Positive Train Control Project

Project Overview

The Positive Train Control (PTC) Project is an advanced signal system that will equip the corridor with federally-mandated safety technology and increase system capacity to help accommodate future increases in ridership demand. PTC will be interoperable with all other rail systems that access the Caltrain corridor, including commuter rail, freight rail and, in the future, high-speed rail. A portion of the system is planned to be operable by the end of 2018.

PTC is a key component of the Caltrain Modernization Program that will electrify and upgrade the performance, operating efficiency, capacity, safety and reliability of Caltrain’s commuter rail service, providing a modernized rail service that will help meet growing ridership demand between San Francisco and San Jose.

Goals & Benefits

Improved Safety
PTC will monitor and, if necessary, control train movement in the event of human error. This will increase safety on the Caltrain corridor by:

  • Eliminating the risk of train-to-train collisions.
  • Reducing risk of potential derailments by enforcing speed limits.
  • Providing additional safety for railroad workers on the tracks.

Increased Reliability and Operating Performance
PTC will also provide more dependable passenger service and operating performance, which will be achieved by:

  • Schedule management – there will be better accountability and management of train schedules.
  • Enforcement of scheduled station stops – a train will no longer be able to overshoot a station stop or platform.
  • Improved grade crossing performance - travelers crossing the tracks will benefit from reduced gate downtime and improved local traffic circulation.

These enhancement are planned for implementation after the initial federally-mandated requirements are met.

Capacity Benefits
Current Caltrain capacity is constrained by the existing wayside signal system, which enforces a safe separation between trains based on the poorest performing train type. PTC works smarter, minimizing the separation of trains to match the safe braking needs of specific train types. Combining PTC with the operation of high-performance electric trains, which are part of Caltrain Electrification, will upgrade the system to provide faster and/or more frequent service to more stations and more riders.

Project Funding

The PTC Project is funded through a combination of local, regional, state, and federal sources.

Prop 1A - State $105,445
Prop 1B - State $28,753
Federal $71,753
Local $57,198
Total $263,149


Current Activities
Weekly Update
Photo gallery
PTC Document Library

Contact Information

For additional questions or concerns regarding this project, please call our dedicated Construction Outreach Line at 650.508.7726 or email PTC@caltrain.com.