Monday, March 29, 2010

Caltrain readies certification to begin electrification program

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Caltrain says its Board of Directors expects to certify a Final Environemental Impact Report April 1 for its electrification program covering the major portion of its service route. Caltrain began the environmental clearance process for electrification in 2001, but the project has faced numerous delays, mostly due to funding constraints.

Should the EIR be approved, Caltrain will proceed with detailed engineering for the project,which would electrify the rail route between San Jose and San Francisco’s Transbay Terminal.


The EIR evaluated “both electric locomotives and electric multiple unit (EMU) cars,” while noting “Diesel-operated trains could continue to be operated on the Caltrain alignment under electrification,” as well as to points south of San Jose's Tamien Station, terminating in Gilroy, currently served by Caltrain, once electrification is in place. The document adds that the Peninsula Corridor Joint Powers Board “has identified the Electrification Program Alternative with EMU rolling stock as the preferred alternative.”

The EIR also notes “an electrified Caltrain system would set the stage for an expanded modern regional electric express service and, potentially, for a statewide high-speed rail (HSRservice as well. It is anticipated that any future HSR service would be fully electrified. The Electrification Program facilities would be designed to accommodate HSR service as well as Caltrain service.” [Italics are in the document.]

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