Tamien is a combined Caltrain and VTA Light Rail Station south of downtown San Jose. VTA Light Rail is located in the median of Guadalupe Parkway opened on August 17, 1990 as a plaque dedicates. Caltrain running north of the freeway has a graffiti covered plaque dedicating it on June 27, 1992 which was a VIP day. Regular service started by July 1, 1992 the same day that 2 trains per day were extended farther south to Gilroy. The station is 4 miles south and is a southern San Jose Park & Ride for Caltrain riders. About half (20 out of 46 trains per weekday in each direction) leave San Jose and run south to this station. These include 3 round-trip Baby Bullet Express trains going to S.F. in the AM rush hour, from in the PM. These operate in both directions around the AM and PM rush hours, there are also a couple of extended evening trips for late returning travelers. Originally there was more all day service to the station with nearly all trains (including all hourly midday trains) extended south from San Jose providing service here at least hourly. Budget cuts that discontinued half-hourly weekday midday service (reducing it to hourly) discontinued the hourly non-rush hour service to Tamien effective with the August 31, 2009 timetable. Weekend service (with all trains) was extended to Tamien, I believe with the station's opening. These were discontinued when all weekend Caltrain service was suspended for two years for the CTX project and never restored. Instead Caltrain dedicated (their fares are required) Shuttle Buses run hourly to and from San Jose Diridon connecting Tamien with Caltrain service. A day care center opened in the Caltrain side of the station's parking lot in November 1995 and allows a one-stop trip for commuters to park their car, board their train and drop off their child. All signage including on the Caltrain platform is in VTA's white with arrows surrounded by circles style. The station signage directs passengers to Child Care Center (with an image of a baby, like signs for a baby changing station). Both platforms at this station are fare paid zones with all TVMs for VTA Light Rail and Caltrain located in the two underpasses.
The VTA Light Rail and Caltrain platforms are parallel to one another. The VTA platform has the typical design of the stations on its original line. It is in the middle of the Guadalupe Parkway (CA-87). There are two separate large canopy structures. These have columns with some tiling them holding up and circular roofs. Tamien is written on these columns. Platform entrances are at either end. These both have a combined staircase/narrow up escalator down to a pedestrian underpass. The southern underpass unfortunately has the VTA platform elevator. Not good for step-free connections with Caltrain. This southern underpass leads only to the west side parking lot by the stations bus stop and loop (two bus lines). The northern underpass is more important and connects the smaller parking lots on both sides of the station. These parking lots accommodate a total of 275 free parking spaces. This is the most northern Caltrain station to offer free parking.
The northern underpass connects the Light Rail platform and provides the only entrances via a combined up escalator/staircase (surrounded by a yellow enclosure) and an elevator surrounded by a blue shaft to the island platform used by Caltrain. The platform is surrounded by a nearly full-length white canopy structure that runs as close to the edge of the tracks as it can while leaving enough clearance for the tall Caltrain and freight cars. Beneath it passengers have a variety of benches, some surrounded by glass windscreens on three sides. There is also a mobile lift built with the platform for ADA access. The station is the most southern stop (none of the 5 stops on the Gilroy line have them) to be equipped with Caltrain's LCD information signs that display the train number and if the train is late or not. They revert to "Train #--- Approaching" when a train is approaching the station. This island platform has two through tracks that platform west of a third track that doesn't platform and is used by Union Pacific freight trains. The Caltrain trips to and from Gilroy switch onto the single Union Pacific track that continues south of the station to reach Gilroy. Atamont Commuter Express's midday storage yard (with 4 tracks) is located a bit south of the station so these trains run light to and from their yard without stopping at the Caltrain Station. The final train to bypass the station is Amtrak's Coast Starlight that runs non-stop down the line bypassing Gilroy as well (the next stop is not until Salinas 67 miles south of San Jose).
All Photos taken on 12 June, 2013