Caltrain reaches major milestone in its electrification project

Posted: 30 August 2022 | | No comments yet

For the first time, power at the Caltrain Traction Power Substation in San Jose has been activated, allowing Caltrain to begin testing and commissioning of the overhead contact system and new EMU trains.

The Caltrain Traction Power Substation in San Jose has been energised with power, marking a major milestone in the Caltrain Electrification Project that will allow Caltrain to run tests at its facility and along the corridor.

Caltrain Acting Executive Director, Michelle Bouchard, said: “This is a critical step forward in the Caltrain Electrification project, signifying power availability along a six-mile stretch of the corridor between Santa Clara and San Jose. Before activating this southern segment, we are ensuring that all employees and contractors receive the necessary safety awareness training to work in electrified territory. Availability of power will enable us to begin testing and commissioning the overhead contact system and new EMU trains. We want to thank Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) for their help and coordination with this complex undertaking.”

Benefits of the Caltrain Electrification Project

The electrification of the Caltrain system will deliver major benefits to the communities that it serves. Electrification will reduce Caltrain’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and eliminate the particulate matter caused by the aging diesel engines. Engine noise created by the trains will also be reduced.

Service will become both more frequent and more comfortable, as state-of-the-art electric trains replace the 30-year-old diesel fleet. Caltrain electrification has also created thousands of jobs locally and throughout the country, both to electrify the corridor and to assemble the new trains. The infrastructure that is being installed will be compatible with future high-speed rail on the corridor.


Caltrain’s substation in San Jose is also one of two main substations along the Caltrain corridor, with the other one being in South San Francisco. Together, with eight other smaller facilities along the corridor, power substations provide, distribute, and regulate electricity to the overhead wires which will power Caltrain’s new high-performance electric trains.

PG&E’s work to complete the project for Caltrain was substantial and needed to be safely conducted while maintaining reliable service to more than 20,000 customers also served by the existing infrastructure.

The infrastructure upgrades from PG&E include:

  • Construction of two, double-circuit 115 kV transmission connections from the East Grand Substation in South San Francisco and the FMC Substation in San Jose to Caltrain traction power stations in those communities
  • Rebuilt the East Grand and FMC substations that enabled PG&E to support Caltrain’s request for redundant transmission feeds
  • Additional upgrades to three PG&E and two third-party remote end substations.

The Caltrain Electrification Project is expected to be completed in 2024.