Milestones hit as ambitious Californian electrification project nears completion

Milestones hit as ambitious Californian electrification project nears completion

Caltrain the Northern Californian train operator has completed three major milestones in its huge electrification project.

Every pole for the Overhead Contact System (OCS) has been installed alongside the upgrading of its signalling system. Alongside these two milestones, successful testing of the new electric trains at maximum track speed was also completed successfully.

The OCS is the system that will provide power to the electric trains. It consists of a series of wires that are suspended above the tracks. The new electric trains will have a pantograph on the roof that will collect power from the OCS.

2,569 pre-engineered poles for the OCS have been installed along the 51-mile corridor from San Francisco to San Jose with each one elevated and placed into its concrete foundations.

The signalling system was upgraded on every grade crossing on the electrified corridor.

Alongside the upgrading of the infrastructure, Caltrain and the manufacturer, Stadler successfully ran tests on the OCS to ensure that the new trains could run at maximum track speed of 79 mph. Caltrain has also successfully tested the new electric trains at maximum track speed of 79 mph. The trains were first tested at walking speed and with each subsequent test the speed was increased until reaching the maximum authorized track speed of 79 miles per hour. 

“These three milestones are a big step forward for the Caltrain Electrification Project and we’re now even closer to completing this transformative project,” said Caltrain’s Executive director Michelle Bouchard. “I’m grateful to the tireless work of our staff and partners who have gotten us to this point, and I’m excited for the public to have another chance to see these world class trains this Saturday in San Francisco.”

The electrification project will be the first 25KCV OCS system on the West Coast of America.

Recently, the South San Francisco Traction Power Facility went live, which has made it possible to power the corridor once testing is completed in Autumn.

Caltrain currently runs services in Northern California, connecting San Francisco to cities including San Jose and Gilroy. These milestones bring Caltrain closer to its goal of beginning passenger service with electric trains in fall 2024.

Photo Credit: CalTrain 


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