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Rail News: Passenger Rail

Caltrain electrification project costs increase to $2.4 billion

The extra $462 million needed is not entirely secured.
Photo – Lester Clark/Caltrain


Caltrain yesterday announced its electrification project will require an additional $462 million over the initial estimate, bringing the total cost to $2.44 billion.

The cost increase is a result of negotiations and settlement with contractor Balfour Beatty, which resolved commercial issues and additional costs related to the extended 2024 completion deadline, Caltrain officials said in a press release.

The settlement also established a shared risk pool to manage future potential problems and provide incentives for early completion of certain milestones, such as revenue service.

The project originally began construction in 2017.

Caltrain officials said in a press release that they’re working with funding partners, including federal and state governments, to fill the funding gap. To date, Caltrain has received an additional $52.4 million from the federal government; has access to $150 million in financing credit and an additional $60 million in Measure RR capital reserve. In addition, the recently passed federal infrastructure law and the upcoming California state transportation budget could provide additional funding.

“While it hasn’t gone as smoothly as we had hoped, we are confident that we are on track towards electrified service in 2024 that will transform how people commute throughout the Bay Area,” said Caltrain Chair Dev Davis.

Caltrain officials expect the new overhead catenary system to be installed by summer 2022. Nearly 95% of foundations are already installed and nearing total completion. Traction power facilities are expected to be finished in early 2022 along with the first cars of the new electric fleet in the spring.

The new catenary system will increase commuter-rail service to six trains per peak hour per direction and maintain train operating speeds of up to 79 mph, Balfour Beatty officials said in a press release. The electric line will run from San Francisco's 4th and King Station to San Jose's Tamien Station, a total 52 miles of track.

"We will continue to work safely and sustainably to electrify and upgrade the service, capacity and reliability of the transit system on behalf of commuters in San Francisco, San Mateo and Santa Clara counties," said Balfour Beatty US CEO Leon Blondin.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 12/7/2021