Undertaking Caltrain’s Modernization

Caltrain takes commuters in the Bay Area from San Jose to the Peninsula and Santa Clara Valley (or better known as Silicon Valley), to San Francisco and all the way to Gilroy. It carries over 4,500 people per hour in each direction, and it serves an important role in maintaining the quality of life of thousands in the Bay Area.

Any maintenance projects to Caltrain affects its scheduled services and cause minor chaos, but Caltrain’s electrification and modernization needs to be done and will take effect beginning on November 2019. Below is the projected timeline to complete the first 8 miles of electrified track and begin testing.

To date, Caltrain is already currently running six (6) months behind schedule, a delay which is now “being evaluated” by the project team.

Originally expected to cost $1.5 billion and be operational in 2019, the budget to electrify Caltrain has been upwardly revised to $1.98 billion, including a $316 million contingency fund, and the likely date that the first electric train will be put into service has been effectively rolled back to early 2021 (or by December 2020 if a temporary reduction in the scope of the project and a deferral of a number of elements, which would increase the overall cost and timeline for the project, is adopted for optics), per SocketSite.

Why all the electrification and modernization of Caltrain? in addition to a whole host of environmental, operating cost and other benefits – such as setting the stage for High Speed Rail (HSR) and a downtown extension (DTX) to San Francisco’s Transbay Transit Center – the electrification project will significantly increase Caltrain’s capacity and ability to run more trains during peak hours.

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