New train cars to increase capacity on Capitol Corridor, San Joaquins and Pacific Surfliner routes


SACRAMENTO — Commuters heading into the Bay Area on the San Joaquins or Capitol Corridor routes can look forward to a little more breathing room; Caltrans announced last week a $371 million contract for new train cars.

The highway agency funds Amtrak’s two commuter lines that bisect the Bay Area, plus the Pacific Surfliner, which rolls along the California coast. Caltrans said it will receive 49 new cars to use in California, adding to the 174 train cars they currently use, some of which are leased from Amtrak.

“(We’re) ready for these new railcars to provide additional seating capacity for our busy trains and support planned improvements to passenger service,” Caltrans Director Malcolm Dougherty said in a statement.

The cars will add some extra capacity, said Caltrans spokeswoman Vanessa Wiseman, but they will also allow Caltrans to retire aging train cars and reduce the number of cars it leases from Amtrak.

Production of the cars will take place in Sacramento, beginning next summer. And, the first set of cars will hit the rails in mid-2020, Wiseman said. All of the new cars are expected to be in service by May 2023. They’ll come equipped with WiFi, power outlets, bike racks, overhead luggage storage, work tables and large windows, Caltrans officials said.

They are 100 percent “American made,” according to Caltrans, and each car will be built at the Siemans rail manufacturing plant in Sacramento.

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Source:: The Mercury News

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