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Caltrain Rolls Toward Electrification

Commuter rail's governing authority approves agreement to fully fund project, which could be ready by 2019.

Seven years from now Caltrain will be a lot quieter, faster and efficient.

That should be the result of a regional agreement approved Thursday by the Peninsula Corridor Joint Powers Board, the agency that owns and operates Caltrain, to fully fund the electrification of the railroad. This means riders could expect to receive better and more frequent service by 2019, while in turn Caltrain gets more passengers and money.

"Today is the day," said Board Chair Adrienne Tissier. "This is the beginning of making sure that we have a cleaner train, a faster train, more service, more stops, less noise and cleaner air."

That's good news for commuters to and from Palo Alto, Caltrain's second-busiest station after San Francisco.

The contract between several local, regional and federal agencies including the California High-Speed Rail Authority will secure for the project.

The agreement based on a "blended system" would make it possible for a between Caltrain and the high-speed tail, a concept first proposed by Rep. Anna G. Eshoo (D-Palo Alto), State Senator Joe Simitian (D-Palo Alto) and Assemblyman Rich Gordon (Menlo Park). A larger project would be developed in phases over the next 25 years.

"The recent action taken by the several transit agencies will produce an historic accomplishment—the modernization of Caltrain,” Rep. Eshoo said. "A 21st century system will serve Silicon Valley commuters well, while stimulating local economies and alleviating traffic congestion. This is a huge win for the people of the Peninsula."

The agreement clearly spells out Caltrain’s ownership of the right of way and the agency’s responsibility to represent the needs of the community it serves. 

Already approved by the Metropolitan Transportation Commission and the California High-Speed Rail Authority, the next stop for the consideration of Caltrain's electrification will be the City and County of San Francisco, the City of San Jose, the San Mateo County Transportation Authority, the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority and the Transbay Terminal Joint Powers Board.

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Irvin Dawid May 05, 2012 at 07:41 PM
This is great news for anyone who takes Caltrain, or who lives near enough to the tracks to hear the train, which includes much of Palo Alto, as well as those who may inhale the diesel fumes the locomotives leave as they pull out of the station. A win for the environment, transportation, and livability!

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