Crowds of Thousands Turn Out to Catch of Glimpse of New Electric Trains

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The new state-of-the-art Caltrain fleet is mere months away from service. Thousands came to the event to experience the new trains and celebrate Caltrain’s 160 anniversary.  

Over the weekend, Caltrain held its third public tour of the agency’s new electric train cars. The new train cars will serve as the centerpiece of the transformative Caltrain Electrification Project, which will start providing electric service this Fall. 

With over 5000 RSVPs as of the morning of the event, this tour has attracted even larger crowds than the first two events held in San Jose last July and San Francisco last September. Attendees enjoyed food trucks, a live DJ and more as they awaited their opportunity to see the future of Caltrain for themselves. Tours began at 10:30 a.m. after a program featuring Congressmembers Anna Eshoo and Kevin Mullin, Senators Josh Becker and Dave Cortese, Assemblymembers Diane Papan, Marc Berman and Alex Lee, Region 9 Federal Transit Administrator Ray Tellis and Financial Secretary of the San Mateo County Building and Construction Trades Council Bart Pantoja, and Don Cecil of SAMCEDA.   

The new high-performance electric trains, which will carry 100% of Caltrain service between San Francisco and San Jose starting this fall, will offer a better experience for Caltrain riders. After launching this fall, Caltrain will be running faster and more frequent service, with 16 stations receiving trains every 20 to 15 minutes during peak hours, weekend trains arriving twice hourly and express service from San Francisco to San Jose in under an hour. Additionally, the new vehicles offer enhanced amenities, including new digital onboard displays, power outlets at each forward-facing seat, energy-efficient lighting, baby changing tables in the bathroom, security cameras, and expanded storage under the cantilevered seats. They will also generate less noise than their diesel equivalent, making the trip more enjoyable both for riders and residents that live near Caltrain tracks. 

This year marks the 160th Anniversary of rail service between San Francisco and San Jose. Caltrain is the oldest continually-run railroad west of the Mississippi.  

The Electrification project is fully funded due to the efforts of federal, state and local partners that helped secure funding. The Caltrain delegation led by Speaker Emerita Pelosi, US Rep. Eshoo, Senator Padilla, and the late Senator Feinstein, secured over $1 billion of federal resources. Our expansive state delegation, going back to 2012, also secured over $1 billion in funding for the project.    

“Caltrain electrification means shorter commutes, cleaner air and good-paying jobs in the Bay Area and beyond,” said Speaker Emerita Nancy Pelosi.  “It has been my privilege to help secure federal funding in the Congress to support the Caltrain Electrification Project.  The tours over the weekend gave San Franciscans another exciting opportunity to experience the future of this state-of-the-art service – and I join so many across the Bay Area looking forward to its historic launch this year.” 

“The Caltrain Electrification Project is well on its way to providing a cleaner commute for millions of Bay Area riders while also reducing noise and air pollution in neighboring communities,” said US Senator Alex Padilla. “This project has created good-paying green jobs up and down the peninsula and will make our rail service faster and more dependable, while helping California meet its ambitious clean energy goals.” 

“Electrifying our public transport system will lead to good-paying jobs, quieter commutes, and fewer emissions polluting the air we breathe,” said US Senator Laphonza Butler. “During this tour, Caltrain will demonstrate how federal funds are being used to benefit our communities and will showcase how California is leading the way in combating climate change.” 

“Caltrain is the spine of the Peninsula’s transportation system, and the transformation of a 160-year-old railroad into a modern electric system is an achievement that everyone celebrating today can be proud of,” said US Rep. Anna Eshoo. “An electrified Caltrain will be a world-class transportation system that our innovative region deserves with faster, quieter and environmentally cleaner trains that will improve air quality by significant reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.” 

“160 years ago, transportation from San Francisco to San Jose was transformed,” said US Rep. Kevin Mullin. “The launch of an electrified Caltrain will create another transformational change for this corridor that will allow tens of thousands of people each day to reach to their destination faster, quieter, and safer while eliminating greenhouse gas emissions. A win for everyone. I can’t wait to take my first ride.”  

“Happy 160th anniversary Caltrain! Thank you for the work you do to connect people in our community with economic opportunity and to reduce emissions,” said US Rep. Ro Khanna. “I look forward to continuing to work alongside you to improve mass transit and opportunity in Silicon Valley.” 

“Bay Area communities rely on safe, reliable, and clean rail service to cut down their commute times and our overall carbon output,” said US Rep. Jimmy Panetta.  “The federal government’s significant investment in Caltrain’s Electrification Project will help deploy cleaner, quieter, and more efficient trains that are essential to improving our quality of life and tackling climate change.  As Caltrain marks 160 years of service, the public unveiling of these new trains points to an exciting new chapter ahead.”   

"Today's event provided a glimpse into the future of Caltrain which will bring faster, more frequent service to the Bay Area. Caltrain Electrification is a testament to the innovation and commitment of our region," said State Senator Josh Becker.   

