Caltrain celebrates the installation of the final foundation of the electrification project

Stakeholders joined Caltrain in celebrating the successful completion of the 3,092 foundations of the new overhead catenary system (OCS) that will support Caltrain’s electrified service.

The 51-mile Caltrain electrification project will be the first 25 kV OCS system on the West Coast and will power the new state-of-the-art electric trains that will begin arriving on the corridor in the spring of 2022.

Caltrain began construction on the project in 2017 and the foundation phase of construction has been complex due to difficult and unfamiliar site conditions in a 150-year-old right-of-way, working during a pandemic and on an active railroad. The completion of the foundations represents a milestone for Caltrain’s electrification project that reduces future project costs and risks.

“Today marks a major achievement in the history of Caltrain,” said Michelle Bouchard, Caltrain’s interim executive director. “This latest foundation marks a turning point in the electrification of this railroad toward the modern, efficient service that Bay Area residents deserve.”

This is the first of several milestones for the project this year. In a few months, the OCS system in the southern segment of the project will be energized with power flowing through the system. An AEM7 electric locomotive will begin testing the OCS and by summer 2022 the entire 51-mile corridor will be electrified. The first high-performance electric trains will arrive in the spring after completing 10 months of intensive testing at speeds of up to 115 mph at the Transportation Technology Center’s National Test Track in Pueblo, Colorado. project is on track for historic change and serving runners by 2024.

“The Caltrain board has been talking about the foundations of electrification for years and it’s good to have closure and remove significant risk from the project,” said director Shamann Walton, chairman of the board of supervisors. of San Francisco and a member of the board of directors of Caltrain. “When completed in 2024, an electrified Caltrain will provide a much faster, more frequent and more reliable public transit option to connect San Francisco to the Peninsula and South Bay.”

The project requires an additional $462 million over initial estimates. Caltrain is working with its funding partners, as well as its federal and state legislative delegations, to close the funding gap. To date, Caltrain has received an additional $52.4 million from the federal government; has access to a financing credit of $150 million; and $60 million in Measure RR capital reserve to close the funding gap.

The electrification of the Caltrain system will bring major benefits to the communities it serves. Electrification will reduce Caltrain’s greenhouse gas emissions and eliminate particulates caused by aging diesel engines. The electrified service will lay the groundwork for achieving the goal of tripling capacity by 2040, equivalent to carrying 5.5 lanes to US Highway 101.

Service will become both more frequent and more comfortable as state-of-the-art electric trains replace Caltrain’s current aging fleet. The project has also created thousands of jobs locally and across the country, both to electrify the corridor and to assemble the new trains, which include components from across the country. Finally, the infrastructure being installed will be compatible with the future high-speed train on the corridor.

Melvin Z. Madore