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BayRail Alliance supports the Caltrain Electrification Project
BayRail Alliance's comments on Caltrain Electrification EIR, 24 May 2004

Electrify Caltrain!

more EFFICIENT, and

The modern way

Editor: Electrification is the modern way to go. Bring Caltrain up to speed and up to code. All the best and fastest trains in the world are electric. Let's try to catch up.

John Maybury

Letters to the Editor. Saturday, August 25, 2001, in the Redwood City Independent

Saves Time and Money

Electrification would cut travel time between San Francisco and San Jose via Caltrain would be cut by seven minutes (9%) for local service and five minutes on express trains for up to 90 m.p.h. trains. Trains south of San Jose to Gilroy would be speeded up significantly, able to travel over 100 m.p.h.

While travel time is cut, the most important element of electrification is that it allows for much higher frequency of service. Electrification provides quick acceleration and deceleration, which is necessary for trains to run more frequently. Like electrified BART, Caltrain could achieve frequencies of 5 minutes or less. Today, Caltrain operates 80 daily trains. This will increase to 110 daily trains by 2003. With even more trains being planned and with more than 33 stations, many less than 2 miles apart, electrification is a must if Caltrain is to address the growing transportation needs of the Peninsula.

More Reliable Trains

Another major benefit is increased reliability that electric engines provide. With fewer moving parts and less wear on the wheels due to more efficient braking, costs and time out of service are reduced both for the engines and the railcars. This results not only in savings of time, but also savings in operations and repair monies.

Also there would be reduced air pollution, noise and vibration to business and residents along the route. Electrification would eliminate Caltrain's current 1% contribution to nitrogen oxide emissions in the region.

Regional and Statewide Benefits.

With California High Speed Rail, CAHSR, and the San Francisco Downtown extension gaining political momentum, electrification will be a prerequisite for both projects while at the same time improving both regional and statewide transit. By sharing track, infrastructure, and cost with CAHSR, electrification is a win-win for the Bay Area and the State.

Summary : Electrification of Caltrain would provide:
  • much quieter trains
  • faster acceleration and deceleration for faster travel time
  • significant savings in operating costs
  • cleaner air
  • enhanced reliability
  • a more modern and attractive public image

Find out more: BayRail Q&A

Recent Developments

Oct 2001.  Electrification costs soar [Read the webmaster's analysis]

Oct 2001. Draft of letter Caltrain is to send to MTC regarding electrification.

Sept 2001.  California High Speed Rail Authority (CAHSR) suggests that CAHSR pay for 50% of electrifcation and 50% of the San Francisco Downtown Extension.

Aug 2001. MTC makes Caltrain Electrification a Track 1 (Priority 1) project in the 2001 Regional Transportation Plan.

2000. Elecitrifcation EIR/EIS is being updated for release in early 2002.

May 1999. Caltrain agrees to make electrification a priority along with right-of-way rehabilitation.

Thanks to Clem Tillier for the picture at the top of this page. View another artist's rendering of future electric Caltrain (the ABB/SLM Locomotive 2000 with the Caltrain paint scheme, 33k gif) that previously appeared on this page.

© 2001 BayRail Alliance.
All Rights Reserved.