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Caltrain Says Electrification Project Won't Be Complete Until 2024

SAN MATEO COUNTY (CBS SF) – Caltrain officials announced Thursday that completion of the project to electrify the railway has been pushed back to late 2024.

According to the rail agency, multiple factors are behind the delays, which include complications in installing signal systems and what Caltrain described as "unforeseen conditions" under tracks. Caltrain also cited pandemic-related disruptions in supply chains.

"These delays are disappointing, because the electrification of Caltrain is desperately needed," said Michelle Bouchard, Caltrain's Executive Director.

The agency also announced Thursday that the project will need an additional $333 million, raising the total cost from $1.98 billion to $2.3 billion. Caltrain said it would develop a funding plan in coordination with the project's funding partners over the next several months.

Caltrain officials said 75% of the foundations for the catenary poles, which will support the overhead electric wires to power the new trains, are complete. Other progress includes all 10 traction power facilities being under construction and the overhead contact system being installed at all tunnels.

As for the electric trains to replace the current diesel fleet, officials said the first trainset has been completed and is being tested at a facility in Colorado.

Bouchard said, "much has already been accomplished, and together with our contractors, funding partners and stakeholders, we will deliver the modern rail service that the Bay Area deserves."

The project, which aims to reduce the agency's greenhouse gas emissions, along with providing faster and more frequent service, began in 2017. At the time of the groundbreaking, officials looked to finish the project in 2020 or 2021.


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