Caltrain Expands Its Electric Train Testing Area

Caltrain has successfully tested its electric trains and overhead wires between Redwood City and Mountain View for the first time.

This milestone enables the agency to expand its testing area ahead of the launch of its electrified service this autumn.

A red and white train
Caltrain’s electric trains

Between Redwood City and Mountain View, Caltrain commenced the live test runs at speeds of 20 miles per hour to ensure the trains were correctly connected to the overhead wire. Once this connection was established, speeds increased to the corridor’s 79 mile per hour maximum limit.

In total, 25 test runs were successfully completed over the course of a weekend.

Before commencing passenger service, each of Caltrain’s 23 electric trainsets must complete 1000 miles of testing. Initial tests in this programme were conducted between Santa Clara and College Park Stations on the Santa Clara Drill Track. Since then, Caltrain has steadily been expanding the testing area from San Jose to Mountain View.

Caltrain Executive Director Michelle Bouchard said:

“Another test completed marks another step towards a reliable, fast and frequent service for our riders. I cannot wait for everyone to get to experience the modernised, zero-emission fleet of Caltrain’s future for themselves this fall.”

Caltrain’s electrification project is the first undertaking in North America where diesel trains and their infrastructure are transitioned to an electrified system. This will enable Caltrain to deliver faster and more frequent services, including twice the frequency on weekends.

The passenger experience will also be improved, as the new trains feature Wi-Fi, power outlets at every seat, onboard displays with digital trip information and increased storage capacities.

Meanwhile, electrification will help meet regional and state climate action goals by lowering greenhouse gas emissions, improving air quality and relieving traffic congestion.

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