USA: On August 15 the Peninsula Corridor Joint Powers Board formally signed contracts for Balfour Beatty to electrify the 82 km Caltrain rail corridor between San Francisco and San Jose and for Stadler to supply a fleet of double-deck electric multiple-units.

Stadler is to supply 16 six-car EMUs under its $551m contract, and there is an option for a further 96 cars worth $385m. Stadler said its seventh and by far the biggest US order means its KISS family of double-deck trainsets would be used in nine different countries. The 157·1 m long units will have a maximum speed of 177 km/h, and can be extended to seven or eight cars if required. The first EMU is scheduled to be handed over for testing in August 2019 and enter service in 2020.

Stadler owner and CEO Peter Spuhler said the KISS ‘is a high-tech product, perfectly suited for Silicon Valley’. Stadler said the replacement of the ‘heavy steel construction diesel fleet’ currently used on the route with ‘state-of-the-art lightweight aluminium EMUs’ offering ‘high performance and passenger capacity’ would significantly reduce greenhouse gas and noise emissions. The EMUs would meet FRA Alternative Compliance requirements for operating in mixed traffic, with a high level of passive safety.

Stadler said the EMUs would be fully compliant with the requirements of the Buy America Act, which requires 60% of the contract’s added value to be created in the USA. Stadler is currently renting space in a manufacturing plant in Salt Lake City for final assembly of DMUs ordered by Fort Worth Transportation Authority, and it expects to create a ‘substantial number’ of further jobs depending on the order intake.

Balfour Beatty’s $697m contract is the largest it has secured in the USA. ‘Our extensive experience in managing complex rail projects leaves us well qualified to deliver this significant scheme’, said Group Chief Executive Leo Quinn. ‘Caltrain builds on the back of the recent successful delivery of our part in the multi-billion dollar Eagle P3 Commuter Rail network in Denver, Colorado. We are pleased our unique capability has been recognised with this award which contributes to our strategy to increase our design-build rail market share across the USA.’

The scope includes 25 kV 60 Hz overhead electrification and two traction substations, one switching substation and seven paralleling substations, as well as replacing the signalling and earthing of existing facilities. Work is scheduled to start this autumn for completion in spring 2020. A workforce of more than 300 will be employed at the project peak, with 50 apprentice opportunities.

‘The Caltrain Modernisation Programme represents the single most transformative project in Caltrain's 150-year history’, said Jim Hartnett, CEO of the Peninsula Corridor Joint Powers Board. ‘We sought out partners that would help us deliver a world-class product that will bring Caltrain service into the 21st century.’

Stadler orders in the USA
Date Customer Number Model Type
2002 New Jersey Transit, River Line. 20 GTW DMU
September 2005 Capital Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Austin, Texas) 6 GTW DMU
May 2009 Denton County Transportation Authority (Texas) 11 GTW DMU
April 2014 San Francisco BART 8 GTW DMU
2015 Capital Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Austin, Texas) 4 GTW DMU
June 2015 Fort Worth Transportation Authority 8 Flirt DMU
August 2016 Peninsula Corridor Joint Powers Board (Caltrain) 16 Kiss EMU