High-Performance Electric Trains 


Caltrain plans to purchase new high-performance electric trains to replace the current diesel locomotive trains as part of the Peninsula Corridor Electrification Project. This project is a key component of the Caltrain Modernization (CalMod) program that will electrify and upgrade the performance, operating efficiency, capacity, safety and reliability of Caltrain’s commuter rail service.

When the corridor is electrified, Caltrain will have a “mixed fleet” of diesel and electric trains. The CalMod Program will replace approximately 75 percent of the diesel fleet with electric trains called Electric Multiple Units (EMUs), which will operate between San Francisco and San Jose. Full conversion of the fleet to EMUs will occur at a future time when funding is identified and the remaining diesel trains reach the end of their service life. The new EMUs will continue to operate at speeds up to 79 mph, which is what it is today, with the capability to reach higher speed operations.

To watch the Caltrain Modernization Video, please click here (youtube.com)

The term "EMU" refers to the ability to couple multiple units into a train and have them controlled from a cab at each end of the consist. The improved performance of these vehicles provides shorter trip times, even over electric locomotive hauled trains, especially when multiple stops are made (local service). Caltrain has not yet developed a schedule that accounts for these important enhanced service capabilities. In the coming years, there will be public outreach to help determine the schedule that best balances the demands for more frequency and faster trip times.

Caltrain Modernization Arrow Infographic thumbnail 
By electrifying, Caltrain will modernize the system and make it possible to increase service levels while offering several advantages in comparison with existing diesel power use. Click the graphic above for more information.


On May 4, 2016, the Caltrain Board received an update on the proposal for the electric vehicle (EMU) contract. The presentation can be viewed by clicking here. Currently, there is an opportunity for the public to weigh-in on the policy decision to have one bathroom per train or no bathrooms on the new electric vehicles that will be procured as part of the Peninsula Corridor Electrification Project. The Caltrain Board is expected to make a final decision at the June 2, 2016 meeting. 

Request for Proposal

On July 2, 2015, the Caltrain Board approved the release of the electric vehicle Request for Proposals (RFP). Before arriving at that decision, there was a year-long process involving outreach to car builders and the public. For more information about the process, see the presentation section below.

The RFP includes a vehicle option for common boarding heights with HSR as well as parameters to balance seats / standees / bathrooms / bikes. The EMU RFP was issued on August 21, 2015 and is available here.    
Online Surveys
In June 2015, Caltrain receive information from customers from the annual customer satisfaction survey. There were a couple questions that related to the purchase of new electric trains. To view the presentation that highlighted those results, click here

In September and October 2014, the CalMod team solicited, through an online survey, feedback from the public on key decisions, such as bathrooms, bikes and seat capacity. On February 5, 2015, the results of the survey were presented to the Caltrain Board. To view the presentation, click here. To view the full survey report, click here

The information gathered from the surveys will be coupled with technical analysis to helped inform the development of the RFP.

Request for Information
In May 2014, Caltrain issued a Request for Information (RFI) for the procurement of EMUs. The RFI process provided the CalMod team with valuable information about the current electric vehicle options. 


If you have general comments or questions or would like to request a presentation from staff, please email caltrainemu@caltrain.com or call 650.508.6499.

Public Presentation JPB - May 5, 2016
Public Presentation JPB - July 2, 2015
Public Presentation JPB - June 4, 2015
Public Presentation JPB  Workshop - May 20, 2015
Public Presentatin JPB - May 7, 2015
Public Presentation JPB - April 2, 2015
Public Presentation JPB - Feb. 5, 2015 
Public Presentation Community Meeting - Sept. 8, 2014 (PDF,843KB)  
Public Presentation JPB - Aug. 7, 2014 (PDF, 504KB)


Caltrain Citizen Advisory Committee: May 18 at 5:30pm
SF County Transportation Authority Citizen Advisory Committee: May 25 at 6pm 
Caltrain Accessibility Advisory Committee: May 26 at 11am
Caltrain Local Policy Maker Group: May 26 at 5:30pm
North Fair Oaks Council: May 26 at 7pm

VTA Policy Advisory Committee: May 12 at 4pm
VTA Citizen Advisory Committee: May 11 at 4pm
Caltrain Board: May 5, 2016
Caltrain Board: July 2, 2015 at 10am
Local Policy Maker Group: June 25, 2015 at 6pm
Bicycle Advisory Committee: June 23, 2015 at 5:45pm
SF Bicycle Advisory Committee: June 22, 2015 at 6:30pm
SF Land Use Planning Committee: June 22, 2015 at 1:30pm
Diridon Station Joint Policy Advisory Committee: June 19, 2015 at 3pm
Caltrain Citizen Advisory Committee: June 17, 2015 at 5:30pm
Caltrain Accessibility Advisory Committee: June 17, 2015 at 12pm
San Mateo County Transportation Authority: June 4, 2015 at 5pm
Caltrain Board: June 4, 2015 at 10am
San Mateo County Transportation Authority Citizen Advisory Committee: June 2, 2015 at 4:30pm
Local Policy Maker Group: May 28, 2015 at 6pm
SF County Transportation Authority Citizen Advisory Committee: May 27, 2015 at 6pm
Bicycle Advisory Committee: May 21, 2015 at 5:45pm
Citizen Advisory Committee: May 20, 2015 at 5:40pm
Caltrain Special Board Workshop: May 20, 2015 at 9am
Transbay Joint Powers Authority Board: May 14, 2015 at 10am
Transbay Joint Powers Authority Citizen Advisory Committee: May 12, 2015 at 5:30pm
Caltrain Board: May 7, 2015 at 10am
Local Policy Maker Group (LPMG): April 23, 2015 at 6pm
Caltrain Citizen Advisory Committee: April 15, 2015 at 5:40pm
Caltrain Board: April 2, 2015 at 10am
Citizen Advisory Committee: February 18, 2015 at 5:40pm
Local Policy Maker Group (LPMG): February 26, at 6pm
Bicycle Advisory Committee: March 19, 2015 at 5:45pm
Caltrain Board: February 5, 2015 at 10am
Transbay Joint Powers Authority Citizen Advisory Committee: October 14, 2014 at 5:30pm
Friends of Caltrain, Mountain View City Chambers: September 29 at 7pm
Local Policy Maker Group (LPMG): September 25 at 6pm
Caltrain Accessibility Advisory Committee: September 22 at 11am
Bicycle Advisory Committee: September 18, 2014 at 5:45pm
Community Meeting, San Carlos: September 8, 2014 at 11am and 6pm 
Citizen Advisory Committee: August 20, 2014  at 5:40pm
Caltrain Board: August 7, 2014 at 10am


Staff and Info Tables at Top Ten Highest Ridership Stations

• San Jose Station: Sept. 9, 2014 at 5pm - 7:15pm
• Palo Alto Station: Sept. 10, 2014 at 7:30am - 9:30am
• San Francisco 4th and King Station: Sept. 11, 5pm - 7:15pm
• Menlo Park Station: Sept. 16 at 7:30am - 9:30am
• Millbrae Station: Sept. 16, 5pm - 7:15pm
• Sunnyvale: Sept. 17 at 7:30am - 9:30am
• Hillsdale Station: Sept. 23 at 7am - 9am
• Redwood City Station: Sept. 23, 5pm - 7:15pm
• San Mateo Station: Sept. 24 at 7:30am - 9:30am
• Mountain View Station: Sept. 24, 5:30pm - 7:30pm


Please email caltrainemu@caltrain.com or call 650.508.6499 for more information about upcoming milestones. 

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