0) and San Jose (Mp 47.5) (which technically is on UP's Coast Subdivision).

The action on the line is hot and heavy especially during commute times. The JPB runs upwards of 96 commuter trains on Weekdays, with as little as 10 minutes separation between trains at peak commute hour.


Baby Bullet Express overtakes a non-express local in the passing track at CP Lawerence.

 Photo provided Courtesy of fjCaron

                   Photo provided courtesy of fjC.


While the commute trains are the primary traffic on the line, there are a few freight locals and switch jobs which ply the rails, mostly during the night time to stay out of the way of the commutes.

These are:

  • South City Switch Job
    Works daylight hours beginning in the AM and switches Industrial spurs of South San Francisco to Mission Bay.
  • Broadway Local
    Uses the same power as the South City Switch, goes on duty around 7PM weeknights and runs from So. San Francisco to Redwood City and then on to San Jose and returns about Midnight.
  • Mission Bay
    Recently moved it's origination point to So. San Francisco yard, this train is the heavy hauler on the Peninsula. With 3 units (include SD40s or larger motive power at times)  now the standard consist for this local, they have no trouble pulling the 60 to 90 car trains that can frequently be seen, consisting of Granite Rock gravel hoppers, "Dirty Dirt" bath tub gondolas, and mixed manifest, this can be an impressive train to see (and hear) rumble down the Peninsula between non-rush hour evening commutes. It leaves So. City about 830PM and runs frequently to Redwood City, then on to Warms Springs. Usually returns to So. City in the wee hours of the morning.

Detectors heard:

  • MP 11.3 (San Bruno) Track 1 (Northbound) and Track 2 (Southbound) -=Retired during Mainline Relocation=-
  • MP 28.2 (Atherton) Track 1 (Northbound) and Track 2 (Southbound)
  • MP 42.4 (Sunnyvale) Track 1 (Northbound) and Track 2 (Southbound) Only if Radio Conditions are excellent

Frequency Monitored:
160.815 AAR 47/47 San Jose Control (North/South depending on which transmitter they use)
(There are various Transmitter sites in the San Jose, San Carlos, South San Francisco, and City of San Francisco areas)

San Jose Control also controls the interlocking at CP Coast to allow UP freight coming off the Coast Subdivision to transit thru the JPB's tracks on their way south to Gilroy and points beyond.

In addition to the Caltrain Commutes there are the Amtrak Capital trains and The Coast Starlight also shares the San Jose Depot and the short stretch of tracks which run northward from the depot to CP Coast where the main line splits into UP Coast Subdivision to Oakland, and Caltrain Mainline to San Francisco. Thus San Jose Control can be a very busy dispatcher at times.

This is a very interesting and busy stretch of railroad. With the Baby Bullet Express train operations and the use of center sidings for express train expedition, it's about to get even more interesting! Give a listen!


Below is a computer simulated graphical plot of maximum possible receiver coverage using the Longley-Rice Prediction Method adjusted for a very weak receive signal (.2uV for 20dB quieting) which best approximates some of the weakest signals heard from the most common distant locations.

Note: it is not unusual to hear signals outside of the red zone depicted, but those are due to non line-of-sight propagation modes which are variable and unpredictable due to weather and various secondary propagation modes such as RF Ducting, Knife-edge , and E skip (ionospheric bounce). 

Online Prediction Software provided courtesy of Communications Research Centre Canada  - An Agency of Industry Canada

 Legend for Signal Strength vs Color (Dark Blue/Grey is Strongest, Light Blue is the area for weakest signals to be received from)