By Dan Lieberman
After a three-year design phase, the first complete electric multiple unit trainset (EMU) has been assembled at the Stadler plant in Salt Lake City, Utah. This trainset is expected to arrive at our railyards in 2021, but before then, it has a lot of testing to complete. Currently, the train will be running in Salt Lake City, on a one kilometer track up to 20 miles per hour to make sure the amenities are working as they should, checking for ride quality, noise and vibration, as well as making sure the air conditioning, lighting and Wi-Fi are up to speed.
From there, the trainset will head to a larger track in Pueblo, Colo., where it will be tested at and above the top speeds allowed on our corridor. These tests will simulate the conditions the trainset will be operating under. Part of this is the official testing used by the Federal Railroad Administration to certify the train for passenger service. During this same period, one car of a seven-car trainset will make the trip to Elmira, N.Y., where it will be put in a climate room to ensure it can operate properly under a range of environmental conditions.
The EMUs will offer a quieter ride than our current fleet, as electric motors run much more quietly than a diesel locomotive. The electric trainset provides a smoother riding experience, due to improved modern-day air suspension system. The testing shows the automated announcements are coming through clear and concise, which will allow our conductors to focus more on passengers and prevent riders from missing their stops. Riders that don’t want to take their earbuds out under any circumstance will appreciate
One day soon, we’ll get the privilege to ride on this brand new electric fleet. Until then, we can sit here looking at photos and dreaming of the new electric future that lies in wait right around the corner. To learn more and see photos of the new electric train in progress, visit CalMod.org.