Caltrain has announced that the launch of electrified service has been delayed until late 2024. The delay, currently being reviewed by the Federal Transit Administration (FTA), is due to a range of factors, including complications in the installation of signal systems, unforeseen conditions under Caltrain’s tracks, and the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, which severely disrupted supply chains necessary to the project.
To date, 75% percent of foundations for the catenary poles are complete, while 60% of the poles have been installed. Currently, all of the 10 traction power facilities are under construction. The overhead contact system has been installed in all of Caltrain’s four tunnels. The first electric trainset has been completed and is currently being tested at the Transportation Technology Center in Pueblo, Colo.
Based on the progress so far, and design and construction work remaining, the FTA prepared and provided a draft Risk Refresh Report to Caltrain, estimating that the project will need an additional $333 million, increasing the project cost from $1.98 billion to $2.3 billion. Of the $333 million in forecasted costs, Caltrain has identified a funding plan for the known and allocated costs of $161 million. The remaining $172 million is in unallocated costs that has been set aside as a reserve for unknown risks. The agency will be developing a funding plan over the next several months in coordination with the project funding partners.
“These delays are disappointing, because the electrification of Caltrain is desperately needed,” said Caltrain Executive Director Michelle Bouchard. “However, much has already been accomplished, and together with our contractors, funding partners and stakeholders, we will deliver the modern rail service that the Bay Area deserves.”
“There is no question that the electrification of Caltrain is vital to the Bay Area,” said JPB Chair Dev Davis. “It is the foundation of the expanded service that is necessary to shrink our carbon footprint, get cars off our highways and help people throughout the region get where they need to go conveniently and affordably.”
“Converting a rail line that was established in 1863 from diesel technology to cutting edge green electric power with computerized signal and control systems on a live railroad track is a highly complicated task,” said JPB Board Member Jeff Gee. “This report lays out an informed path to safe, electrified service that will benefit our communities for decades to come.”
About Caltrain: Owned and operated by the Peninsula Corridor Joint Powers Board, Caltrain provides commuter rail service from San Francisco to San Jose, with limited commute service to Gilroy. While the Joint Powers Board assumed operating responsibilities for the service in 1992, the railroad has provided the community with more than 150 years of continuous passenger service. Planning for the next 150 years of Peninsula rail service, Caltrain is on pace to electrify the corridor, reduce diesel emissions by 97 percent by 2040 and add more service to more stations.
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