Installation of catenary and contact wires through a tunnel on the approach to San Francisco.

USA: Bay Area commuter rail operator Caltrain has been allocated a further $43m in federal funding for its ongoing electrification programme.

Work on the project to install 25 kV 60 Hz overhead line equipment between San Francisco and San Jose is well advanced, and the first Stadler-built double-deck EMUs have been delivered for testing. Caltrain hopes to be able to start electric operation before the end of 2024.

However, the total cost of the project has increased from $471m in 2006 to an estimated $2·44bn, leaving a shortfall of $367m which the agency is looking to close from a variety of sources.

The federal contribution was included in the omnibus spending bill passed by the US Congress in December. It includes $10m secured by Senators Dianne Feinstein and Alex Padilla as a community project and a further $33m from the Federal Transit Administration’s Capital Investment Grant Programme for projects with existing Full Funding Grant Agreements.

Caltrain applied in December for a further grant from California’s Transit & Intercity Rail Capital Programme, which includes up to $1·3bn for capital projects; it anticipates an announcement on this by the end of January.

‘The electrification of Caltrain is one of the most important milestones in Caltrain’s nearly 160 year history’, said Executive Director Michelle Bouchard when the federal funding was announced on December 23. ‘We are one step closer, thanks to our supporters who truly know what this means in terms of addressing climate change and providing the modernised transportation service that our communities deserve.’