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Caltrain gets funds to start modernization work

Caltrain received nearly $40 million in state funds to pay for the first phase of modernizing and electrifying the popular Peninsula rail system.

Transit advocates, regional politicians and Caltrain officials gathered at Millbrae Station Thursday morning, Sept. 27, to celebrate the decision of the California Transportation Commission, which approved the release of $39.8 million for advancing the Caltrain Modernization Program.

The initial influx of state money will help pay for installing an advanced signal system that will allow more trains to run per hour per day.

The advanced signal system and additional trains will accommodate a growing demand for daily rail service in the region, while preparing the Caltrain right-of-way between San Jose and San Francisco to eventually coexist with high-speed trains.

"This is a turning point in the history of Caltrain," U.S. Rep. Jackie Speier said today. "From this point forward, change will accelerate so that by 2019, we will have an ultra-modern electric train system to serve our 21st Century economy."

Speier referred to the modernized trains as "brainiacs," because computerized locomotives will operate with the signaling system to prevent train-to-train collisions, enforce speed restrictions and improve the overall safety of the transit system.

Assemblyman Jerry Hill agreed that the modernized Caltrain system will offer a safer, quieter, and more environmentally friendly alternative to the current diesel-powered system, while potentially taking thousands of driving commuters off congested roadways.

"This project will take cars off the road, create local jobs, lead to more frequent Caltrain service and reduce emissions," Hill said.

Joining Hill and Speier at this morning's ceremony were Assemblywoman Fiona Ma, state Sen. Leland Yee, Caltrain Joint Powers Board President and San Mateo County Supervisor Adrienne Tissier, and San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency Board Chairman Tom Nolan.

In May, the Metropolitan Transportation Commission approved a memorandum of understanding with the California High-Speed Rail Authority to provide a total of $1.5 billion toward modernizing Caltrain and preparing the corridor for a blended rail system.

Work on the advanced signal system is an essential first step in the electrification of the Caltrain system, which is expected to be finished in 2019.

Comments

 +   Like this comment
Posted by Michael G Stogner
a resident of another community
on Sep 29, 2012 at 6:03 pm

Speier referred to the modernized trains as "brainiacs," because computerized locomotives will operate with the signaling system to prevent train-to-train collisions, enforce speed restrictions and improve the overall safety of the transit system.

The Congresswoman has made no comment not one word about the near-mis August 24, 2012 SSF 8:27 AM when a SB train going 76 MPH just missed 10 people stranded between the northbound train with only 6 ft separating the 2 trains.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by billy
a resident of Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Sep 30, 2012 at 10:07 pm

The local politicians gather to thank themselves for voting to spend $1B on CalTrain, and congratulate themselves for a job well done. To be clear, I think an electrified Caltrain done right is a great step forward for Peninsula commuters.

However, it has been reported that this Caltrain funding bill was little more than insurance to ensure the support of Peninsula politicians for the high speed rail project. The notion that Caltrain will cease being the mismanaged agency that it is when it switches to electric engines is silly, and that any real monitory savings that may materialize will never actually translate into any rider benefit.

Concerning safety, there is no plan to add any grade separations between San Francisco and San Jose, so how this plan will make Caltrain safer is a real mystery. A few places will be 'studied' for separations, but as I read the plan, there is neither a requirement, nor funding, for any grade separations along the corridor. More, faster trains and no new grade separations are fatalities waiting to happen. But so long as the ribbon cutting ceremonies look good, I guess that's all that really matters.

I hope I am wrong about all of this, only time will tell.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Michael G Stogner
a resident of another community
on Oct 1, 2012 at 11:12 am

Michael Scanlon, Mark Simon and Christine Dunn's Caltrain Safety program, Game-plan.

Keep Bad and Scary Information out of the MEDIA.

Here is Caltrain News website, look up August 24, 2012 to see what they said about the little mishap at SSF at 8:27AM.

Web Link


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