California commuter rail line Caltrain has commenced work on an enhanced signal system to improve the performance and safety of the rail system under the Caltrain Modernization Program.
The Caltrain Modernization Program will support the electrification of the rail system and prepare for high-speed rail operations in the future.
The Communications Based Overlay Signal System (CBOSS) Positive Train Control (PTC) project will provide the corridor with the mandatory safety technology and improve system capacity to address future increases in services and ridership demand.
The first stage of the project includes the installation of a fibre optic backbone along the Caltrain right-of-way, enabling seamless communication for signals, trains, dispatchers and other components of railroad operations.
Once completed, the system will monitor and control train movement in the event of human error, improving safety on the Caltrain corridor, which has over 40 at-grade vehicular and pedestrian crossings.
CBOSS PTC eliminates the risk of train-to-train collisions, reduces the risk of potential derailments by enforcing speed limits and offers additional safety for railroad workers on the tracks.
The new signal system is also intended to help provide reliable passenger services and operating performance.
The system reduces the distance required between trains to ensure safety, matching safe braking practices to specific train types.
The integration of CBOSS PTC with the operation of high-performance electric multiple units (EMUs), which is expected to happen when Caltrain is electrified, will allow the system to provide faster and more frequent services to additional stations and travellers.
Caltrain, owned and operated by the Peninsula Corridor Joint Powers Board, provides commuter rail service from San Francisco to San Jose, with a limited commuter service to Gilroy.
Image: The new signal system will provide the Caltrain corridor with federally-mandated PTC technology. Photo courtesy of EugeneZelenko.