Caltrain electrification plan advances

Written by Douglas John Bowen

Caltrain has released its draft environmental impact report for its planned electrification of right-of-way between San Francisco and San Jose, a distance of roughly 51 miles.

Targeting 2019 as the implementation year, Caltrain hopes to have overhead catenary in place for its own use and assisting the California High Speed Rail Authority (CHSRA) in the latter’s plan for a 700-mile intrastate high speed rail (HSR) network. CHSRA operation would share the Caltrain right-of-way under the states’ “blended” approach.

HSR aside, electrification would assist Caltrain system performance and clean air efforts, while also enticing additional ridership, according to the report, released Feb. 28, 2014. Caltrain currently plans to limit its services to 79 mph speeds, the current limit.

Cost of electrifying the 51-mile stretch is estimated at $1.2 billion, with rolling stock acquisition estimated to cost another $440 million.

Caltrain expects electric trainsets to provide 75% of its total service by 2019, with the remainder protected by diesel locomotive consists, serving points south of downtown San Jose.

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