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Eyes Under the Street: A Tour of the Transbay Train Box

10:15 AM PDT on August 20, 2018

Skip Sowko, Senior Design & Engineering Manager, showed Streetsblog around the huge ‘train box’ under the new Transit Center. All photos Streetsblog/Rudick unless indicated

This wraps up the first week of operations for the new Salesforce Transit Center, phase 1. Reviews are in, and most people seem to love the rooftop park and the grand design of the facility. But what about phase 2, the train station below it--and the thing that makes it the future Grand Central Station of the West?

This morning, Streetsblog got a private tour of the two subterranean levels of the Transit Center--the future train station mezzanine and the train platform level below it. Photographs can't really do justice to the breathtaking scale of the facility, which will some day house both Caltrain and California high-speed rail. But when you walk through the grand hall and other street-level parts of the new transit center, here's a look at what's below your feet:

Location of future escalators down to the platforms to catch Caltrain and High-speed rail
Location of future escalators from the mezzanine level down to the platforms to catch Caltrain and high-speed rail
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Natural light will get all the way down to the tracks via the 'oculus' skylight that stretches through all levels of the facility. There will be more retail on the mezzanine level, and there will be a direct pedestrian connection under Beale Street to BART and Muni at Embarcadero. And as previously reported, the powers that be are nearly finished hashing out details on the train track alignment from 4th and King to the Transit Center.

The first trains are scheduled to arrive no sooner than 2026. More pictures below.

It looks like a nuclear reactor but it's actually the bottom of the oculus--and a skylight all the way from the top to the train box
It looks like a nuclear reactor but it's actually the bottom of the oculus--the skylight all the way from the park at the top of the center to the lower level of the train box in the basement
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The entrances for the six tracks coming in from the DTX
The entrances for the six tracks coming in from the future downtown extension tunnel
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Another view of the oculus from the mezzanine level
Another view of the oculus from the mezzanine level
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The turn from the platforms to where the DTX will start. This is the slot for one track of six
The giant turn from the platforms to where the downtown extension tunnel will start. This is the slot for one of the six tracks
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A view of the mezzanine level of the future Transbay train station.
Another view of where trains will fan out from the downtown extension tunnel to the Transbay platforms
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It may not look like much, but this spot on the ceiling is where the future escalators will lead up from the train mezzanine to the grand hall
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The area of the floor in the grand hall where the breakout box is located for the escalators
The area of the floor in the grand hall where escalators will go down to the train station level--notice no detailed artwork here, since the floor will be cut open in a few years
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Entryway for one of the six tracks feeding in from the DTXX
Entryway for one of the six tracks feeding in from the future downtown extension tunnel
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The pedestrian causeway joining the mezzanine to Embarcadero BART's mezzanine will go here.
The entrance for the future pedestrian causeway that will join the Transbay train station mezzanine to Embarcadero BART's mezzanine.
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This access door is built to be flush with the future high-level train platform that will go here
This access door is built to be flush with the future high-level train platform
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The bottom of the support structure of the Transbay occulus
The bottom of the support structure of the Transbay occulus skylight, which brings natural light all the way down to the track level
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Some day. Image: Transbay Joint Powers Authority.
What it will all look like some day. Image: Transbay Joint Powers Authority.
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And here's a link to a video rendering of what the train level will look like when it's done.

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