Caltrain, along with local dignitaries, celebrated the successful completion of all 3,092 foundations for the new overhead catenary system (OCS) that will support electrified Caltrain service.
The 51-mile Caltrain Electrification project will be the first 25KV OCS system on the west coast and will provide power to the new electric trains that will start arriving on the corridor in spring 2022. Caltrain began construction on the project in 2017.
Within a couple months, the OCS system in the southern segment of the project will be “live” with energy flowing into the system, an AEM7 electric locomotive will begin testing the OCS and by summer 2022, the entire 51-mile corridor will be electrified.
“Today marks a major achievement in the history of Caltrain,” said Michelle Bouchard, Caltrain acting executive director. “This final foundation marks a turning point in the electrification of this railroad, towards a modern, efficient service that the people of the Bay Area deserve.”
The first electric trains will arrive in spring, after completing 10 months of testing at speeds up to 115mph at the Transportation Technology Center national test track in Pueblo, Colo.
“Caltrain has been the spine of the Peninsula’s transportation system since Abraham Lincoln was in office,” said Anna Eshoo. congressmember. “Electrification will modernize this 150-year-old railroad, improving local air quality by 97 percent, offering faster service, and carrying the equivalent of 5 ½ freeway lanes of traffic every hour. This is the world-class, modern, and climate-friendly electric transit system that our innovative region deserves.”
The project requires an additional $462 million over initial estimates. Caltrain said it is working with its funding partners, as well as its federal and state legislative delegations to fill the funding gap.
To date, Caltrain has received an additional $52.4M from the federal government; has access to $150M financing credit and $60M in Measure RR capital reserve towards the funding gap.
According to Caltrain, slectrification will reduce its greenhouse gas emissions and eliminate the particulate matter caused by the aging diesel engines.