Home News Caltrain service suspended this weekend for final electric train testing

Caltrain service suspended this weekend for final electric train testing

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Caltrain is suspending service between San Francisco and San Jose on Saturday and Sunday to test its new electric train fleet that is slated to begin carrying passengers in September.

A limited number of buses will stop at the San Jose Diridon, Palo Alto and Millbrae stations during the service shutdown. There will be no replacement bus or train service at other stations. Caltrain officials say riders should use alternative transportation if they are traveling outside these stations.

The agency was gearing up for the weekend shutdown on Thursday.

“We’re currently prepping the eight trains, running brake and air tests to make sure they’re ready for Saturday,” said Caltrain spokesperson Dan Lieberman.

Lieberman said that if a problem is discovered over the weekend, more tests will be run, but this weekend is the 29th and final public shutdown.

Caltrain’s electrification project is the first undertaking in North America in a generation where diesel trains and their infrastructure are transitioned to an electrified system. Electrification means faster and more frequent service, including doubling train frequency on weekends, Caltrain officials said. Electric trains are also more environmentally friendly.

Electric service will run down the spine of Silicon Valley — 51 miles from San Francisco to San Jose’s Tamien Station.

The transit agency has propped up about 2.6 million feet of electric wire for the new infrastructure, enough to run alongside a third of the length of the Colorado River.

The project has been in the works since the late 1990s and broke ground seven years ago. The project became all the more real when the Swiss-made red-and-white emblazoned trains were first revealed at their factory in Salt Lake City in 2019, offering a glimpse into one of the biggest makeovers to the region’s transportation system in years. Caltrain received the first train car two years ago.

The new trains feature Wi-Fi, power outlets at every seat, onboard displays with digital trip information, increased storage, and a baby-changing station in the restrooms. Drab seat designs have been replaced with cleaner, futuristic-looking vinyl, and interior lighting is improved.

“It’s definitely a new and brighter look,” Lieberman said.

A shift from diesel to electric will help meet ambitious regional and state climate goals by lowering greenhouse gas emissions, improving air quality and relieving traffic congestion. The change is the equivalent to removing 55,000 cars a year from the roads, Lieberman said.

The project survived years of delays and ran about $500 million over budget with a final price tag of $2.4 billion. There were even hijinks from former President Donald Trump’s administration, which temporarily withheld vast sums of federal money.

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