Caltrain 2025 (Electrification)

Caltrain’s signature Baby Bullet express service began in 2004 with 10 express trains. A year later, the entire schedule was “reinvented” to offer faster trips, including 22 express trains and limited-stop trains. Commuters flocked to Caltrain and by 2009 average weekday ridership had increased more than 50 percent.

Since then, Caltrain has continued to explore ways to attract even more riders. However, the railroad’s infrastructure, signal system and equipment inhibit expansion beyond the current service level of five trains per hour during the peak.

Caltrain 2025 is an ambitious plan to modernize the system, expand capacity and improve safety by 2015. The program includes three projects: 1) electrification of the railroad; 2) positive train control; and, 3) electric-multiple units.

An electrified train system has many advantages over a diesel system:

The switch to electric power will reduce harmful emissions up to 90 percent.

Electric trains are cheaper to operate.

Electric trains are significantly quieter, a plus for neighbors living and working near the corridor.

Positive train control or PTC combines Global Positioning Satellite technology with the train’s signal system to improve capacity and safety.

Since PTC allows trains to travel more closely together, Caltrain will be able to offer more service.

PTC improves safety by automatically slowing down trains that are traveling too fast and stopping trains before collisions can occur.

Caltrain is proposing to operate electric multiple units or EMUs:

Since each set of EMUs has its own power supply, trains stop and start more quickly, reducing travel time.

Without the need for a locomotive, train sets are more flexible and easier to interchange.

Much like today’s automobiles, EMUs are designed to absorb energy in a collision, increasing safety for train crews and passengers.

Caltrain 2025 documents

Caltrain 2025 Handout - January 2009 (PDF, 624 KB)
Caltrain 2025 Program Information and Findings - March 2008 (PDF, 236 KB)
Electrification Newsletter (Summer 2009) (PDF, 409 KB)
Electrification presentation (March 2009) (PDF, 1.11 MB)
Environmental Assessment/Draft Environmental Impact Report (April 2004)
Electrification Environmental Assessment/Final Environmental Impact Report, July 2009
Positive Train Control Fact Sheet (PDF, 133KB)

03.30.2010 - cocke