Celebrating Caltrain’s huge strides toward electrification

A recent San Jose open house highlighted the HNTB-program-managed electrification project, the first of three events

SAN JOSE, Calif. (Sept. 8, 2023) HNTB joins Caltrain in celebrating the significant progress that has been made in the electrification of Caltrain’s corridor from the San Francisco Station to the Tamien Station. This electrification project, which has been in the works since 2016, will provide passengers with enhanced speed, capacity, safety and comfort, while reducing emissions and improving air quality.

HNTB, a leading infrastructure solutions firm, has played a crucial role in the electrification project. Specifically, HNTB was the program manager of this project, acting as the owner’s representative and reporting project progress directly to Caltrain’s CEO and executive director. HNTB manages the alignment between all stakeholders involved in this project, ensuring the project stays on track and within budget.

“We are honored to have contributed to this transformative project,” said Pranaya Shrestha, PE, HNTB senior program manager. “Electrification will revolutionize Caltrain’s commuter rail service, offering a more sustainable and efficient transportation solution for the community.”

The Caltrain corridor has witnessed significant advancements in both service and design over the last 150 years. The latest enhancement is the electrification of the line, involving the introduction of 19 new high-performance seven-car electric trainsets to replace the current diesel locomotive trains. This electrification initiative will not only enhance the overall passenger experience but also address long-term environmental impacts by reducing noise, improving regional air quality, and lowering greenhouse gas emissions.

“The electrification of Caltrain will reshape how the Bay Area moves for decades to come,” said Michelle Bouchard, Caltrain executive director. “We are proud of what we’ve been able to accomplish with HNTB as a partner, and we look forward to our riders benefiting from their leadership when electrified service begins next year.”

Courtesy of Caltrain

In addition to converting diesel-hauled trains to electric trains, Caltrain’s electrification project includes increasing service to six trains per peak hour per direction and maintaining operating speeds up to 79 mph. These service improvements are expected to accommodate increased system ridership through enhanced operations.

In celebration of the achievement of this milestone, Caltrain hosted the first of three open houses this summer at the San Jose Diridon Station. The event provided the community an opportunity to explore the new electric trains, indulge in food truck offerings, participate in games and activities, and experience an art demonstration by Eric Rewitzer from 3 Fish Studios. An additional open house will be held on Sept. 23, 2023, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., at the San Francisco Station, located at 704 4th St., San Francisco, Calif., 94107. The third open house will be held in Winter 2023/2024 in San Mateo County.

The electrification project is on track to open in September 2024, and has recently achieved notable milestones that indicate significant progress has been made on the electrification project. This includes the electric trains successfully operating under power from the overhead contact system for the first time during test runs.

For more information about the Caltrain electrification project and future open houses, please visit caltrain.com.