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Caltrain logged ridership record in FY2016

Photo: Caltrain

During Caltrain's 2016 fiscal-year ended June 30, the commuter railroad logged an average weekday ridership of 60,219 passengers, marking a new record for the agency.

The figure represents a 3.2 percent increase over last year's number, which also set a record, Caltrain officials said in a press release.

In FY2016, Caltrain carried 19.2 million passengers, up 3.7 percent from 2015's total ridership. Caltrain has logged nearly six consecutive years of monthly ridership increases, agency officials said.

"As the Bay Area economy continues to thrive, Caltrain is becoming more vital than ever for regional commuters," said Caltrain Executive Director Jim Hartnett. "We're honored by the loyalty of our customers, and we’re determined to make the steps to ensure that Caltrain remains a reliable, safe and efficient transportation option."

The ridership increase is putting a strain on the system, Caltrain officials said. The railroad in 2015 purchased 16 rail-cars from Metrolink to add to its regular fleet as one solution to crowded trains.

And last month, Caltrain swapped out some older, "Gallery"-style train equipment for newer bilevel models to increase capacity and devote more resources to maintaining the older cars.

Caltrain's electrification project will help address the railroad's capacity issues over the long term, agency officials said. After the train network is electrified between San Francisco and San Jose, Calif., Caltrain will be able to run more frequent service.

The electrification project is slated for completion in 2020.

Meanwhile, the California High-Speed Rail Authority has approved contributing $713 million toward the nearly $2 billion electrification project, the Silicon Valley Business Journal reported earlier this week.

The project lays the foundation for eventual operation of high-speed rail service that will connect San Francisco to the rest of the state, according to Caltrain.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 8/11/2016