Caltrain: electrification postponed to ’24, costs increase by 14%

Written by

Marybeth Luczak, Editor-in-Chief

The # 1 KISS EMU (Electric Multiple Unit) built by Stadler of Caltrain is being tested at the Transportation Technology Center in Pueblo, Colo.

The launch of Caltrain’s electrified service will be delayed for two years, until the end of 2024, due to “complications in the installation of signaling systems, unforeseen conditions under Caltrain’s tracks and the coronavirus pandemic ( COVID-19), which severely disrupted the supply chains necessary for the project. “

The delay was announced at a meeting of the Joint Powers Board (JPB) on June 3 and is currently being considered by the Federal Transport Administration (FTA), Caltrain mentionned. (Download the project update presentation below.)

The cost of the project is also expected to increase by almost 14% or from $ 333 million to $ 2.3 billion – an estimate provided by a draft FTA risk update report, based on the progress of the project. project so far and the remaining design and construction work, according to Caltrain.

FTA reported in December 2020 that the total cost of the project under the Full Funding Grant Agreement (FFGA) was $ 1.93 million; Funding for Section 5309 New Beginnings was $ 647 million.

the Peninsula Corridor Electrification Project (PCEP) is modernizing and electrifying the 51-mile dual-track commuter rail system from Caltrain, 4th and King Caltrain Station in San Francisco, Calif. to Tamien Station in San Jose, Calif.

Caltrain provided the following progress report:
• 75% of the foundations of the catenary poles have been completed; 60% of the poles have been installed.
• The 10 traction power installations are under construction.
• The air contact system was installed in the four Caltrain tunnels.
• Stadler’s first electric train has been completed and is currently being tested at the Transportation Technology Center in Pueblo, Colorado. In addition, 70 car hulls have been shipped from Stadler Switzerland, of which 55 are to Stadler Salt Lake City and 15 are in transit. The pandemic has slowed production, according to Caltrain, noting that it is now planned to receive the first train in February 2022, “mainly due to the bankruptcy of Seisenbacher US and the financial problems of Seisenbacher Austria”, and to accept the 14th train in August 2023.

Of the $ 333 million in additional costs, Caltrain said it “identified a funding plan for known and allocated costs of $ 161 million. The remaining $ 172 million are unallocated costs that have been set aside as a reserve for unknown risks. The agency will develop a funding plan over the coming months in coordination with the project funding partners.

General Manager of Caltrain Michelle Bouchard

“These delays are disappointing, as the electrification of Caltrain is desperately needed,” said Caltrain CEO Michelle Bouchard. “However, much has already been accomplished, and together with our contractors, financial partners and stakeholders, we will provide the modern rail service that the Bay Area deserves.”

“There is no question that the electrification of Caltrain is vital to the Bay Area,” JPB Chairman Dev Davis said. “It’s the foundation of the expanded service that’s needed to reduce our carbon footprint, get cars off our highways, and help people across the region get to where they need to go in a convenient and affordable way. “

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