The California High-Speed Rail Authority (CHSRA) in the US has approved a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Peninsula Corridor Joint Powers Board (JPB) to improve the rail corridor between San Francisco and San Jose in California, US.
Work under the project will involve upgrading the tracks, adding safety features and preparing the route to run future high-speed rail services.
The MoU also outlines a $750m modernisation plan to upgrade Caltrain’s existing rail lines, electrify the rail corridor, install an advanced signalling system and acquire new electrified rail vehicles.
The modernisation programme is expected to cut Caltrain’s operating costs by half and reduce the rail system’s greenhouse gas emissions by more than 90%.
California High-Speed Rail Authority board member Jim Hartnett said that the MoU will help to combine high-speed rail with regional and state-wide rail system.
"High-speed rail is designed to bring the regions of California together while providing all important benefits at the local level," Hartnett said.
"The partnership between Caltrain and high-speed rail will improve rail traffic for one of the most important economic and innovative regions in our country."
CHSRA CEO Jeff Morales said: "The blended system will allow existing rail systems to benefit from and eventually merge with the high-speed rail programme, while also benefitting Bay Area commuters and all Californians in the near future."
Caltrain provides rail service from San Francisco to San Jose and further passenger services to Gilroy, transporting over 50,000 riders per week.
The total cost of electrifying and modernising the entire Caltrain system is $1.45bn, with the project expected to be completed by 2019.
An investment of $705m has been allocated to the project from Proposition 1A funds, which is being matched by a combination of federal, regional and local funding sources.