Caltrain celebrates energization and testing of full 51-mile corridor

Caltrain electric cars
Caltrain photo

Caltrain, with its partners Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) and Balfour Beatty, has successfully energized and tested the full 51-mile Caltrain-owned corridor between San Francisco and San Jose

MTC is a major funding partner of the Caltrain Modernization program to electrify and upgrade Caltrain commuter rail service.

The milestone achievement of the Caltrain Electrification Project announced last week signifies major progress in expanding Caltrain’s ability to test electric trains at full speed along the corridor and prepare for electrified revenue service in September. It will also set the framework for California’s future High Speed Rail network that will run on the Caltrain corridor. 

“The completion of the overhead catenary system allows us to test electric trains along our entire corridor,” said Caltrain Executive Director Michelle Bouchard. “This is a momentous step in the Caltrain Electrification Project as we approach the launch of electrified service in fall 2024."

Caltrain has built two main traction power substations, one in San Jose and the other in South San Francisco. Together, with one switch station and seven parallel stations along the corridor, power substations provide, distribute, and regulate electricity to the overhead wires which will power Caltrain’s new high-performance electric trains.   

Caltrain’s historic electrification project is the first undertaking in North America in a generation in which diesel trains and their infrastructure components are transitioned to an electrified system. Electrification means faster and more frequent service, including doubling the frequency on weekends.   

Electrification will also help meet ambitious regional and state climate action goals by lowering greenhouse gas emissions, improving air quality and relieving traffic congestion. Additionally, electrified service will advance equity as well as sustainability along the corridor by reducing noise and air pollution while increasing access for priority equity communities. 

Caltrain recently began offering four new fare promotions, offering discounts for families, groups, youth and hybrid workers

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