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December 08, 2021


Chocolate, chocolate chip!

Your government tax dollars at work. Expect more cost over runs now that the Biden’s infrastructure bill boondoggle is law.
It’s all free, too!😏

Jennifer Pfaff

At least there are wires are finally strung on the poles, now. I was starting to wonder if we were just going to have the pole part!

Paloma Ave

Nothing like investing hundreds of millions and/or billions of dollars in 1830's technology!

Christopher Cooke

When has a public works project ever come in on time and under budget?

Peter Garrison

And HSR keeps chugging along…

“With no end in sight to the pandemic-induced downturn in public transportation ridership, many Bay Area transit agencies are warily eyeing their operating budgets, which have been kept afloat by billions in federal relief money during the public health crisis.

Riders are not returning in force and without their ticketing revenue, transit operators are burning through federal funds with hundreds of millions in budget shortfalls on the horizon. That means transit agencies are looking for new cash and voters may be asked to foot the bill in the coming years if they want to avoid service cuts.

“Everybody is asking how long the runway might be for the federal money provided and nobody knows the answer to that,” said Seamus Murphy, the executive director of Water Emergency Transportation Authority, which runs the San Francisco Bay Ferry. “Our fiscal cliff is imminent. … It’s all dependent on how ridership returns.”

Nearly two years after public health lockdowns collapsed public transportation ridership overnight, transit operators around the country are acknowledging that many riders will not be back for the foreseeable future. Remote work has become a permanent lifestyle for much of the workforce and rising COVID-19 case numbers and the omicron variant continue to push away would-be passengers from public transportation.”

Mercury News 12/20/2021

Peter Garrison

Even better: Headline for DJ notes “…Burlingame slated for thousands of new homes” to be built as a “transit oriented community…”


Geez. I thought the "billions and billions" from High-cost rail would cover the short little hop from SJ to SF.....guess I was wrong

California’s two U.S. senators are calling for legislative funding to complete Caltrain’s electrification service project, which recently completed a key construction milestone to ensure an electric train system runs from San Francisco to San Jose.

California Sens. Dianne Feinstein and Alex Padilla Friday sent a letter to the Department of Transportation asking for federal funding to finish the Caltrain Peninsula Corridor Electrification Project. The pair called for dedicated funding from the recently passed $550 billion Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to help Caltrain address a $410 million shortfall due to cost increases.



The "gantry" approaches. From the city e-newsletter today:


Caltrain is beginning construction of the first main gantry structure at the Paralleling Station facility currently under construction in Burlingame. Gantries are H-frame steel structures that support wires perpendicular to the tracks. These wires connect to the overhead contact system and provide power to the trains. The main gantry will be housed within the footprint of the facility near the transformers. The other gantry will be located on the opposite side of the tracks from the facility. A sample photo of a main gantry is located on the reverse side.
The Paralleling Station is an unmanned facility that will regulate electrical power to the electric trains. In addition to the gantries, the Paralleling Station will consist of:
• One transformer- The transformer will take in and convert power to ensure it is consistently sent out throughout the system.
• Control House - Located within the facility footprint, housing the controls for the system.

In addition to delivery of and installation of gantries via a crane, construction activities during this time will include excavation, laying of a concrete pad, control house construction, transformer delivery. Crews will utilize excavation equipment, and dump trucks for removal and delivery of materials.

A majority of the work will take place during the weekday between 6 a.m. and 3 p.m. There may be night and weekend work required when work is being completed within the railroad track envelope.


The DJ article about this weekend's closure from Hillsdale to Palo Alto also gave a progress report:

Caltrain is suspending its service between Hillsdale and Palo Alto stations on the weekends of July 15-16 and 22-23 to accommodate Caltrain electrification construction and testing. Construction crews will continue to erect poles and hang wires for the overhead catenary system.

These will be the 15th and 16th of approximately 30 weekends in 2023 in which service will be adjusted to accommodate construction and testing for electrified service, which is expected to launch passenger service in fall 2024. Thus far, construction crews have installed 59 poles this year along with over 431,000 feet of wire.


4,200 people toured the demonstration e-train car down in San Jose:

Nevertheless, the arrival of rider-ready electric trains in fall 2024 is generating excitement among Caltrain riders eager to board the sleek, quieter and cleaner trains. Last weekend, roughly 4,200 people queued up in the parking lot at San Jose’s Diridon Station to tour new trains parked on a siding.

Once the trains and power system are deemed to be in proper working condition, he said, each train set needs to be run for at least 1,000 miles before it can carry passengers.

Electrifying Caltrain will cost an estimated $2.4 billion, with funds coming from state, federal and local sources.

So far, about 90% of the overhead wire — more than 400,000 feet — has been hung during shutdowns and 59 poles erected. The longest uninterrupted stretch completed is between Palo Alto and San Jose.

Electrifying Caltrain will cost an estimated $2.4 billion, with funds coming from state, federal and local sources.

So far, about 90% of the overhead wire — more than 400,000 feet — has been hung during shutdowns and 59 poles erected. The longest uninterrupted stretch completed is between Palo Alto and San Jose.


Here's an e-update:

The successful completion of several live runs, short circuit testing and the arrival of new train sets are keeping the Caltrain electrification project on pace, but unanticipated challenges, including increased instances of theft and vandalism, raise concerns about potential cost implications.

Passengers can start expecting the new electrified service in September, which will include at least 20% more stops at each station. The Caltrain electrification project broke ground around 2017, and it marks the first time in at least three decades a diesel railway has converted to an electrified system in the country.



The rumor about major theft of copper wire on the electrified Caltrain line appears to be true per yesterday's DJ article. Way at the bottom we read:

The seven-year effort hasn’t seen ballooning budgetary needs as of late, and it’s also reported few injuries. But it’s most recently struggled to curb incidents of tampering with or stealing impedance bond cables, which ensure the higher voltage and lower voltage currents do not interfere with one another. The cables, which have cost in total $2.5 million, have continued posing risks throughout the project, both from a financial standpoint and from a safety perspective. There have been over 100 incidents of vandalism and thefts since the start of construction, the majority of which involve the cables.
That is a little unclear, but I'm going to say the $2.5 million is for replacing stolen cable--it's too low for the initial cost. This is likely to be an on-going problem---just like stolen catalytic converters. It's easy to imagine days and days of no service whenever the scrappers do their thing.

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