Rail Systems Flip the Switch on Electrification

This article relates that a number of rail systems are switching from diesel to electric power, which is described as more beneficial in a number of ways, including: reduced greenhouse gas emissions, faster acceleration and top speeds, better braking and easier to maintain engines. The primary drawback is its cost, due to the type of infrastructure required. The author selects several transit agencies that are making the switch, however, and focuses on Caltrain, a commuter rail which runs on one line of track between San Francisco and Gilroy, and is currently powered by diesel fuel. The switch to electricity will include electrifying 52 miles of track between San Francisco and San Jose, installing two traction-power substations, eight auto-transformer stations, and an overhead contact system. Though costly, Caltrain expects to reduce air pollutant emissions by nearly 90 percent. The author also describes how Sacramento Regional Transit District’s 38-mile light rail system, an electric system built in the 1980s, is getting an upgrade to solve its line voltage problems.


  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: Print
  • Features: Illustrations; Photos;
  • Pagination: pp 52-54
  • Serial:

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01141324
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Source Agency: UC Berkeley Transportation Library
  • Files: BTRIS, TRIS
  • Created Date: Sep 14 2009 7:22PM