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Rail News: Passenger Rail

Caltrain marks electrification project milestones

Caltrain and its vehicle manufacturer Stadler have run tests using the OCS and the upgraded signal system.
Photo – Caltrain


Caltrain yesterday announced it has completed three major milestones in its railroad electrification project.

The California railroad has installed every pole for the overhead contact system (OCS), which will provide power to the electric trains; upgraded the signal system that will enable electric trains to operate along the Caltrain corridor; and successfully tested the new electric trains at maximum track speed of 79 mph, Caltrain officials said in a press release.

The milestones bring the Caltrain electrification project closer to passenger service in fall 2024, they said.

Caltrain and contractor Balfour Beatty have worked to install 2,569 pre-engineered poles and upgraded the existing signal system that will enable the electric trains to operate in an electrified corridor along the nearly 160-year-old right-of-way, which has continued to be active during the electrification project. 

The work to upgrade the existing signal system included upgrading every grade crossing on the electrified corridor. A video of the final pole installation can be found here.

With the final OCS pole installed, crews can now hang the last of the wire, as well as finish the final work on the OCS that will provide power to the trains, which will be tested along the full corridor from San Francisco to San Jose, California, later this year.

Additionally, Caltrain and its vehicle manufacturer Stadler have run tests using the OCS and the upgraded signal system. The tests have the new electric trains operating at maximum track speed to ensure that all the individual systems are working together as intended, Caltrain officials said.