An update on the potential redevelopment of San Francisco’s Fourth and King Street Railyard and station, the current terminus for Caltrain in the city, was presented to Caltrain’s Board of Directors yesterday.

In summary, the two most likely options are limited redevelopments of a portion of the existing yard fronting Townsend and 4th Streets and possibly along King, while the complete redevelopment of San Francisco’s 4th and King Street Yard is a stretch.


In terms of timing, don’t expect anything to happen before 2019, the year by which the electrification of Caltrain should be finished. And that “not before 2019” date includes any extension of Caltrain’s service to San Francisco’s Transbay Transit Center which is slated to open in 2017.

7 thoughts on “San Francisco’s Caltrain Railyard Redevelopment Update And Post 2019 Plans”
  1. The trains need to go somewhere. A switchyard that is convenient to the train terminus will be needed especially for high speed rail. I am all for developing the site, but that stuff needs to go somewhere. The best site really is the old location in Brisbane, but perhaps they should figure this stuff out before they start carving up the site.

  2. I hope there’s more to it than just redeveloping because, hey, everybody else is. Heck, they just redid the place 15 years ago.

  3. I agree with Adam above but my thought is develop the entire lot with commercial space being above. There would be a Cal Train station located at Townsend and between 4th & 5th Streets.
    Then use the area between 6th and 5th to take the trains below grade and for a yard, then just build commercial space above that.
    And then in the area of 7th , 6th for a ground level yard with storage built above that more commercial space.

  4. The Powers That Be need to integrate the redesign of 280 with the redesign of Caltrain. I say, bury the stub of 280 from Potrero Hill (or even further south!), and in the process *extend* it so that it connects with 80 at 5th Street (*plenty* of room for the tunnel to emerge on the E side of 5th Street, between the E and W bound lanes). Could be tunnel off-ramps at 16th (for Potrero Hill & Mission Bay) and King or Townsend) for SoMa and ballpark. This would facilitate burying Caltrain, free up land for develoment (and remove the barrier of an elevated freeway), *and* thereby improve regional transportation in multiple modes. (It would also end 280’s status as perhaps the only subsidiary interstate that doesn’t actually connect with its namesake!)

  5. Yes, the rail yard is necessary – but, no reason it can’t be underground – think Grand Central in NYC, something like 30+ lines and switchbacks, all underground. Same with Penn Station. Or, just build over it as at South Station in Boston, or in downtown Chicago (at the same time installing scrubbers in smokestacks, if they’re still using diesel, cleaning air at the same time).

  6. Accommodating the rail yard while reconnecting 5th and 6th streets should really be a priority for the city. Redeveloping the yard incrementally could be a great way to make progress, but it would be a shame if this precluded the reestablishment of an open street grid.

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