In the 21st century, level-platform boarding is just one of those features taken for granted in new passenger rail construction.
Except at Caltrain.
Caltrain has released plans for the “shared corridor” concept with high-speed rail. Incredibly, Caltrain is stubbornly clinging to 8″ platforms. The low platform height means anyone in a wheelchair, or with other mobility issues, will still have to suffer with wheelchair lifts or ramps.
That this is happening in the Bay Area is all the more remarkable. The Bay Area played an historic role in passing the Americans with Disabilities Act, and has an active (and litigious) disabled community.
Bob Doty, Caltrain’s High-Speed Rail Program Director, frequently refers to the $10+ billion makeover as making Caltrain just like BART. Far from being like BART, the new Caltrain is looking more and more like the old Caltrain.