Bay Area/ San Francisco/ Transportation & Infrastructure
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Published on April 10, 2024
Caltrain Teams Up with Balfour Beatty and PG&E for Electrification Project, Full-Speed Tests Underway in San Francisco-San Jose CorridorSource: San Mateo County Transit District

Caltrain and its partners Balfour Beatty and Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) are moving toward a cleaner future by energizing and testing its 51-mile corridor between San Francisco and San Jose. Marking a significant milestone, the much-anticipated Caltrain Electrification Project will now see electric trains being tested at full speed, gearing up the rail service for its electric service launch this fall.

"The completion of the Overhead Catenary System allows us to test electric trains along our entire corridor," Caltrain Executive Director Michelle Bouchard stated. An electrified service is slated to launch in September, and Bouchard thanked the coordinated effort of PG&E and Balfour Beatty, as well as the dedicated workers and consultants of Caltrain.

Balfour Beatty's US Civils President, Mark Konchar, hailed the feat as a result of "relentless work and partnership" and said it "has been an extraordinary journey to date in enhancing Caltrain’s rail service for local passengers." Meanwhile, PG&E was tooting its own horn, with Regional Vice President Teresa Alvarado noting their pride in providing "safe, affordable, clean, and electrified transportation," via Caltrain.

The construction of substations and infrastructure updates were completed with a sense of urgency as everyday rail services continued for more than 20,000 daily riders. Among the upgrades, PG&E rolled out double-circuit 115 kV transmission connections and rebuilt substations to ensure redundant feeds—a fancy way of saying there's a solid backup plan if things go south. Caltrain's now hustling to get the word out about safety, slinging mailers, and hitting social media to remind folks that the wires above are much more than idle decorations.