The Caltrain Board of Directors has unanimously appointed Michelle Bouchard to serve as the first permanent Executive Director of the railroad. Bouchard has worked for Caltrain for more than 20 years and has been the Acting Executive Director since April 2021.
Bouchard has spent over 25 years in the transit industry, rising through the Caltrain ranks during the 2000s to eventually become Director of Rail Transportation, where she successfully managed all aspects of the procurement and transition of operations, maintenance and management services. During her tenure, the agency implemented key railroad systems, including the procurement, design and installation of a new rail operations control system. Her leadership was instrumental in completing operations and capital program planning in support of future blended High Speed Rail service on the Caltrain corridor that provided for the needed funding for electrification and the procurement of an electric train fleet. She also played a vital role in conceptualizing and implementing Caltrain’s Baby Bullet service in the early 2000s, helping to lay the groundwork for the overwhelming ridership demand Caltrain experienced pre-pandemic.
In 2015, after a brief time at the Bay Area Rapid Transit District, Bouchard returned to Caltrain as Chief Operating Officer. In her second stint at the agency, she has overseen the implementation of Positive Train Control and the completion of the Caltrain Business Plan, and associated 2040 Service Vision Plan. Upon taking on the Acting Executive Director role, she has been overseeing the Electrification project, which will modernize Caltrain service starting in 2024. In 2018, she was recognized as one of Railway Journal’s Women in Rail, in recognition of her transportation experience, leadership skills, industry contributions, and involvement in community service.
“Michelle has been a dynamic and engaged leader for Caltrain,” said Caltrain Board Chair Steve Heminger. “She was the clear choice to lead the agency, and we have the utmost confidence that she will continue to improve the service and bring more people back to transit.”
“I want to thank the Board for their confidence in naming me Caltrain’s Executive Director to continue leading the agency where my public transportation career started,” said Bouchard. “We have many challenges before us; we need to continue to increase our ridership, finish the electrification of the system and work with our partner agencies and the communities we serve to continue to grow our service. I can’t wait to get to work.”
Bouchard holds a Bachelor of Arts in Economics from Brown University and a Master of Science in Urban and Regional Planning from the London School of Economics.
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