Peninsula Corridor Electrification Project

Capacity Increase Background Information

The Peninsula Corridor Electrification Project (PCEP) will provide significant capacity enhancements for Caltrain by providing more trains in the peak hour and implementing a more efficient schedule that would provide consistent, attractive service with more frequent stops without sacrificing travel time.

Caltrain will be able to provide an enhanced service schedule because electric trains (EMUs) can accelerate and decelerate more quickly than diesel-powered trains, allowing Caltrain to run more efficiently. The performance advantages of electric trains will enable more frequent and/or faster train service to more riders. Electric trains also allow for future expansion of train lengths without degrading reliability or performance. 

When Caltrain measures the true capacity benefits of the PCEP, we consider total system capacity not just the number of seats on a single train or a single peak hour.    

Below are two graphics that demonstrate Caltrain Electrification capacity benefits based on a six-car trainset:

  • The bar graph graphic shows the percent increases in seat, standee, and bike capacity when comparing today’s service to electrified service.
  • The second graphic shows capacity calculations so riders can get a real world sense of how smaller, high-performance trains can increase overall ridership capacity and address overcrowding.

Accurately calculating capacity for a transit system has to take into account many variables: frequency, travel time, and space utilization rates. These graphics don’t show the additional capacity increases that are gained when you factor in turnover rate (with electric trains Caltrain will be able to implement a more efficient schedule and pickup and drop off additional passengers on a single trip) and all day increased service.