It hasn't been a good year for Caltrain: the train agency battled a budget deficit and has also seen a "surge of deaths on the tracks," with nine people committing suicide by train this year, on top of the eleven last year. So the agency is going to do something about it. Or at least record it.
Caltrain will install video cameras on the fronts and on the backs of all of its trains, the San Francisco Chronicle reported on Monday. The agency bought 70 cameras at a cost of $500,000, money that Caltrain received as part of a grant from the state to handle security. The cameras will record "deaths and suspicious activity" on the tracks, which means both collisions between vehicles as well as folks on the tracks will be recorded, the newspaper reported.
The train agency's only conduit for information regarding on-track incidents currently is the train's engineer, who may or may not have a good glimpse of what's directly ahead of his engine, especially if visibility is poor thanks to weather or the onset of darkness.
The cameras are expected to be up and running by the end of the year, should the train agency's board of directors approve the allocation of the money at its meeting on Thursday, according to the newspaper, which asked a Caltrain spokeswoman when the videos will end up on YouTube.
"That I don't know," agency spokeswoman Christine Dunn said, according to the Chronicle. Hopefully, in the cases of on-track suicides, never.