Editor’s Note: Photos available here
Caltrain Debuts its New Electric Trains
The new state-of-the-art vehicles will be put into service in 2024
Caltrain representatives were joined by federal, state, regional, local officials and community members today to celebrate the first public viewing of the agency’s new electric train cars. The new train cars will serve as the centerpiece of the transformative Caltrain Electrification Project.
The new high-performance trains will offer a better service to Caltrain riders. They will generate much less noise than their diesel equivalent, making the trip more enjoyable both for riders and residents that live near Caltrain tracks. The new vehicles 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.
Additionally, each trainset will have seven cars, as opposed to the current five or six. The new trains also accelerate and decelerate faster than their diesel alternatives, which must be pulled by a locomotive. This will allow Caltrain to expand its service levels beyond the current 104 trains every weekday.
These trains will go into service in 2024, and until then will be tested to ensure they and the infrastructure they will rely upon, are in good working order.
The trains were built by Stadler US at their facility in Salt Lake City, Utah. After they were assembled, they were sent to a test facility in Pueblo, Colo. where they were tested at high speeds under numerous conditions as required by the Federal Railroad Administration. The trains were tested for braking, propulsion, ride quality, noise and vibration, door operation, Positive Train Control and Electromagnetic Interference over the course of eight months.
Those interested in seeing more of the EMUs can take a virtual tour, which Caltrain launched in October 2020. More public tours of the new vehicles are planned for early 2023.
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.
Caltrain’s historic electrification project is the first undertaking in North America in a generation in which diesel trains and their infrastructure components are transitioned to an electrified system. The project requires an additional $410 million over initial estimates. Caltrain is working with its funding partners, as well as its federal and state legislative delegations to fill the funding gap.
The project will improve the customer experience by increasing the number of trains, modernizing service and adding new safety elements.
Electrification will also help meet ambitious regional and state climate action goals by lowering greenhouse gas emissions, improving air quality and relieving traffic congestion. Additionally, electrified service will advance equity along the corridor by reducing noise and air pollution while increasing access for priority equity neighbors. It will also set the framework for California’s future High Speed Rail network.
Below are quotes from strong supporters of the Caltrain Electrification Project:
“The arrival of these new electric trains marks an exciting step toward providing greener, easier transportation options for Californians,” said Speaker Nancy Pelosi. “Caltrain’s electrification initiative will mean quieter neighborhoods, cleaner air and faster commutes for working families. It has been my privilege to fight alongside the entire Bay Area delegation to secure the federal resources Caltrain needs to realize its vision of a fully electrified rail corridor from San Francisco to San Jose.”
“The transportation sector makes up 50 percent of California’s greenhouse gas emissions, and electrifying our public transit systems is one of the most effective ways to cut down on those emissions,” said Senator Diane Feinstein. “I join Caltrain in celebrating the arrival of its first electric train. I have long supported funding for the Caltrain Peninsula Corridor Electrification project and will continue to work to secure funds for this important effort.”
“By 2040, an additional 1.2 million Californians will live within two miles of the Caltrain corridor,” said Senator Alex Padilla. “That is why I am proud to support an electrified Caltrain to ensure that this growth is responsible, sustainable and meets the needs of Californians all across the state.”
“The Bay Area is the high-tech capital of the world, and it deserves a transportation system that reflects that,” said Congresswoman Anna Eshoo. “The tracks that were laid in the time of the steam engine will carry modern, electric trains along the Peninsula, perfectly symbolizing our spirit of innovation and dynamic change.”
“Congratulations to Caltrain on the arrival of its first electric trains,”said Congressman Ro Khanna. “Electrifying the system will increase the speed and frequency of trains for riders, reduce traffic, and lower greenhouse gas emissions.”
“It’s great to celebrate a milestone that will improve daily life for so many people in the Bay Area while combating climate change,” said Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren, Chair of the California Democratic Congressional Delegation and senior member of the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee. “By increasing passenger capacity along the rail corridor, the electrification of Caltrain helps decrease congestion on local highways. That, along with the savings from no longer using nonrenewable diesel fuel, will significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions. It’s a win-win-win for California, our country, and future generations.”
“Caltrain’s Electrification Project has created thousands of jobs across our country,” said Congresswoman Jackie Speier. “These train sets are made in America. This project is exactly the kind of investment taxpayers want—tangible benefits for hard working Americans.”
“Modernizing our transportation system and building new, sustainable public transit projects is a key priority for the Biden administration,” said Department of Transportation General Counsel John Putnam. “The Department of Transportation is investing in projects like electrification because we know how critical our passenger rail infrastructure is to our economy, our environment, our health, and the quality of life of the American people.”
“We are excited for the first electric trains that will speed down the Caltrain tracks, carrying a future generation of transit riders across the Bay Area,” said FTA Regional Administrator Ray Tellis. “Creating the opportunity for more cleaner and higher capacity trains every hour means better service for riders. Electrifying those trains means a smoother ride, better air quality, and another step toward addressing climate change. Congratulations, and thank you to Caltrain for being a great partner.”
