The Caltrain Electrification Project is expected to be completed in 2024.

The Caltrain Electrification Project is expected to be completed in 2024.

Photo: Caltrain

For the first time, the Caltrain Traction Power Substation in San Jose was energized with power from Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E), a milestone in the Caltrain Electrification Project that will allow Caltrain to run tests at its facility and along the corridor.

“This is a critical step forward in the Caltrain Electrification project, signifying power availability along a six-mile stretch of the corridor between Santa Clara and San Jose,” said Michelle Bouchard, Caltrain acting executive director. “Before activating this southern segment, we are ensuring that all employees and contractors receive the necessary safety awareness training to work in electrified territory. Availability of power will enable us to begin testing and commissioning the overhead contact system and new EMU trains. We want to thank PG&E for their help and coordination with this complex undertaking.”

Caltrain’s substation in San Jose is also one of two main substations along the Caltrain corridor, with the other one being in South San Francisco. Together, with eight other smaller facilities along the corridor, power substations provide, distribute, and regulate electricity to the overhead wires which will power Caltrain’s new electric trains.

“With this energization, PG&E is proud to help Caltrain modernize and electrify a critical transportation link for the Bay Area and California as a whole,” said Ahmad Ababneh, PG&E electric operations VP of projects and construction. “We couldn’t have achieved this important milestone without the tenacity and nimbleness of the entire PG&E team who worked together to safely construct and upgrade numerous facilities including substations and transmission lines to support Caltrain’s project.”

PG&E’s work to complete the project for Caltrain was needed to be safely conducted while maintaining service to more than 20,000 customers and was also served by the existing infrastructure.

The infrastructure upgrades from PG&E include:

  • Construction of two, double-circuit 115 kV transmission connections from the East Grand Substation in South San Francisco and the FMC Substation in San Jose to Caltrain traction power stations in those communities. 
  • Rebuilt the East Grand and FMC substations that enabled PG&E to support Caltrain’s request for redundant transmission feeds.
  • Additional upgrades to three PG&E and two third-party remote end substations.

Electrification will reduce Caltrain’s greenhouse gas emissions and eliminate the particulate matter caused by the aging diesel engines. Engine noise created by the trains will also be reduced.

The Caltrain Electrification Project is expected to be completed in 2024.

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