Celebration to mark 150th anniversary of Caltrain on Peninsula 

click to enlarge Caltrain
  • Jeff Chiu/2013 AP file photo
  • Caltrain will offer free rides Saturday on a special train rolling from The City to Santa Clara, where a 150th anniversary celebration will include music and special speakers.
Caltrain is celebrating 150 years of rail service on the Peninsula with a traveling birthday party Saturday.

The party will begin with a 9 a.m. plaque dedication at the San Francisco station at Fourth and King Streets and conclude with a community festival in Santa Clara.

A special train will leave San Francisco at 9:40 a.m., and those wishing to join in the celebration are invited to ride for free. The train will make “whistle” stops at seven stations.

Commemorative plaques recognizing each station’s status on the National Register of Historic Places will be placed at all of the stops, Caltrain spokeswoman Christine Dunn said.

Dunn said the event will serve as a means to celebrate the past and look forward to the next 150 years, including the Caltrain Modernization Program, which calls for trading in the existing diesel trains for electric trains, she said.

“Today, the system serves a record-breaking 54,000 riders on an average weekday,” Dunn said. “With commute-hour trains operating at capacity, Caltrain must modernize to sustain continued ridership growth and to meet the growing financial, social and environmental needs of the communities it serves.”

The special train will arrive at the Santa Clara station at 11 a.m., where there will be a celebration that will include live music, food booths and exhibitors, including The Tech Museum. Roaming mobile food truck service Off The Grid will be on hand with a host of culinary options.

Speakers will include U.S. Reps. Anna Eshoo and Jackie Speier, state Sen. Jerry Hill, Metropolitan Transportation Commission board member Adrienne Tissier and California High Speed Rail Authority CEO Jeff Morales.

Speeches begin at 11:15 a.m., and the community festival will follow, running until 3 p.m.

A train for those wanting to return to San Francisco will depart from Santa Clara at 12:30 p.m., Dunn said.

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