Caltrain’s first electric trainset has arrived at the Transportation Technology Center in Pueblo, Colo. for testing, marking a major milestone in the electrification of the railroad.
This facility will test the Electrical Multiple Units (EMUs) at high speeds under numerous conditions, as required by the Federal Railroad Administration as part of their safety standards. This testing will ensure that the new vehicles are ready for service. Tests include braking, propulsion, ride quality, noise and vibration, door operation, Positive Train Control (PTC), Electromagnetic Interference (EMI), and more. This testing will take approximately eight months.
The EMUs will offer a better service to Caltrain riders. Each trainset will have seven cars, as opposed to the current five or six, providing a greater onboard capacity. EMUs also accelerate and decelerate faster than diesel trains, as eight motors are distributed throughout the train, while older cars must be pulled by a locomotive. These electric motors also generate much less noise than their diesel equivalent, making the trip more enjoyable both for riders and residents that live near Caltrain tracks. The EMUs also offer enhanced amenities, including new digital onboard displays, power outlets at each forward-facing seat, a new seat color palette selected by the public, energy-efficient lighting, coat hooks, security cameras, and expanded storage under the cantilevered seats.
These EMUs were built by Stadler International at their facility in Salt Lake City. Those interested in seeing more of the EMUs can take a virtual tour, which Caltrain launched in October 2020.
The Caltrain Electrification project is a key component of the Caltrain Modernization Program that will electrify the corridor from the San Francisco Caltrain Station at 4th and King Streets to approximately the Tamien Station in San Jose, replacing diesel-hauled trains with electric trains. Electrification will improve Caltrain’s system performance, enable more frequent and/or faster train service and minimize long-term environmental impact by reducing noise, improving regional air quality and decreasing greenhouse gas emissions.
About Caltrain: Owned and operated by the Peninsula Corridor Joint Powers Board, Caltrain provides commuter rail service from San Francisco to San Jose, with commute service to Gilroy. While the Joint Powers Board assumed operating responsibilities for the service in 1992, the railroad celebrated 150 years of continuous passenger service in 2014. 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.