Caltrain successfully tests first batch of electric trains

(KRON) — On Monday, Caltrain successfully tested its first-ever electric trains from Redwood City to San Jose (pictured below). The test is part of an effort to make the San Francisco to San Jose commute faster and more sustainable by the fall.

The live-run test started at 20 miles an hour to ensure a proper connection to the train and its wire before reaching its maximum limit of 79 miles per hour. Over the course of last weekend, 25 such test runs were successfully completed.

Some of Caltrain’s improvements with electrification include reducing noise, improving regional air quality and travel times, greater access to power outlets, incorporating Wi-Fi, and lowering greenhouse gas emissions.

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According to Caltrain, its electrification project is the first project in North America in which diesel trains are transitioned to an electrified system.

The proposed plan includes 70 weekday peak-hour trains, six more than the current average. Eleven stations would see four train arrivals hourly per direction, up from seven stations currently. Midday trains would cover 44 stations per hour, up from 34 today, and weekend service will arrive every half hour, rather than hourly.

“Another test completed marks another step towards a reliable, fast and frequent service for our riders,” said Caltrain executive director Michelle Bouchard. “I cannot wait for everyone to experience the modernized, zero-emission fleet of Caltrain’s future for themselves this fall.”

Caltrain says its electric trains are quieter than its current diesel fleet. As a result, the public is advised to pay close attention when crossing tracks and always wait for the gate to rise fully before crossing.

According to Caltrain’s hopeful timeline, passenger services on the electric fleets will be allowed before the end of 2024, with additional capacity improvements to be expected in 2025.

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