Computer malfunction blamed for Caltrain delay 

Hundreds of commuters were delayed getting to work Monday morning after a computer glitch forced Caltrain to shut down service for a time.

Beginning around 8:45 a.m., at least eight trains full of commuters were halted between Redwood City and San Francisco when the connection between the central traffic control center and signals along the tracks was lost, Caltrain spokesman Jonah Weinberg said. The problem was caused by computer engineers attempting to complete a connection to the new central operations facility being built near the San Jose Diridon station, Weinberg said."There doesn’t appear to have been any foul play or hacking or anything like that," Weinberg said.

Early reports by Caltrain blamed the shutdown on malfunctioning software. Trains between Redwood City and San Francisco were halted until about 9:20 a.m., affecting much of the morning commute, Weinberg said.

All trains were back on schedule by about 10:20 p.m., Weinberg said. "We don’t expect this to happen again," he added.

While the shutdown was inconvenient, thesafety system performed as planned, Weinberg said. Trains were halted when train traffic controllers couldn’t see where the trains were on the system map, he said. Traffic signals along the tracks that the train engineers use to determine whether there is traffic ahead automatically turned red when the connection was lost.

"If they couldn’t see where the trains were, then shutting [the system] down was the prudent thing to do," said Margaret Okuzumi, executive director of the BayRail Alliance.

ecarpenter@examiner.com

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