Santa Clara to San Francisco

This line is part of the following subdivision:

     Peninsula subdivision from CP Lick (San Jose, via Santa Clara) to 4th & King (San Francisco)

From south of San Jose to San Francisco, the railroad is in an urban area. At CP Coast (MP 44.8), the number of Main Tracks drops from Three to Two, and the line heads west-northwest, with the speed limit now 79 mph for passenger and 50 mph for freight trains. The Lewis Avenue road bridge passes overhead, Lafayette Avenue passes beneath, Scott Avenue and the San Tomas Expressway bridge overhead, there are detectors on both tracks at MP 42.0, where the line bridges over the San Tomas River, and a pedestrian bridge passes overhead. At CP Bowers (MP 41.7), where there are crossovers, Four Main Tracks begin, with the Bowers Avenue road bridge overhead and a flood channel below, through an area with industrial spurs on the north side of the track which heads due west through this area, passing over a road crossing below, and through the passenger station at Lawrence (MP 40.8), which has platforms on the outer tracks only, with the Lawrence Expressway road bridge overhead, no visible depot, and parking on the east side of the line. There is an overcrossing at Wolfe Road, rail-served industry to the west, the North Fair Oaks Avenue road bridge overhead, a flood channel below, and a pedestrian bridge overhead.

The number of Main Tracks reduces to Two at CP Hendy (MP 39.5), where the line turns west-northwest again, passing through the station at Sunnyvale (MP 38.8), which has the N. Sunnyvale Avenue grade crossing at the south end, with both a parking garage and parking lot on the west side, a pedestrian bridge overhead and then the Matilda Avenue road bridge overhead, crossovers at CP Mary (MP 38.4), a grade crossing at Mary Avenue, a road bridge overhead (CA 237), another road bridge overhead (N. Whisman Road), the SR 85 bridge overhead, intermediate signals at MP 36.6, a passenger station at Mountain View (MP 36.1), with parking lot and depot on the west side,  and Light Rail station (connected by a foot crossing at grade) and Central Expressway on the northeast side. There is a grade crossing at Castro Street at the north end of the station, the line crosses a river, there is a road bridge (Shoreline Boulevard) overhead, trees alongside to the west, the Rengstorff Avenue grade crossing, Central Expressway alongside to the east, a passenger station at San Antonio (MP 34.1), Showers Drive alongside to the west at the station, and a road bridge (San Antonio Road) overhead at the station, as Central Expressway becomes Alma Street.

There are crossovers at CP Mayfield (MP 33.8), a culvert below, grade crossings at Charleston Road and Meadow Road, the line turns northwest, there is a culvert below, intermediate signals at MP 32.6, with the control box on the north/east side, extra track on the west side where the branch from Los Altos and beyond once trailed in from the south, Oregon Expressway passes below, and a passenger station at California Avenue (MP 31.8), with the parking lot and depot on the south/west side and the southbound platform between the tracks. There are intermediate signals at MP 31.6, Churchill Avenue grade crossing, the occasional use platforms at Stanford (MP  30.8), where Alma Street is still alongside to the east and a pedestrian subway beneath the tracks (most stations have simply a foot crossing at grade, unless otherwise stated in this description), Embarcadero Road passes beneath, and there is a passenger station at Palo Alto (MP 30.1), where the art deco depot and parking lot are on the west side of the line, there is parking towards the south on the east side of the line, University Avenue passes underneath both line and Alma Street along the east side, and makes connection with Alma Street by means of loops to the east, but has a turning loop on the bridge on the west side, adjacent to the depot. There is a pedestrian subway underneath the line, and a bus station on the west side north of the depot, with intermediate signals at MP 30.0, just north of the north end of the platforms.

There is a grade crossing at Palo Alto Avenue, where Alma Street temporarily ends, the line crosses San Francisquito Creek on a through truss bridge, there are crossovers at CP Alma (MP 29.3), with the control box on the east side and a spur on the west side, a new segment of Alma Street alongside to the east, a passenger station at Menlo Park (MP 28.9), with the Ravenswood Avenue grade crossing at the south end, a parking lot and then depot on the west side, with more parking north of the depot and on the east side of the line. The northbound platform is between the tracks. There is a grade crossing at Oak Grove Avenue at the north end of the station, another grade crossing at Glenwood Avenue, a culvert passing beneath the line, a grade crossings at Encinal Avenue, detectors at MP 28.2, a grade crossing at Watkins Avenue, and a passenger station at Atherton (MP 27.8), with the depot on the west side and an island platform for the northbound track, with the Fair Oaks Lane grade crossing at the north end. There is an overcrossing at 5th Avenue/Semicircular Road, a 4,900 ft. siding on the west side at CP Junction (MP 27.3), where there is a signal bridge and a connecting track to the former SP Dumbarton Bridge line curves away north and then east, and a 4,100 ft. siding on the east side at CP Dumbarton (MP 26.5), where the main line over that bridge trails in from the east and a spur to Redwood Harbor heads off to the north.  The result is that there are sidings on both sides between CP Junction and CP Dumbarton, with a road passing beneath. SR 84 bridges overhead at CP Dumbarton, south of the Redwood Harbor spur.