“The Bay Area needs an electrified Caltrain, and we’re very close to getting it,” said Senator Josh Becker. “A cleaner and greener rail service will improve our air quality and push back against climate change, providing a real benefit to everyone who calls the Bay Area home.”
“We in the California legislature doubled down on transit, ensuring that agencies like Caltrain would have the resources to complete the Electrification Project,” said Senator Dave Cortese. “I was proud to see the Transportation Budget bill become law and I’m hopeful to see, with a few additional resources, this project be complete in 2024. These beautiful new trains will help protect our environment while getting people where they need to go, and all Californians are better off for it.”
“The threat of climate change looms over many of the decisions we make in Sacramento,” said Senator Bob Wieckowski. “It was certainly on our mind when we decided to fund the electrification of Caltrain, and today I can happily say we made the right call.”
“Electrified rail service is a critical part of California’s future, and these new electric trains are an important step toward that goal,” said Senator Scott Wiener. “Soon, we’ll have high speed trains running from Los Angeles all the way to the Salesforce Transit Center, helping grow our economy sustainably and responsibly.”
“The electrification of Caltrain is a historic accomplishment in the future of sustainable transportation in California,” said Assembly Speaker pro Tempore Kevin Mullin. “As the first electrified rail line in our state, it will provide immense environmental benefits while serving as the spine that helps support our innovation economy and we should all be proud of this accomplishment.”
“The Legislature has been working hard to deliver on infrastructure, clean energy and job creation for Californians,” said Assemblymember Marc Berman. “Today, I’m pleased to celebrate a project that’s doing all three at once right through the heart of my district.”
“The electrification of Caltrain will provide residents across the Bay Area with a fast, reliable option to get where they’re going without having to depend on traveling by car,” said Assemblymember Ash Kalra. “For California to reach its ambitious climate goals, we will need to continue to support projects that shift us away from fossil fuels reliance such as Caltrain electrification.”
“The California legislature has been hard at work delivering transportation projects that will not only help ease congestion, but also reduce the impacts to our environment,” said Assembly Budget Chair Phil Ting. “It’s exciting to see one of those projects we helped fund so close to completion, and I cannot wait to ride this electric train!”
“An electrified Caltrain is a momentous accomplishment – not just for the Bay Area but the entire state,” said California Transportation Secretary Toks Omishakin. “From cleaner air to enhanced speed and safety, the mobility, environmental, equity and economic benefits are immense. California is leading the nation in rapidly electrifying our transportation system, and Caltrain is at the front of the pack.”
“Protecting California’s environment is a moral imperative,” said California Air Resources Board Member Davina Hurt. “The electrification of Caltrain is a vital step towards shrinking our carbon footprint and reshaping how Californians travel in and through our communities.”
“An electrified Caltrain is good news for Santa Clara County,” said SCC Board of Supervisors President Mike Wasserman. “The next few years will see electrified rail service on the Peninsula, new BART connections in our county and a major development around San Jose Diridon Station, all happening on our doorstep. It’s impossible not to be excited about what comes next.”
“SamTrans and Caltrain are both in the people moving business,” said SamTrans Chair Pete Ratto. “These magnificent new trains are going to bring hundreds of thousands of people in to and out of San Mateo County, and SamTrans will be there to deliver them to their final destination.”
“Caltrain is a vital public transit connection for the people of San Mateo County,” said Rico E. Medina, Chair of the San Mateo County Transportation Authority. “The TA will continue to work with Caltrain and local communities to build grade separations and improve public safety and traffic conditions.”
“Today is an important day in Bay Area history,” said MTC Chair Alfredo Pedroza. “Caltrain’s new electric trains are going to be a huge improvement for riders and will hopefully attract many more of them back to this great system serving the Peninsula and the South Bay.”
“We are always proud when a new audience is introduced to our trains,” said Martin Ritter, CEO of Stadler US. “Today, the Bay Area will see a modern train, designed for comfort, efficiency, and sustainability, and I hope they are similarly proud to be served by these trains.”
“As leaders of the Innovation economy, SVLG members recognize that equitable access to safe and reliable public transit is vital to the competitiveness and livability of our region” said Ahmad Thomas, Silicon Valley Leadership Group CEO. “We applaud Caltrain’s Equity Policy for ensuring that Bay Area residents of all walks of life can always have a seat onboard waiting for them.”
“Every day, we’re seeing an increasingly congested Highway 101 as people continue to return to the office,” said Jim Wunderman, President and CEO of the Bay Area Council. “Electrified rail service along one of the Bay Area’s most economically productive corridors will provide an environmentally responsible, efficient, reliable and fast mode of transportation.”
“Despite the uncertainties of employees returning to the office or post-pandemic commute patterns, one thing is certain that electrifying Caltrain will deliver essential economic and environmental benefits for decades to come,“ said Rosanne Foust, SAMCEDA President and CEO. “These electric trains will improve service for riders of all generations and the opportunity to travel on a modern Caltrain system."
“The electrification of Caltrain is one of the most important milestones in Caltrain’s history,” said Caltrain Board Chair Steve Heminger. “Being able to step onto the new trains for the first time makes me even more excited for the start of electrified service in 2024.”
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.
Media Contact: Dan Lieberman, 650.622.2492