New Funding Allows Caltrain to Purchase Additional Electric Cars


During its December meeting today, the Caltrain Board of Directors unanimously approved the purchase of additional electric train cars that will help address increasing ridership on the commuter rail system in the future.

Funding from the California State Transportation Agency’s (CalSTA’s) Transit and Intercity Rail Capital Program (TIRCP) allows Caltrain to expand its electric fleet from 16 six-car trainsets to 19 seven-car trainsets. Caltrain’s contract option with Stadler, the company building the electric cars, allows for additional Electric Multiple Units (EMUs) to be purchased at the original price totaling $174.6 million, provided the purchase is made by the end of 2018.

The interior configuration of the trains will be informed by a public process in 2019. That discussion will include an assessment of design alternatives to address bike security concerns and an exploration of policy considerations related to onboard and wayside bicycle storage, and how to balance the needs of bicyclists against the need for capacity improvements for all riders. 

This funding is necessary for Caltrain’s consistently growing ridership. The Caltrain Business Plan foresees a potential demand of over 240,000 weekday riders on the system by 2040, up from the current weekday ridership of 65,000.

This purchase helps to achieve numerous objectives for the agency, including reducing diesel trips on the corridor and enhancing seating capacity. In addition, it supports the Caltrain Business Plan and retains one seat rides from Gilroy to San Francisco.

CalSTA announced a $164.5 million investment from the TIRCP to support Caltrain service improvements in April of this year. In addition to the funds for additional EMUs, the grant provides for the addition of Wi-Fi service onboard the system’s new electric fleet and enhanced bicycle facilities at Caltrain stations. Caltrain provided $39.1 million in matching funds for the EMUs that came from the agency’s FY 2021 capital budget, with the matching funds for the bike parking component coming from FY 2018 State Rail Assistance funding. 


About Caltrain: Owned and operated by the Peninsula Corridor Joint Powers Board, Caltrain provides commuter rail service from San Francisco to San Jose, with limited commute service to Gilroy. Caltrain enjoyed five years of consecutive monthly ridership increases, surpassing more than 65,000 average weekday riders. 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 system, reduce diesel emissions by 97 percent by 2040 and add more service to more stations.

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