There are three grade crossings (Chestnut Avenue, Main Street, Maple Street), and Jefferson Avenue passing beneath, a passenger station at Redwood City (MP 25.4), with depot and bus platforms on the west side and Winslow Street on the east side, Broadway/Marshall Street grade crossing at the north end of the station, an additional parking lot on the west side, Brewster Avenue grade crossing, a spur on the east side, Whipple Avenue grade crossing, the track rises up on an embankment, with Stafford Street and then County Road alongside to the east, intermediate signals, two roads pass beneath (Howard Avenue, Brittan Avenue), and a culvert passes beneath. There is a passenger station at San Carlos (MP 23.2), with depot and parking lot at street level (below track level) on the west side. El Camino Real runs along the west side of the line, Holly Street passes beneath, there are intermediate signals, a culvert and Harbor Boulevard pass beneath, there is an island platform with a subway connection to the parking lot on the west side at the passenger station at Belmont (MP 21.9). Ralston Avenue passes beneath the island platform and there is more parking on the west side. The tracks are slightly depressed for awhile, and then elevated again.

There are crossovers at CP Ralston (MP 21.7),  intermediate signals at MP 21.5, 42nd Avenue passes beneath, intermediate signals at MP 20.4, a passenger station at Hillsdale (MP 20.3), with staggered platforms, that on the east side being further north than that on the west side, a parking lot and depot on the west side, Hillsdale Boulevard passes beneath at the station where the foot crossing between north end of one platform and south end of the other is, the line turns north-northwest, there is an occasional passenger station (platforms only) at Bay Meadows (MP 20.0), where the racetrack is close by on the east side, a spur on the west side, East 25th Avenue grade crossing, Romac, the SR 92 road bridge overhead, a station at Hayward Park (MP 19.1), with parking lot and bus station on the east side, where the line turns northwest again, Railroad Avenue alongside to the east, intermediate signals at MP 19.0, the 9th Avenue grade crossing, crossovers at CP Palm (MP 18.3), grade crossings at East 5th, and 4th Avenues, a bridge over a river, the grade crossings at East 3rd,  2nd and 1st Avenues, the latter at the south end of the station at San Mateo (MP 17.6), which has depot and parking lot on the west side and a pedestrian subway beneath the tracks, and the line turns west-northwest. There are intermediate signals at Howest (MP 17.5), three streets pass beneath separate bridges (Tilton, Monte Diablo, and Santa Inez Avenues), intermediate signals at MP 17.0, three grade crossings (Poplar and Bellevue Avenues, Villa Terrace), intermediate signals at MP 16.9, extra track on the east side, three more grade crossings (Peninsula, Bayswater and Howard Avenues) and then South Lane grade crossing at the south end of the station at Burlingame (MP 16.2), which has the depot on the west side, the northbound platform between the tracks, and North Lane grade crossing within the station. There are trees along both sides of the line and then on the west side only, Oak Grove Avenue grade crossing, and the station at Broadway (MP 15.3), with parking lot and depot on the west side and the Broadway grade crossing at the station, where the line turns northwest.

There are spurs on the west side followed by trees on the west side, crossovers and a 2,500 ft. siding on the east side at CP Trousdale (MP 14.5), as the line turns north-northwest, CP BART (MP 13.7), adjacent to the BART storage tracks on the east side of the line, where the passenger speed limit drops to 75 mph for a short distance before resuming at 79 mph, and the passenger station at Millbrae (MP 13.5), with parking lot and old depot on the west side, Millbrae Avenue road bridge overhead, and a new depot on the west side, with a pedestrian bridge overhead where connection with the adjacent BART station on the east side of the line is made. To the north of its three-platform, four track station, the BART line descends into tunnel and turns away to the east to head for the San Francisco International Airport. East Hillcrest Boulevard passes beneath, there are intermediate signals at MP 12.3, signals for the south side of CP Center, a pedestrian crossing, the crossovers at CP Center (MP 11.2), and Center Street grade crossing at the north end of the crossovers.

The BART line from the San Francisco International Airport passes underneath in tunnel and then heads away underground to take up the routing of the former Colma branch, there is a passenger station at San Bruno (MP 11.6), with parking lots on both sides of the line, as the line turns north, Angus Avenue grade crossing, detectors at MP 11.3, two more grade crossings (San Mateo Avenue, West San Bruno Avenue), with the first one at an acute angle and the street intersection on the east side of the line (all three grade crossings replaced by an overhead grade separation on May 26, 2013), the location of the junction where the former Colma branch (and before that the original SP line into San Francisco via Daly City) once headed northwest and today's BART line does likewise, albeit underground, the I-380 road bridge overhead, Herman Street alongside to the west, Scott Street grade crossing, and a spur on the west side at the north leg of the wye to the former Colma branch. On June 24, 2011, 50 mph crossovers at CP Scott (MP 10.5) are brought on line.

