CALTRAIN OFFICIALS have announced that the transit agency will be piloting the nation’s first bi-level dual electric and battery-powered train.
The California Transportation Commission approved funding allocation for one Stadler battery-equipped electric train and related maintenance and charging facility upgrades to help with the transition to fully electrified service and expand zero emission service to non-electrified tracks.
The commission approved the allocation of funds from an $80 million award from the California State Transportation Agency for one battery-equipped electric multiple unit train, or BEMU train, and the associated research and development so that Caltrain will be operable with zero-emission trains on both electrified service area of the corridor as well as the portion of the corridor from Tamien Station in San Jose to Gilroy, which, at the present time, does not yet have overhead electrified lines.
The BEMU train, which will be purchased on a contract option with Stadler, Caltrain’s electric train manufacturer, is a train with additional energy storage capacity. The BEMU train will charge while the train runs on overhead power in the electrified service areas and then use battery charge to travel “off-wire” on non-electrified track areas.
Caltrain spokesperson Dan Lieberman said Aug. 17 this will lead the way for Caltrain to operate a fully zero-emission service in the future.
“This project will pave the way for Caltrain to retire their diesel fleet and operate a fully zero-emission service for future generations.”San Jose Mayor Matt Mahan
Before this option, Caltrain would have had to use diesel trains on the non-electrified corridor. The funding award from CalSTA also covers the cost of testing at the Transportation Test Center in Colorado and upgrades to the San Jose Central Maintenance Facility and Gilroy layover and station area to facilitate charging and maintenance.
“Silicon Valley has a reputation for first of its kind innovations, and our transportation sector is no different,” said San Jose Mayor Matt Mahan. “This project will pave the way for Caltrain to retire their diesel fleet and operate a fully zero-emission service for future generations.”
“Today’s unanimous CTC vote was electrifying both figuratively and literally as we fund improvements to a corridor that continues to lead the way to improve the lives for tens of thousands of daily commuters and to show the way for other transit systems throughout the country,” said Carl Guardino, vice chairperson of the commission.