Caltrain’s launch of electrified service will be delayed two years, until late 2024, due to “complications in the installation of signal systems, unforeseen conditions under Caltrain’s tracks, and the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, which severely disrupted supply chains necessary to the project.”
The delay was announced at a Joint Powers Board (JPB) meeting on June 3, and is now being reviewed by the Federal Transit Administration (FTA), Caltrain said. (Download project update presentation below.)
The project cost is also expected to increase by 17% or $333 million to $2.3 billion—an estimate provided by an FTA draft Risk Refresh Report, based on the project’s progress so far and the design and construction work remaining, according to Caltrain.
The Peninsula Corridor Electrification Project (PCEP) is upgrading and electrifying Caltrain’s 51-mile doubletrack commuter rail system from the 4th and King Caltrain Station in San Francisco, Calif., to the Tamien Station in San Jose, Calif.
Caltrain provided the following work progress report:
• 75% of foundations for the catenary poles are complete; 60% of the poles have been installed.
• All 10 traction power facilities are under construction.
• The overhead contact system has been installed in all four Caltrain tunnels.
• The first electric trainset from Stadler has been completed and is currently being tested at the Transportation Technology Center in Pueblo, Colo. Additionally, 70 car shells have been shipped from Stadler Switzerland, 55 of which are in Stadler Salt Lake City and 15 are in transit. The pandemic has slowed production, according to Caltrain, noting that it is now scheduled to receive the first trainset in February 2022, “primarily due to Seisenbacher US bankruptcy and Seisenbacher Austria financial troubles,” and to accept the 14th trainset in August 2023.
Of the $333 million in additional costs, Caltrain said it has “identified a funding plan for the known and allocated costs of $161 million. The remaining $172 million is in unallocated costs that has been set aside as a reserve for unknown risks. The agency will be developing a funding plan over the next several months in coordination with the project funding partners.”
“These delays are disappointing, because the electrification of Caltrain is desperately needed,” Caltrain Executive Director Michelle Bouchard said. “However, much has already been accomplished, and together with our contractors, funding partners and stakeholders, we will deliver the modern rail service that the Bay Area deserves.”
“There is no question that the electrification of Caltrain is vital to the Bay Area,” JPB Chair Dev Davis said. “It is the foundation of the expanded service that is necessary to shrink our carbon footprint, get cars off our highways and help people throughout the region get where they need to go conveniently and affordably.”