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Caltrain planning to electrify

More arguments for electrification from other jurisdictions… Caltrain, the agency that runs commuter rail service on the San Francisco Peninsula, plans to convert diesel service to electric by 2019, and has just released an environmental assessment.

According to Caltrain’s FAQ:

Why electrify Caltrain?
Electrification will modernize Caltrain and make it possible to increase service levels while offering several advantages in comparison with existing diesel power use, including:

Improved Train Performance, Increased Ridership Capacity and Increased Service:
Electrified trains can accelerate and decelerate more quickly than diesel-powered trains, allowing Caltrain to run more efficiently. In addition, because of their performance advantages, electrified trains will enable more frequent and/or faster train service to more riders.

Increase Revenue and Reduce Cost:
Service improvements achieved through electrification will increase ridership and fare revenues and decrease fuel costs. These efforts will substantially reduce the financial subsidy required to operate the system.

Reduce Engine Noise Emanating from Trains:
Noise from electrified train engines is measurably less than diesel train engines. Train horns will continue to be required at grade crossings, consistent with safety regulations.

Improve Regional Air Quality and Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions.
Electrified operations will produce substantial reductions in corridor air pollution emissions when compared with diesel locomotives, even when the indirect emissions from electrical power generation are included. Increased ridership will reduce automobile usage, resulting in additional air quality benefits. In addition, the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions will help meet the State’s emission reduction goals.

These are the issues the Clean Train Coalition and predecessors have been promoting for more than 10 years in Toronto.

To learn more about the Caltrain project, click here.

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