VIDEO: State, local leaders celebrate groundbreaking of long-awaited Caltrain electrification project

 

MILLBRAE (KRON) — California and local leaders celebrated the groundbreaking of the long-awaited Caltrain electrification project on Friday in Millbrae.

Caltrain says the project is expected to provide substantial economic and environmental improvements to the popular train line. Electrifying the Caltrain system from San Francisco to San Jose, since 1999, has been a lofty goal for the train service.

Now, with shovels now in the ground, that is becoming a reality.

“It’s about the future, it’s about clean air, it’s about efficiency, speed, and it’s about not sitting in the freeway for a couple of hours, bumper to bumper,” Gov. Jerry Brown said.

Earlier this year, the Federal Transit Administration approved a $647 million grant for the project.

Those are funds that Caltrain says are being matched by other regional and state partners to green-light the system improvements.

“Converting Caltrain service from diesel equipment to high-performance electric trains will transform the way we travel,” Assemblyman Kevin Mullin (D-South San Francisco) said.

Caltrain says by electrifying the system, the 96 new electric train cars it plans to purchase will be electrically self-propelled and not pulled or pushed by a locomotive.

Caltrain says that will result in faster trains, reduced engine noise, and increased ridership capacity.

“This is a moment of history,” Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-Atherton) said.

“The sound will be no more,” State senator Jerry Hill (D-San Mateo) said. “The smoke coming from the diesel engines will be no more.”

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi also attended.

“It’s about economic vitality. It’s about jobs, jobs, jobs–creation to build and to get people to and from work,” Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco) said. “Sustainability, in terms of clean air, taking cars off the road.”

In August, Caltrain says it will begin constructing the new infrastructure.

“This is all about the future,” Rep. Jackie Speier (D-San Mateo County) said.

Right now, if all goes as planned, Caltrain says the electrification project should be completed by early 2021.

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