(Downtown) Mountain View is a major transit hub in Silicon Valley. The station has always been a stop on the Peninsula Commute Service (Caltrain) with a standard Southern Pacific Railway Depot Built in 1888. The depot was later torn down in 1960. A Google Earth image (Mountain View is home to Google's headquarters) of the station in 1991 shows a simple hold-out rule station with a side platform along the parking lot along the west side of the tracks and a do-not wait here, narrow island platform between the two tracks. The Caltrain station was rebuilt to the current two side platforms by 1996 when trains became wheelchair accessible and Mountain View was a station with a lift (impossible to do under the previous hold-out station conditions).
VTA Light Rail arrived at the station with its new island platform as the terminus on December 20, 1999. The Tasman West extension originally was served by trains only running from here to Baypointe where passengers could transfer to the Santa Teresa (core line) for service into San Jose. Baypointe became an awkward switchback required station In 2005 with the opening of the line to Winchester, the Mountain View — Winchester Line became a route in its own right with through service finally provided from Mountain View to Downtown San Jose.
The City of Mountain View celebrated its Centennial in 2002 and decided to build a modern replica station of its original historic 1888 Station. This new, replica, two-story off white with green trim depot is now home to a wine bar & shop and around it is Centennial Plaza, a pedestrian plaza.
The station has four tracks all parallel to each other; the western two are the through tracks used Caltrain and the eastern two the VTA Light Rail tracks that end at bumper blocks just before the grade-crossing (of Caltrain only) of Castro Street that becomes Moffett Blvd just after the intersection of Central Expressway that is parallel to the western side of the rail and light rail ROW. The Light Rail follows the Caltrain ROW until beyond the next stop, Evelyn, only served by the light rail.
The platforms for each rail system are completely offset from one another. The light rail island platform for its two tracks just north(east) of the two side platforms for Caltrain. VTA light rail trains terminate at an island platform that has its main entrance via a ramp up from the middle of the grade crossing of Castro Street beyond the bumper blocks. Trains change direction tracks using a diamond crossover just beyond this platform, directly along the Caltrain platforms. Amenities for waiting passengers are two wide green shelter structures (with red line accents) with a windscreened bench (that faces inward) at each corner. VTA's TVMs are located beneath. Two metal sculptures: Entry Portal, a gear held up by two triangular metal posts all passengers using the north platform entrance walk under and Metal Screen a triangular screen near the south platform entrance by Dan Dukes are VTA's artwork at the station.
At the southern end of the light rail platform, a pedestrian-only grade crossing leads across the west track only. This leads to the northern end of the entrance walkway area up to the San Francisco-bound Caltrain platform and the northern pedestrian crossing across the Caltrain tracks, the only other entrance to the San Francisco-bound Caltrain platform another pedestrian crossing over the Caltrain tracks only at its southern end.
The San Jose-bound Caltrain platform is along the station's main 340 space paid parking lot (paid through Caltrain ticket machines) that extends south and is two lanes of angled park cars wide between the tracks and Evelyn Avenue. For amenities the platforms have wide shelter/canopy structures with arching green roofs and benches surrounded by glass windscreens. 3 are on the San Francisco-bound platform, and one is on the San Jose-bound platform.
Just north(east) of the San Jose-bound platform and parking lot is a half-circle bus/shuttle loop that forms a crescent off of Evelyn Avenue. There are two loops with buses going clockwise and using the outer crescent and shuttles (only) going counterclockwise and using the much narrower inner crescent. A wide pedestrian island with 5 nice canopies for bus passengers (with built in benches) in the same style as those on the Caltrain platforms is between the two roadways. North of the bus loop is the replica depot along the tracks (with Castro Street along it) and Centennial Plaza with a variety of benches in front of the depot, between it and Evelyn Avenue.
Photos 1-42 taken on 12 June, 2013, 13-68: 18 January, 2014