Caltrain Electrification: Voices for Modernization

By Jessica Loi

This month’s Joint Powers Board Meeting will forever be marked as a monumental event for the commuter rail agency and the riders that use Caltrain every day.  On July 7th, the Board of Directors approved $1.25 billion in contracts to fund the Peninsula Corridor Electrification Project (PCEP).

CalTrain Electric Train

Artist’s rendering of Caltrain EMU.

The PCEP aims to electrify the Caltrain corridor between San Francisco and San Jose by 2020. With this upgrade, the rail service will maximize its efficiency, reliability, safety and performance for generations to come. Electrification will address the staggering population growth within the Bay Area by increasing Caltrain service to offset the region’s booming ridership numbers. In addition, completion of the PCEP will reduce transit-based greenhouse gas emissions and will help prepare the corridor to eventually accommodate California’s statewide high-speed rail service.

Several Caltrain riders have conveyed their approval of efforts to electrify the rail corridor. Many of them believe that it will alleviate congestion in all areas of Silicon Valley transportation as well as provide a fast, environmentally-friendly alternative to driving on Highway 101 and Interstate 280. Below are statements voiced by our riders who have expressed support for the Caltrain electrification project:

“Electrification of our trains is an improvement long overdue. It is gratifying to see ridership increase in the past decade, discouraging to have to stand if I catch a commuter train during rush hour, and hopeful to hear that the Caltrain Board is going to give us, its riders, fancy new trains.”

  • Joan Brodovsky

“I’d just like to express my support for starting Caltrain electrification. The Bay Area is bursting at the seams and needs to modernize its transport systems to support the higher-density housing that has to come.”

  • Daniel Dobkin

“I have long been an advocate for Caltrain and other transit services. As a Mountain View resident who will soon regularly be using Caltrain from the San Antonio station to a new job in San Francisco, I am more keenly interested in future Caltrain investment. I often see Caltrain cars at standing room capacity and know that there will be plenty of demand for more frequent service. Electrified Caltrain technology provides an opportunity to increase this capacity. Thank you very much!”

  • Howard Meyerson

“As the population of the Peninsula increases—as does climate disruption—it becomes increasingly important to provide fast, efficient and clean transportation for these residents. Now is the time to get started on this important project.”

  • Shirley Ingalls

“Having been a daily rider for the last seven years, I’ve been waiting for Caltrain electrification for almost as long as I’ve been riding it. Electrification is a much-needed investment in one of our key public transportation systems in the area. By continuing to invest in our public transportation systems, you’ll improve both the experience of riders as well as car commuters by increasing capacity.”

  • Matt Colyer

“The electrification of Caltrain is the next best step in the modernization of the system. Caltrain was reborn when the Baby Bullet trains were implemented in 2004. The Baby Bullet trains have reinvented an aging commuter line and have brought Caltrain into the 21st century by moving S.F. Peninsula and South Bay residents up and down the peninsula safely and quickly. During commute hours, Caltrain competes with the automobile… AND… it does a better job! Electrification is next, as it will allow for a faster commute/more trains every hour. Electrification is not only environmentally correct, but  is the next best step for Caltrain!”

  • Richard Tretten

Caltrain would like to take this opportunity to thank our riders for taking time out of their busy schedules to write our Board in support of electrification.  To stay informed and engaged with the PCEP, visit www.caltrain.com/calmod or email calmod@caltrain.com.

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