Caltrain Modernization

February 17, 2017

Caltrain Modernization is the most important project in the U.S., even if it were not being integrated into the high-speed rail network.

They are driving important innovations; such as, high-capacity, lightweight trainsets using safer and more efficient alternate compliant standards. Their operating scheme will include local and express commuter trains with room for high-speed trains later and a transition from low-level platforms to 48” platforms that will allow level boarding. This would make Caltrain the first truly modern passenger rail line in the U.S.

The Caltrain system serves commuters from San Jose through the Silicon Valley and into San Francisco. The line is over capacity with ridership nearly tripling since 2004. Caltrain Modernization is designed to meet the high ridership demand and ease congestion throughout the region. A study by Caltrain estimates that ridership will nearly double in the years after the project is complete.

Despite the obvious need for this project, all fourteen members of the GOP delegation in California signed a letter requesting that U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao delay funding until a full audit of the California High Speed Rail Authority can be conducted. This is clearly a delay tactic that would have a devastating impact on a project that will create jobs and boost the economy of the region.

If the $647 million federal grant is approved, construction can begin right away on this project and it could be completed by 2020. Once complete, the Bay Area will boast a world-class commuter railroad. Other regions throughout the U.S. can look to the combined high-speed/commuter rail improvements as an example of how to make significant upgrades to their own networks.


Dylan Hayward
Program Manager

Last Week at MHSRA:

We joined with the National Association of Railroad Passengers, the Environmental Law & Policy Center, All Aboard Ohio, the Indiana Passenger Rail Alliance and others in support of federal funding for Caltrain. Each organization and many supporters sent letters to Secretary Chao regarding the importance of Caltrain Modernization and urging the administration to expedite the project.

You can read MHSRA's letter here.

Articles We Enjoyed:

Caltrain’s Electrification Project Deserves Its Promised Funding
"The region’s economic growth depends on giving people access to transportation, and the rail system is already over maximum rider capacity at peak hour service. Thousands of jobs will be created by the electrification project; Caltrain officials have estimated that it will generate more than $2.5 billion in economic value for the region."

Jerry Brown Responds to Donald Trump’s High-Speed Rail Lament
"Using the new president’s preferred mode of communication, California Gov. Jerry Brown delivered a sparing, yet upbeat message Thursday designed to relieve President Donald Trump’s concerns about the lack of fast-moving trains in America."

Trump Laments Lack of 'Fast Trains’ in US During Meeting with Airline Execs
"President Trump lamented the lack of high-speed rail service in the U.S. during his meeting with top airline executives on Thursday.'You go to China, you go to Japan, they have fast trains all over the place... I don’t want to compete with your business, but we don’t have one fast train,' Trump said to laughs."

Moorman to Congress: “New Era” of Amtrak investment Required
“More than ever, our nation and the traveling public rely on Amtrak for mobility, but the future of Amtrak depends on whether we can renew the cars, locomotives, bridges, tunnels, stations and other infrastructure that allows us to meet these growing demands."

Upcoming Events:

2017 MHSRA Annual Meeting

We are scheduling an exciting group of speakers to share idea, innovations and progress related to passenger rail in the U.S. and high-speed rail around the world!

When: Saturday April 1, 2017 - 9:00am to 3:00pm (Check in will start at 8:30am)

Where: Maggiano's Little Italy, 516 N. Clark St., Chicago, IL 60654

Cost: Single Ticket: $60.00
    Student Ticket: $20.00
    *Cost includes lunch

Speakers Include:

  • Derrick James, Director of Government Affairs, Amtrak

  • Tim Hoeffner, Director - Office of Rail, Michigan Department of Transportation

  • Katie England, Director of Multimodal Planning & Programs, Indiana Department of Transportation

  • Mark Walbrun, Vice President, Practice Leader - Rail & Transit, US East, Mott MacDonald

Register Here

Dylan Hayward
Program Manager
Midwest High Speed Rail Association
4765 N. Lincoln Ave.
Chicago, IL 60625