“An electrified Caltrain is a bold step towards clean, efficient public transit and a shining example for the future of transportation for our State,” said State Senator Dave Cortese. “It is gratifying to see this become a reality after many years of hard work.” 

 “As we work towards our collective goal of combatting climate change, I am excited to see Caltrain’s commitment reflected in their investment of new electric trains. These trains will not only reduce emissions and improve air quality, but also enhance passenger service” said State Senator John Laird. “This historic milestone also coincides with the 160th anniversary of Caltrain, which is a testament to their dedication in serving our community.” 

"Caltrain serves as the lifeblood of the Peninsula, fueling growth and sustaining communities along its route," said Assemblymember Diane Papan. "With its electrification, Caltrain undergoes a transformation, representing a surge of vitality, fostering healthier environments, and unlocking new opportunities for our region." 

“I’m excited to see Caltrain’s electrified service between San Francisco and San Jose go live in just a few months,” said Assemblymember Alex Lee. “The Electrification Project is key to reducing carbon emissions in the midst of the climate crisis. It will bring faster and greener trains, so that residents of my district will enjoy improved rail services and air quality. Caltrain’s electrified service is a major achievement for the state, and I’m proud to be a supporter of this historic accomplishment.” 

“The Caltrain Electrification project is a huge environmental win for our community. The new electric trains will give Peninsula residents more frequent, faster, and sustainable transit service starting this fall and for decades to follow,” said Assemblymember Marc Berman. “The great attendance at today’s event reflects the community’s eagerness for cleaner air and more frequent transit service.”   

“As a former member of the Caltrain Board of Directors, I had the privilege of voting on early steps of the electrification project and I am thrilled to see another major milestone reached,” said Assemblymember Ash Kalra. “I am hopeful that Caltrain will continue to lead by example, inspiring the state and the nation to embrace cleaner technologies and enhance public transportation for all.” 

“This event marks a transformational and historic time for Caltrain as we prepare for electric service this fall and commemorate 160 years of rail service from San Francisco to San Jose,” said Caltrain Board Chair Dev Davis. “The completion of the Electrification Project will bring cleaner, quieter and faster service, ensuring that Caltrain will continue to play an integral role in the growth and prosperity of the region.” 

“Today’s event is a great reminder that very soon we will see cleaner, faster, safer trains at stations all along this critical corridor,” said Ray Tellis, Federal Transit Administrator for Region 9. “The Biden-Harris Administration is proud of FTA’s continuing support of this project that will improve travel for thousands of Californians.” 

“These rails were San Mateo County’s original trade corridor before we had 101, 280, or even SFO,” said SAMCEDA President Rosanne Foust. “Today they still play a vital role in our region's prosperity and mobility. SAMCEDA thanks Caltrain and the many elected and community leaders who made electrification Caltrain's bright, new future.” 

“The unveiling of Caltrain’s fleet of the future marks yet another important milestone in the electrification and modernization of this critical transit system connecting one of the world’s most vital economic corridors,” said Jim Wunderman, President and CEO, Bay Area Council. “The Bay Area Council is proud to have been an early and strong proponent for investing in Caltrain and we applaud the tremendous work Caltrain and so many have done to move this project forward.” 

"I'm very excited to see the debut of Caltrain's new electric trains. These electric trains will provide a cleaner, quieter, and more modern and reliable experience for riders throughout the region,” said Ahmad Thomas, CEO, Silicon Valley Leadership Group. “A thriving public transit system is essential for advancing the business competitiveness of the region, and for fostering a future for Silicon Valley that is both more sustainable and equitable.” 

“Labor built these rails, and these rails will build the future of the Peninsula,” said Bart Pantoja, Business Manager/Financial Secretary of the San Mateo County Building and Construction Trades Council. “Generations to come will benefit from the hard work that went into this project, and I am proud of everyone that put in long hours to make it happen.” 

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 equity priority communities. It will also set the framework for California’s future High Speed Rail network. 

Each trainset will have seven cars, as opposed to the current five to six. The new trains also accelerate and decelerate faster than their diesel alternatives, allowing more frequent stops in the same amount of time.  

These new trains will go into service in fall 2024, and are currently undergoing testing to ensure they, and the infrastructure they 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.  

The Caltrain Electrification Project will electrify the corridor from the San Francisco Station at 4th and King streets to the Tamien Station in San Jose, allowing all diesel-hauled trains on this part of the corridor to be replaced by 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.  This year marks the 160th anniversary of San Francisco-San Jose rail service, a history which was celebrated at the event with at informational booths operated by Caltrain and the South Bay Historical Railroad Society, with history buffs getting rewarded with free giveaways. 

This tour was sponsored by the Gannett Fleming and AECOM. 


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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Media Contact: Dan Lieberman, 650.622.2492