The Caltrain Board of Directors announced it has unanimously appointed Michelle Bouchard to serve as the first permanent executive director of the railroad.
Bouchard has worked for Caltrain for more than 20 years and has been the acting executive director since April 2021, according to Caltrain's news release.
Bouchard has spent over 25 years in the transit industry, rising through the Caltrain ranks during the 2000s to eventually become director of Rail Transportation. During her tenure, the agency implemented railroad systems, including the procurement, design, and installation of a new rail operations control system.
Her leadership was instrumental in completing operations and capital program planning in support of future blended high-speed rail service on the Caltrain corridor that provided for the needed funding for electrification and the procurement of an electric train fleet.
She also played a role in conceptualizing and implementing Caltrain’s Baby Bullet service in the early 2000s.
In 2015, after a brief time at the Bay Area Rapid Transit District, Bouchard returned to Caltrain as COO. In her second stint at the agency, she has overseen the implementation of Positive Train Control and the completion of the Caltrain Business Plan and associated 2040 Service Vision Plan.
Upon taking on the acting executive director role, she has been overseeing the electrification project, which will modernize Caltrain service starting in 2024.
“I want to thank the Board for their confidence in naming me Caltrain’s executive director to continue leading the agency where my public transportation career started,” said Bouchard. “We have many challenges before us; we need to continue to increase our ridership, finish the electrification of the system and work with our partner agencies and the communities we serve to continue to grow our service. I can’t wait to get to work.”