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Rail News: High-Speed Rail

California Legislature's HSR funding approval will help advance Caltrain modernization

The California Legislature's vote last week to approve funding for the state's high-speed rail (HSR) plan included an approval to fund Caltrain's modernization project.

The bill authorizes $600 million in HSR funds to modernize Caltrain, which is a component of building a HSR link between Los Angeles and San Francisco, Caltrain officials said in a prepared statement. In addition, Caltrain will receive more than $100 million in connectivity funds through Proposition 1A.

Additional funds for the project to modernize electric rail service will come from a combination of local, regional and federal sources. The "blended system" will allow Caltrain and HSR to operate primarily on Caltrain's existing tracks, minimizing the impact on the communities through which the high-speed trains will pass. Electrification also will help Caltrain reduce its ongoing financial problems by providing more service, carrying more riders, getting more cars off the roads, reducing the operating subsidy and reducing pollution, agency officials said.

Caltrain's $1.5 billion modernization program is a "comprehensive reinvention of the historic railroad" that includes electrification and an advance signal system with positive train control. With the additional funding approved last week, electric train service could be operating on the Caltrain corridor as soon as 2019, Caltrain officials said.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 7/10/2012