Friday, September 28, 2012

CTC to release $39.8 million to advance Caltrain modernization project

The California Transportation Commission (CTC) released $39.8 million in allocations for critical work to advance the San Francisco-area Caltrain Modernization Program and prepare the corridor for a future blended system with California high-speed rail.

The funding will be used to further design work for Caltrain's advanced signal system project known as the Communications Based Overlay Signal System with Positive Train Control (CBOSS PTC). Improved safety is one of the key features of the new signal system.

The project is a component of electrification of the corridor and is necessary to achieve the performance advantages available in an electrified system. The advanced signal system will allow for increases in the number of trains per hour operating on the corridor and will help Caltrain meet growing ridership demands. It also potentially has the capability to reduce gate downtime per train, which is important in communities where there are multiple grade crossings in high traffic areas.

"With today's vote by the CTC, Caltrain can continue on track to meeting its commitment to bring a cleaner, quieter, faster and/or more frequent service to the corridor by 2019 and take more cars off the region's roads and highways," said Adrienne Tissier, chair of Caltrain's Joint Powers Board. "The advanced signal system will play a key role in improving the efficiency of the trains and will allow Caltrain to safely provide more service to more stations."

The system, which costs $231 million, is fully interoperable with freight traffic using the Caltrain corridor and future high-speed rail trains. It also meets the Federal Railroad Administration's requirements to install PTC by 2015, which is why it is essential that the funds be allocated now. The advanced signal system will also provide some important advantages during the installation of electrification that will enable Caltrain to maintain rail operations and support faster, more efficient service in a safe work environment.

The total cost of the Caltrain Modernization Program is $1.5 billion. State legislators voted to include $706 million in funding for the modernization project in the high-speed rail budget, earlier this year. That money, combined with other local, regional and federal funding sources provides full funding for the program.

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