Caltrain, the major passenger rail service in California, US, said it’s completed “another milestone” in testing its EMU trainsets. 

The Stadler units began testing in January, but the most recent trials have also examined the catenary lines between Redwood City and Mountain View with runs of between 20 and 79mph. 25 of these test runs were completed during the weekend test period. 

The company said the successful tests mean the trains and newly electrified lines can progress towards certification, and the Caltrain electrification project remains on target to launch in Q4 2024. 

“Another test completed marks another step towards a reliable, fast and frequent service for our riders,” said Caltrain executive director Michelle Bouchard.

“I cannot wait for everyone to get to experience the modernized, zero-emission fleet of Caltrain’s future for themselves this fall,” she added. 

The project claims to be the first electrification of a diesel rail line “in North America in a generation”. Caltrain said the new units and line infrastructure will allow many more passenger services to run, including double the current service on weekends. 

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A major goal of the project is to improve Caltrain’s environmental impact by reducing exhaust pollution. The operator has also lauded the Stadler units for decreased noise pollution. 

But that benefit is a double-edged sword in some ways, according to Caltrain management which has warned California residents to take extra care when crossing lines running EMUs. 

“Electric trains are quieter than Caltrain’s current diesel fleet, so the public is advised to pay close attention when crossing the tracks and to always wait for the gate to fully rise before crossing,” the company’s statement said.