Transit Records: Caltrain, CapMetro, MBTA, SkyTrain, VTA

Written by

Marybeth Luczak, Editor-in-Chief

The first Caltrain EMU was tested along part of the 51-mile Commuter Rail Corridor on July 16-17. (Photograph courtesy of Caltrain via Twitter)

Caltrain’s first new KISS EMU (Electric Multiple Unit) built by Stadler has undergone licensing testing in Northern California. Additionally, CapMetro in Austin, TX hosted a groundbreaking ceremony for McKalla Station, which will be built on the Metro Red Line as part of Project Connect; The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) has awarded a construction contract for the Codman Yard expansion and improvement project; the Province of British Columbia is advancing the Surrey Langley SkyTrain project; and the Santa Clara Valley (California) Transportation Authority (VTA) will launch neighborhood donation recycling stations at four stations this summer.

Caltrain reported July 18 that the first EMU was tested July 16-17 between Santa Clara and Tamien (San Jose) stations along its 51-mile commuter rail corridor (see map below) .

The train was fitted with foam rubber padding to simulate the maximum clearance zone when traveling at 5 mph, pulled by a diesel locomotive. “No major problems occurred during the tests, and further clearance tests will be carried out in the rest of the corridor in the near future,” the agency said.

The next test is expected to take place later this year, when the train will operate under its own power via the overhead catenary system (OCS).

In March, the first two seven-car bi-level EMUs left the manufacturer’s factory in Salt Lake City, Utah, for California.

The EMUs will replace Caltrain’s existing diesel fleet. Caltrain awarded Stadler a $551 million contract in August 2016 for 16 six-car KISS bi-level EMUs, with an option for an additional 96 cars worth an additional $385 million.

The Caltrain Electrification Project upgrades and electrifies the 51-mile dual-track system between 4th and King Station in San Francisco to Tamien Station in San Jose.

(Photograph courtesy of CapMetro via Twitter)

On July 18, the Capital Metropolitan Transportation Authority (CapMetro) broke ground on McKalla Station, a new regional rail transit station being built as part of the Bus and Rail Transit Improvement Initiative. of $7.1 billion Project Connect. The station will be located on the east side of Q2 Stadium off Delta Drive on the MetroRail Red Line between Braker Lane and Rutland Drive. It is scheduled to open in autumn 2023. Broadmoor/Domain station will also be built along the Red Line, which will replace the existing Kramer station (see map below).

In November 2020, Austin voters overwhelmingly approved Project Connect, funded by a sales tax increase of 0.875 cents (7/8 of 1%). Also included in the initiative: $300 million for transit-oriented development and anti-displacement measures.

On the rail side, Project Connect includes three new light rail lines (21 miles Orange, 15 miles Blue and 9.5 miles Gold); two additional commuter rail stations along the MetroRail Red Line, which runs from downtown Austin to Leander; a new 27-mile MetroRail Green Line, which would connect neighborhoods east of central Austin to downtown; and a new downtown light rail tunnel.

On July 19, MBTA’s Board of Directors awarded an $85.98 million construction contract to Barletta Heavy Division Inc. for the Codman Yard expansion and improvement project, Commonwealth Magazine reported.

Currently, there are 16 storage tracks at Codman Yard which can hold approximately 70 vehicles. The expansion and upgrades will help crews move Red Line trains more easily through the yard and allow for additional vehicle storage. The project will include six new storage tracks, which will allow Codman to hold more than 100 cars; an improved crossing lane to improve traffic flow; improved LED lighting for better light distribution throughout the yard and reduced light spillage into the adjacent residential area; and improved lane and signaling components in the yard and crossing approaching the yard, according to MBTA.

Last month, the agency’s Red Line Transformation team conducted a guided tour of Codman Yard for builders to view the site and submit bids. Barletta is now expected to begin construction this fall and complete work by fall 2025.

HNTB was awarded the design contract for the project in May 2020 and work was completed in May 2022. (https://www.mbta.com/projects/codman-yard-expansion-and-improvements/update/codman-yard -project-design-phase-100)

“As this project progresses, our team will be able to deliver much-needed improvements to the redline as quickly as possible,” said Angel Peña, MBTA’s Chief Capital Transformation Officer. “The improvements to Codman Yard will benefit all users of the Red Line. While construction may be disruptive, our team is committed to implementing mitigation strategies and is always looking for ways to accelerate the schedule and complete these improvements sooner.

(Rendered courtesy of TransLink)

On July 14, the Province of British Columbia released the business case for the Surrey Langley SkyTrain project, which it says is the first rapid transit project south of the Fraser River in 30 years. The project will extend the Expo Line by 10 miles (16 kilometers), primarily along the Fraser Highway, from the King George SkyTrain station in Surrey to Langley City in Metro Vancouver. The extension will include eight new stations and three bus interchanges. When completed in late 2028, travel time from downtown Langley to the King George SkyTrain station will be approximately 22 minutes, depending on the province.

The estimated business case for the total cost of the Surrey Langley SkyTrain project is C$4.01 billion, which includes C$3.94 billion in capital costs, C$11 million for planning and 60 millions of Canadian dollars in investments in active transportation along or near the Fraser Highway. Funding for the project will come from the Province of British Columbia: (2.476 billion Canadian dollars), the Canadian government (1.306 billion Canadian dollars) and local government (228 million Canadian dollars)

The Surrey Langley SkyTrain project will be delivered through three separate subcontracts: one for the SkyTrain guideway (substructure and superstructure), with a request for qualifications expected in August; one for station construction, with contractual procurement expected to begin this fall; and one for electrical systems, including SkyTrain integration and track, with contractual supply to begin as early as December. Major construction is expected to begin in 2024.

“With the release of the business plan and confirmation of provincial funding, we are now one step closer to bringing the SkyTrain to Langley,” said Rob Fleming, Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure. “Our business plan confirms that this major project will be completed two years ahead of schedule, helping to transform the way people live, work and play south of the Fraser.

“By investing in the Surrey Langley Skytrain and working with local governments and TransLink, we are helping to create vibrant communities connecting people to affordable housing, jobs and the services they need,” said George Heyman, Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy, and responsible for TransLink. “This project means less climate pollution, cleaner air, more sustainable and affordable travel options, and better planned and healthier communities.”

(Photograph courtesy of Santa Clara VTA)

Santa Clara VTA has partnered with the Green Education Foundation, a non-profit organization based in Milpitas, Calif., to include Neighborhood Donation Recycling Stations (NDRS) at its stations in Milpitas, Almaden, Santa Teresa and Snell, as well as two other locations in Santa Clara.

Recycling stations will be strategically placed, VTA said, making it easy for cyclists and residents to donate items they no longer use, such as shoes, clothes, bags, toys and sheets. Reusable water bottles and umbrellas can also be donated.

By diverting usable items from landfills, recycling stations will help conserve materials and prevent pollution, according to VTA, which noted that recycling in this way will also help reduce greenhouse gas emissions, as it takes less energy to recycle materials than to produce new materials.

The Green Education Foundation diverts more than 50 million pounds of materials from landfills each year through partnerships with agencies such as VTA, cities and other organizations.

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