Caltrain, @Stilgherrian, @vmisev, Trainsim


Stilgherrian podcasted and rode the Caltrain for us back in Australia in 2014, so we didn’t have to. Exactly four years and one day later, Clara and I were wandering around the Caltrain station in San Francisco, and made many overlapping observations.

Silicon Valley runs on diesel

Idling locomotives at the Caltrain San Francisco station

When I first arrived here, my boss laughed that for its ultra modern global reputation, Silicon Valley runs on diesel. And aside from the so-called Baby Bullets, the locomotives are the boxy shaped ones more commonly seen pulling freight trains.

Efforts to electrify the system have taken even longer than the long-suffering Gawler line in Adelaide I used to take when I studied at UniSA; Stil knows what I’m taking about! So in the meantime, you can peek across the fence and see several of these lococs docked to the huge, double-decked carriages.

It looks like Mars in the right light

Which leads us to the colour. We’ve had spectacular weather since we started working here, but this morning we awoke to the sight of a surreal, orange-tinted sky and fog. It felt like Mars wandering outside the railyard.

This lead @vmisev to render a delightful modification to this image. As Mayor Quimby once commented, that’s a quality side!

You can get it on Train Simulator

A friend of mine commented that Train Simulator was the most “gifted” game when he worked at EB Games, presumaly because people were too embarrased to admit they play it. I used to count myself among them, now I don’t give an accute flying toss!

If grown men can watch other grown men tackle each other in tiny satin shorts and call it manly rugged rugby or AGL or whatever, I can operate a virtual train and make grunting noises as I attempt to navigate it up steep terrain and other hazards.

I’m not sure how tosses fly, but there you have it.

Screenshot from the aforementioned route

I just checked, the game has a San Francisco to San Jose route, though it has mixed reviews. I may still need to get it; if only so I can play it with that same orange sky when I’m back in Sydney in a few weeks, like a gentleman.

And there ends my meandering post about Caltrain. No podcasting from me about it, because again, Stilgherrian did already from that endless plain of lowrise office campuses and desolate freeways.

Author bio and support


Ruben Schade is a technical writer and infrastructure architect in Sydney, Australia who refers to himself in the third person. Hi!

The site is powered by Hugo, FreeBSD, and OpenZFS on OrionVM, everyone’s favourite bespoke cloud infrastructure provider.

If you found this post helpful or entertaining, you can shout me a coffee or send a comment. Thanks ☺️.