Caltrain is purchasing new high-performance electric trains to replace the current diesel locomotive trains as part of the Peninsula Corridor Electrification Project. The electric trains will stop and start faster than diesel trains which means Caltrain could increase capacity with a more user-friendly, efficient schedule that will provide consistent, attractive service with more frequent stops without sacrificing speed.
Caltrain’s new electric trains are a key component of the Caltrain Modernization (CalMod) program that will enhance the speed, capacity, safety, and comfort of Caltrain’s commuter rail service.
Train Features and Rider Input
Explore New Caltrain Electric Trains
Caltrain is purchasing new high-performance electric trains to replace the current diesel locomotive trains. This section highlights some of the exciting new features of the high-performance electric trains. Bookmark this page and visit frequently for updated information.
The new electric Caltrain trains will be state-of-the art vehicles with many enhancements and amenities over the current diesel fleet.
Plentiful Power Sources
The new trains will feature power sources at every seat (except flip seats) to ensure riders can stay connected and fully-charged throughout their ride.
On-Board Displays With Trip Information
Digital signage aboard the new trains will make it easier for riders to know their current location and which stations are coming up next.
Due to the cantilevered seat design, there will be more space under each seat to stow your belongings. The new trains will also feature overhead storage space for additional passenger belongings.
Comfortable, Modern Seats For A High-Tech Train
A typical passenger car layout will have two main levels with between 85 and 100 seats per car. There will be some flip seats, in addition to the regular fixed seats. Most seats will face one direction and if there are any seats facing each other, there will be a table in the middle.
The new train seats are designed for maximum comfort, access and durability. Caltrain presented two color variations and invited riders to weigh in on which they liked best. Check out the gallery to see more renderings of the final seat design.
Caltrain conducted a robust outreach and education effort to give riders the opportunity to learn about and test out the new train seat design options. Riders were able to try out the seats at stations and view multiple renderings for each of the options online. Thousands of riders weighed in via in-station events and the online seat poll to choose the final design.
Enhancing Convenience And Maximizing Bike Capacity
There will be two dedicated bike cars per train that will be well marked. Each bike car will have a lower, mid, and upper level, with bike storage on the lower level. Security cameras will be posted in each bike car to enhance security.
Rider engagement has been a key element helping to shape the design of the new electric train bike cars. From August through September 2017, Caltrain collected feedback through a variety of efforts to make the final determination. Input was received through an online poll; discussions with local bike advocacy groups; station outreach where riders could try out the bike car options; comments though the website; social and earned media; and emails, phone calls, and in-person-engagements.
The poll, which ran from August 8 to September 1, found that two-thirds of respondents (66.2 percent) preferred the convenience of the hybrid, wheel-holder option. Written comments from some members of the public expressed concern that the hybrid option would not be able to accommodate all bikes; would limit capacity, causing more cyclist bumps from trains; and would not be accessible to those unable to lift their bike into the wheel holders. The Caltrain Bicycle Advisory Committee and the bicycle coalitions in San Francisco and Silicon Valley supported the stacking option due to its ability to maximize onboard bike storage.
What we ultimately heard from the community was that capacity for bike storage onboard is paramount for the new bike car design. The final design option maximizes bike storage capacity onboard the new electric trains.
Note: Caltrain recently adopted a Bike Parking Management Plan to improve bike parking at stations. For more information about the plan, go here.
Riders Choose Electric Train Exterior Design
Please note, the winning option is a preliminary design and may change subtly
due to operational, maintenance and engineering constraints.
When riders see the new electric trains running, many can take pride knowing they helped choose the design of the train exteriors. During May 2017, Caltrain promoted an online poll for riders to weigh in on four unique exterior design options for the new electric trains. During that time over 6,330 votes were received and a clear front-runner emerged. The voters preferred design was declared the option and was selected for manufacturing.
In both service and design, the trains running along the Caltrain corridor have greatly evolved over the last 150 years. Check out the images below to learn a little more about their history.
Today, the trains running along the corridor proudly wear Caltain’s emblematic black and red logo (affectionately referred to by Caltrain insiders as the “meatball” logo). Whether they are F-40 engines or MP-36 (Bombardier) engines, the trains are united under the Caltrain mark, soon to be proudly featured on the new electric trains as well. If you’d like to see more images of the new trains or photos of the corridor’s historic trains, check out the gallery.
Between 1977 and 1980, the trains transitioned from Southern Pacific diesels into the current F-40 engines. During this time the design was influenced largely by CalTrans and featured the very fashionable 1980’s Caltrain logo.
By the 1950s Southern Pacific was running newer diesel trains. Among these diesel locomotives were the striking black-bodied trains with red noses, often referred to as the “bloody nose” design.
From 1863 to 1954 Southern Pacific steam engines ruled the tracks, including some famous locomotives like the C.P Huntington (California State Railroad Museum) and the 2472 (Niles Canyon Railroad).
Increased frequency and reduced travel time
Amenities like destination signs and electrical plugs, more room, and reduced engine noise
Short and long-term capacity growth potential, without degrading service
Replacing old diesel trains with new electric trains will reduce GHG and improve air quality
Initially, Caltrain will replace approximately 75 percent of the diesel fleet with new electric trains called Electric Multiple Units (EMUs), which would operate between San Francisco and San Jose. Full replacement of the fleet with EMUs would occur at a future time when funding is identified and the remaining diesel trains reach the end of their service life.