Watch: Caltrain Marks EMU Testing Milestone

Written by Marybeth Luczak, Executive Editor
(Video Screen Grab Courtesy of Caltrain)

(Video Screen Grab Courtesy of Caltrain)

Caltrain has conducted testing of its Stadler-built KISS bilevel EMUs between Redwood City and Mountain View, Calif., marking a new milestone in the electrification of the system, due to launch this fall.

Each of the 23 new trainsets must complete 1,000 miles of testing before being allowed to carry riders. Initial tests were conducted between Santa Clara and College Park stations on the Santa Clara Drill Track, according to Caltrain, but the commuter railroad said it has been “steadily expanding” the available testing area from San Jose to Mountain View. With this most recent “live run,” it reported March 11, testing can now take place from San Jose to Redwood City, further accelerating the process and keeping the launch of service on schedule.

According to Caltrain, live run tests on March 9-10 started at 20 mph to ensure the catenary and train were properly connected, and once the connection was successfully established, the train increased speed to the corridor’s 79 mph maximum limit. Twenty-five such test runs were successfully completed. Click here to watch.

Caltrain in January reported that three of its trainsets had completed 1,000 miles of testing along its corridor. At that time, Caltrain had six trainsets on property, with the remainder expected to arrive from the Stadler US manufacturing facility in Utah over the next year.

“Another test completed marks another step towards a reliable, fast and frequent service for our riders,” Caltrain Executive Director Michelle Bouchard said. “I cannot wait for everyone to get to experience the modernized, zero-emission fleet of Caltrain’s future for themselves this fall.”

Caltrain’s electrified service is arriving two years later than planned. The commuter railroad’s $2.4 billion electrification project is upgrading and electrifying its double-track system from the 4th and King Station in San Francisco to the Tamien Station in San Jose and replacing trains. Caltrain awarded Stadler a $551 million contract to supply 16 six-car EMUs in August 2016 with an option to extend these sets to seven-car trains exercised in December 2018. The 110-mph-capable trainsets have been built at the manufacturer’s plant in Salt Lake City, and there are options worth $385 million under the original contract to supply up to 96 additional railcars. The EMUs will replace F40 diesel locomotives—approximately 75% of Caltrain’s diesel fleet—which entered service in 1985. Its newer locomotives will be retained to operate the non-electrified Dumbarton extension and services south of Tamien.

The proposed electrification service plan includes 70 weekday peak hour trains, an increase from the current 66. Eleven stations would see four train arrivals hourly per direction, up from seven stations currently. Midday trains would cover 44 stations per hour, up from 34 today and weekend service will arrive every half hour, rather than hourly.

Tags: , ,