There are grade crossings at Tanforan and South Linden Avenues, and the line curves northeast, with a cement plant on the east side of the line, past connectors to many industrial spurs on both sides of the line, a flood channel passes beneath and Airport Boulevard passes beneath at an acute angle, the US 101 freeway crosses overhead from southeast to northwest on two concrete bridges as the line reaches the passenger station at South San Francisco (MP 9.3), which has a parking lot on the west side, with spurs running through it, under the concrete bridges, and a parking lot on the east side beneath the East Grand Avenue Overcrossing. There are extra tracks on the outer sides of both platforms, with the three on the east side used for stabling UP locomotives working the industrial tracks in this area.

There are more industrial spurs on the east side of the line, and extra tracks on the west side, two road bridges overhead (one of them being a freeway ramp and the other Oyster Point Boulevard), and the US 101 freeway is alongside to the west, crossovers at CP Sierra (MP 8.3), with extra tracks on the east side, the line turns north-northwest, with freeway ramps overhead and the US 101 freeway crossing overhead, with Sierra Point Parkway alongside to the east under the freeway bridge  The line passes through CP Brisbane (MP 7.1), where Four Main Tracks begin, with Brisbane Lagoon alongside to the east between the railway and Sierra Point Parkway, and Bayshore Boulevard alongside the line to the west. The Tunnel Avenue road bridge passes overhead. There are extra tracks on the west side where an industrial spur once headed west, and the south end of the Bayshore yard on the west side of the tracks once began. The yard is now totally cleared and the land derelict, except for one extra track on the west side. There are extra tracks on the east side for a short distance, crossovers at CP Geneva (MP 5.9), as the line turns north-northeast and the north end of Bayshore Yard once was, and a passenger station at Bayshore (MP 5.3), with platforms on the outer tracks only, a pedestrian bridge overhead, Tunnel Avenue alongside to the east, and no evident parking lot or depot.

Two Main Tracks resume (down from Four) at the crossovers at CP Tunnel (MP 5.1), where the speed limit drops to 65-40, immediately adjacent to the south end of the tunnel, the line passes through 3,547 ft. Tunnel 4 (MP 4.6), with intermediate signals at the north end of the tunnel, there is a closed station at Paul Avenue (MP 4.1), adjacent to the Paul Avenue overcrossing, where passenger speed is now 79 mph again, extra tracks alongside to the east, and a line to Hunter's Point Naval Annex heads east. The Williams Avenue road bridge passes overhead just south of 2,364 ft. Tunnel 3 (MP 3.4), where passenger speeds drop to 75 mph, Oakdale Avenue road bridge passes overhead just north of the tunnel, and two separate roads pass underneath (Quint Street, Jerrold Avenue). There is a road bridge overhead at Evans Avenue and then I-280 comes from the southwest to run overhead above and along the tracks. there is a harbor (Islais Creek) alongside to the east, and Cesar Chavez (Army) Street crosses above the tracks but below I-280.

There are industrial spurs on the west side at the crossovers at CP Army (MP 2.3), where the line turns north, 1,086 ft. Tunnel 2 (MP 2.0), with an old closed tunnel parallel to the current one, alongside to the west, a passenger station at 22nd Street (MP 1.9), with the 22nd Street road bridge overhead but beneath the continuing I-280 viaduct which is above the tracks and the station, and the 20th Street road bridge overhead but beneath I-280. The line passes through 1,817 ft. Tunnel 1 (MP 1.5), under the Mariposa Street road bridge that is beneath I-280, and across a grade crossing (at 16th Street) that is also beneath I-280, and turns northwest through the crossovers at CP Common/Potrero (MP 0.8), where speeds drop to 40-10 and Three Main Tracks begin, there is a closed grade crossing at King Street, and I-280 leaves to the east side of the line. There are ramps from I-280 to the north that cross over the line, and yard tracks on the northwest corner of the turn (on the route of the original line via Daly City) as the line turns northeast at Seventh Street.

There are coach yards on both sides of the line, and a signal tower on the north side, as the line passes through the crossovers at CP Fourth Street (MP 0.3), where Four Main Tracks begin and the speed limit drops to 10 mph for passenger trains as well, and into the San Francisco station at 4th & King (MP 0.2), which is in yard limits. The station has six platforms with umbrella shed serving twelve tracks, with a single storey steel and glass depot across the ends of the platforms and the buffer stops at the ends of the tracks on the west side of 4th Street. The line once continued that other 0.2 miles to the erstwhile SP San Francisco station at Third and Townsend. I-280 descends to become King Street on the south side of the station, with the Caltrain (4th & King) island platform station of the Muni Metro in the median of King Street adjacent to the 4th Street intersection.