Caltrain’s First Electric Trainset Tests Clearance Along Corridor

Caltrain’s first electric trainset underwent clearance testing this weekend along the corridor between Santa Clara and Tamien Stations. This test is to ensure that the trains meets all clearance requirements 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 testing, and further clearance testing will be conducted throughout the rest of the corridor in the near future. The next test for the new electric trains is expected to take place later this year, when the trains will operate under its own power via the Overhead Catenary System (OCS).

Electric trains will offer a better service to Caltrain riders. Each trainset will have seven cars, as opposed to the current five or six. These vehicles 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 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 is a key component of the Caltrain Modernization Program that 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 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.

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