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Caltrain EMU Arrives at TTCI (Updated)

Written by William C. Vantuono, Editor-in-Chief

Caltrain’s Stadler-built KISS EMU (electric multiple-unit) No. 1 has arrived at Transportation Technology Center, Inc. in Pueblo, Colo.

At TTCI, trainset No. 1 will undergo a comprehensive set of instrumented operational tests, at velocities exceeding maximum operating speed, on the AC-catenary-electrified RTT (Railroad Test Track), which is capable of supporting speeds up to 170 mph.

Testing of the seven-car EMU is expected to take eight months and will include braking, propulsion, ride quality, noise and vibration, door operation, Positive Train Control (PTC) and electromagnetic interference (EMI) tests. The tests, required under Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) safety rules, will ensure that the new fleet is ready for service. 

Assembly of the first trainset was completed in July 2020; it underwent initial tests on Stadler’s test track at its Salt Lake City manufacturing site. 

The trainsets are being manufactured by Stadler under a contract awarded in August 2016, which included an initial order for 16 six-car trainsets worth $551 million. Caltrain exercised an option for a further three seven-car trainsets in December 2018, and extended the previous order for six-car trainsets to seven cars. 

The trainsets will have a maximum speed of 110 mph, and will have eight traction motors distributed throughout the consist, enabling faster acceleration and deceleration compared with current locomotive-hauled trains. 

The trainsets will improve capacity on Caltrain services, offering seven cars per consist compared with the five or six-car trains currently in service between San Francisco, San Jose and Gilroy. Interiors will feature digital passenger information systems, power outlets at all forward-facing seats, energy-efficient lighting, coat hooks, CCTV and luggage storage under cantilevered seats. 

The trainsets are part of Caltrain’s Peninsula Corridor Electrification Project to electrify the San Francisco-San Jose rail corridor, reducing diesel emissions by 97% by 2040. Electrification is also expected to improve Caltrain’s system performance, enabling faster and more frequent services, and pave the way for the eventual introduction of high-speed trains. 

Pictured below is the trainset in various stages of construction at the Stadler Rail US plant in Salt Lake City.

International Railway Journal News and Features Writer Oliver Cuenca contributed to this story.

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