Urban Fold

Electrify Or Die

That's the verdict from a report released April 22 by officials of Caltrain, the nearly 150-year-old commuter line connecting San Francisco, San Jose, and Peninsula suburbs. In turn, the key to electrification is cooperation with the CA HSR Authority

Caltrain has no revenue of its own, relying almost entirely on contributions from the the three counties (San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara) it serves. However, the one bright light is that its corridor was selected by CA High Speed Rail Authority to serve San Franciso from San Jose. Yet even that project has been plagued by lawsuits from environmental groups and cities who would prefer an alternate route from the Central Valley.

"Caltrain officials on Thursday released the most-detailed projections yet of the rail line's bleak financial picture: $47 million in debt next year - with a gap that will grow by about $1.6 million a year.

With electric trains, Caltrain could expand commute-time service and collect 49 percent more money while keeping expenses roughly flat, according to a new financial forecast the agency compiled at the request of the Bay Area News Group."

Without electrification, the line could conceivably die as contributions from the three counties continue to decrease.

Thanks to Metropolitan Transportation Commission

Full Story: Caltrain data shows path to bankruptcy without electric railroad

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