Caltrain to receive US$43m in federal funding for electrification project

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California commuter rail line Caltrain is set to receive US$43m in federal funding as part of the recent omnibus spending bill, which was recently signed into law by US President Biden. The funding will help fill the funding gap for Caltrain’s electrification project, which is scheduled to be completed in fall 2024.

Caltrain provides rail service from San Francisco to San Jose in the US, with commute service to Gilroy. Serving the region since 1863, Caltrain is the oldest continually operating rail system west of the Mississippi.

Looking to the future, Caltrain is set to electrify the corridor by 2024, which will reduce diesel emissions and add more service to more stations while advancing the agency’s equity goals.

Caltrain’s historic Electrification Project is the first undertaking in North America in a generation in which diesel trains and their infrastructure components are transitioned to an electrified system. The project will improve the customer experience by increasing the number of trains, modernizing services, and adding new safety elements.

Electrification will also help meet ambitious regional and state climate action goals by lowering greenhouse gas emissions, improving air quality and relieving traffic congestion. Additionally, electrified service will advance equity along the corridor by reducing noise and air pollution while increasing access for priority equity communities. It will also set the framework for California’s future High Speed Rail network that will run on the Caltrain corridor. 

Additional funding sources are now being pursued to resolve the project’s remaining US$367m funding gap, including from California’s Transit and Intercity Rail Capital Program (TIRCP), which includes up to US$1.3bn for projects like Caltrain Electrification.

The total Caltrain Electrification Project cost is US$2.44bn and electrified passenger service is expected to start in fall 2024 if the funding can be secured.