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Rail News: Passenger Rail

Caltrain board OKs regional pact for electrification


Last week, the Peninsula Corridor Joint Powers Board unanimously approved a memorandum of understanding (MOU) between the California High-Speed Rail Authority and several Bay Area public agencies to fully fund the electrification of Caltrain.

The MOU calls for leveraging local, regional and federal funds to secure hundreds of millions of dollars in high-speed rail dollars for the project, Caltrain officials said in a prepared statement. The MOU also spells out Caltrain’s ownership of the right of way.

“This is the beginning of making sure that we have a cleaner train, a faster train, more service, mores stops, less noise and cleaner air,” said Chairwoman Adrienne Tissier.

Electrification could be in place as soon as 2019, Caltrain officials said.

The agreement is based on a “blended system,” which would allow Caltrain and high-speed rail to operate on Caltrain tracks using current infrastructure with a combination of electrification and positive train control, they said. A larger project would be developed over the next 25 years.

The Metropolitan Transportation Commission and California High-Speed Rail Authority already have approved the MOU. During the next several weeks, the agreement will be considered by city and county of San Francisco, the San Francisco County Transportation Authority, city of San Jose, San Mateo County Transportation Authority, Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority and Transbay Terminal Joint Powers Board.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 5/7/2012