Caltrain, the new state-of-the-art technology with electric trains for transportation between San Fransisco and San Jose, was recently spotted at the Western Pacific Railroad Museum on Tuesday, October 31, 2023, in Portola. According to a representative from Caltrain, the unit was making its way south after being maintained or manufactured at the Salt Lake City production faculty.
According to a 2019 article in Mercury News, “Caltrain is the largest U.S. contract yet for Stadler, which has built trains for railways around the world, including the new biodiesel trains on BART’s extension to Antioch (which were made in Switzerland). The company’s leaders call their Salt Lake City plant an investment in the prediction that increasingly congested American cities will need to build more of the public transit that’s common in European capitals.
The Bay Area is a perfect example. The region’s most important highways are sluggish every rush hour, and the traffic is getting worse — by 2040, an additional 1.2 million people will be living within two miles of Caltrain stations along the San Francisco Peninsula. At the same time, more than half of Caltrain’s passenger cars, as well as two-thirds of its locomotives, are already past their retirement age, requiring costly extra maintenance.
The electrification project is aimed at getting more people to ride the rail. The new trains will still run at 79 mph, the same as the current maximum speed, but they’ll be much faster at stopping and starting. That means they can fit in more stops in less time.
The upgraded trains also will feature free WiFi, an electric outlet at almost every seat, more luggage space, and improved digital signage. Each train still will have multiple bike cars, although only one bathroom.
Another plus: The ride will be a lot smoother than today’s sometimes bone-shaking experience, thanks to the electric acceleration and special air cushioning around the wheels.”
According to the Caltrain website, as of today, their 77-mile route serves 32 stations, and ridership has doubled since 2005 and has an average of 65,000 riders on a daily basis. The existing diesel fleets that are more than 30 years old are past their service expectancy and ready to retire. The new Caltrain Modernization program represents a $1.9 Million investment in the future of the Caltrain electrification project. This project aims to provide cleaner, more reliable service and will lay the foundation for future improvements, claiming a 97% reduction in pollution, 13 stations in 60 minutes, and a 15%reduction in travel time.
An electrified system means that the trains can run more frequently and more efficiently. This helps us increase capacity initially by over 30%. Calmod (in partnership with Caltrain) will provide over 2.5 billion dollars in economic benefits, including creating nearly 10,000 jobs across the country. Visit Caltrain.com and Calmod.org for more information.
Hopefully, one day soon we can have a similar system traveling throughout the local area, by providing rail travel to the area and providing a new way to appreciate the beautiful landscapes we love from a whole new perspective.