Caltrain is seeking funds from California’s Cap and Trade revenues to fully electrify the system when electric service starts; to order enough train cars for longer trains carrying more passengers; and to lengthen platforms to accommodate the longer trains. GM Jim Hartnett said that Caltrain had been working closely with staff from the state on the grant application, implying a good chance of funding.
Full electrification from San Jose to San Francisco would give Caltrain more flexibility to improve its schedule, since the electric trains accelerate faster and can cover more stops in the same amount of time. Longer platforms would help Caltrain keep up with ridership growth anticipated from growth plans up and down the corridor such as Google expanding to San Jose Diridon, Stanford adding up to 5,000 jobs and thousands of residents depending on their growth permit application being accepted, new jobs and homes near Caltrain in San Francisco, and more.
The short presentation did not make mention of level boarding, but logically a project to make trains longer would at the same time raise the platforms to allow level boarding, which would improve accessibility for people with mobility needs, luggage and bikes, reduce the amount of time that trains need to stop at stations, and therefore provide faster service.
Caltrain’s contract with Stadler to purchase electric train sets included an option to buy up to 96 more cars, and the award of this grant would allow Caltrain to use that option.
Caltrain will share more about the details of the grant application – which is due January 12, at its next February board meeting.