Caltrain buying used rail cars from Metrolink; alludes to cost changes for electrification

At today’s Caltrain board meeting, the board approved a term sheet to buy 16 used rail cars from Metrolink. The rail cars will help alleviate Caltrain crowding – but will take up to a year to rehab and put into service. This is five more cars than Caltrain originally intended to purchase back in January. Ridership has continued to rise, and the cars will allow Caltrain to create more 6 car train sets.

The term sheet is finally on the table to finalize after eight months of assessment and negotiations to extricate the cars from a lease. The overall cost is $15million, including the cars, rehabilitation, and $1 million to adjust a few platforms for the longer trains.

Funding for the cars will come from extra cash on hand due to the strong ridership, plus revenue bonds. Caltrain disclosed in the staff report that it also plans to use revenue bonds to help fund electrification.

In the board presentation about electrification, Caltrain modernization lead Marian Lee said that Caltrain was in the process of updating cost estimates and timelines that were initially developed in 2008, and will review with the 9 regional partners in the electrification project, with the implication that costs might have increased since then.