Caltrain Completes Second Clearance Test for Electric Trains Along Corridor

Media Contact: Dan Lieberman, 650.622.2492

Caltrain’s first electric trainset underwent further clearance testing this weekend from San Jose Diridon Station to San Francisco Station. This test is to ensure that the trains and tracks meet all clearance requirements for the electric trains to operate safely along the Corridor.

The train was outfitted with foam rubber padding to simulate the dynamic envelope of the trains to simulate the maximum clearance area of an electric trainset as it traveled along the corridor at five miles per hour, pulled by a diesel locomotive. No major problems arose over the course of the second test, and no further clearance testing is planned until the Overhead Catenary System (OCS) is fully installed. The next major test for the new electric trains should take place later this year, when the trains will operate under its own power via the OCS.

Electric trains will offer a better service to Caltrain riders. Each trainset will have seven cars, as opposed to the current five to six. These vehicles accelerate and decelerate faster than diesel trains, as the power is distributed throughout the train, while older cars must be pulled by a locomotive. These electric trains also generate much less noise than their diesel equivalent, making the trip more enjoyable for both riders and residents that live near Caltrain tracks. The new trains 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.

The Caltrain Electrification project will electrify the corridor from the San Francisco 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 rail service from San Francisco to San Jose, with commute service to Gilroy. Serving the region since 1863, Caltrain is the oldest continually operating rail system west of the Mississippi. Looking to the future, Caltrain is set to electrify the corridor by 2024, which will reduce diesel emissions and add more service to more stations while advancing the agency’s equity goals.

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