TWO major investment schemes to boost San Francisco’s CalTrain commuter operation were approved by the Peninsula Corridor Joint Powers Board on January 6. The board unanimously approved the revival of plans for a 2·4 km extension from the 4th & Townsend terminus into central San Francisco, near the Transbay Terminal and Market Street. This $656m project was blocked two years ago by Mayor Willie Brown, who has now reversed his decision.

The board is also pushing ahead with a $376m plan to electrify the 128 km line to Gilroy, south of San Jose, which includes $120m for new locos. Preliminary engineering and a draft environmental impact report costing $3·3m are to be completed this year. If the funding can be agreed, the wires could be up by 2006, cutting 15 min off the San Jose - San Francisco journey time.

H BART has awarded a $6·8m contract to Harmon Industries for the first part of the $33m third phase of its Advanced Automatic Train Control project, which will see transmission-based signalling installed between Bay Fair, Oakland and Daly City by 2002. n