All Aboard: Caltrans Has New Passenger Trains

All Aboard: Caltrans Has New Passenger Trains title=
Charger locomotive leading a Siemens Mobility Venture trainset.
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By Caltrans

Rail passengers in Northern California and the Central Valley will start enjoying a more comfortable and modern ride after Caltrans accepted into its fleet the first of seven Siemens Mobility single-level intercity trainsets at the San Joaquin Regional Rail Commission facility in Stockton. 

“With train ridership recovering from the pandemic drop, these new trainsets will provide Californians with enhanced comfort and convenience as they move around the state,” said Caltrans Director Tony Tavares. 

The new trainsets will operate on the San Joaquin rail corridor between Sacramento/Oakland and Bakersfield, connecting riders to jobs, education and leisure along the way. Passengers can expect spacious and modern interiors with amenities that include enhanced onboard Wi-Fi with power and USB ports at all seats as well as enlarged windows. The passenger cars also feature wider aisles and more comfortable seats, additional leg room, larger tray tables and expanded luggage storage options, with oversized baggage and bike racks. The trains are ADA accessible, including weatherproof gangways between cars, wider aisles, retractable steps, and state-of-the-art touchless and much larger restrooms. Each coach car seats up to 70 passengers. 

Side view of the Siemens Mobility Venture Trainset passenger cars.

“These trainsets were designed with Californians in mind, both in terms of job creation here in Sacramento and next-generation passenger rail throughout the state,” said Michael Cahill, president of Siemens Mobility Rolling Stock in North America. “Together with Caltrans, we’ve created a trainset that is both safe and modern to keep passengers connected and on the move.”  

With Caltrans officially taking ownership, the department anticipates the trainsets soon will enter service. These additional trains will help restore service to pre-pandemic levels, resulting in schedule improvements throughout the state’s rail service.  

The Venture Trainsets for Caltrans were ordered from Sumitomo Corporation of Americas and are being designed and manufactured by Siemens. They are Buy America-compliant and built at the Siemens Mobility rail manufacturing facility in Sacramento. Powered by the California sun with two megawatts of solar energy and 2,400 employees, the facility has been in operation for more than 30 years. 

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Voice of Reason Oct 02, 2022 08:35 AM
All Aboard: Caltrans Has New Passenger Trains

It’s works better in Europe because the distances are much smaller. Beyond 500 miles or so airplanes become a more efficient means of moving people from city to city. We also already have the infrastructure in place and it’s more flexible as future travel patterns change.

RHS Oct 02, 2022 09:43 AM
All Aboard: Caltrans Has New Passenger Trains

VOR, it is currently working in China which is incredibly spread out and they are going to connect high speed rail from China to Eastern Europe (a new silk road) in the near future (under construction). Mostly this is meant as a more efficient and environmentally preferred way to transport goods but it will move people of course.

Voice of Reason Oct 02, 2022 01:21 PM
All Aboard: Caltrans Has New Passenger Trains

“ China's high-speed rail is competitive with both road and air transport when it comes to distances of up to 1200 kilometers” okay a little off at 725 miles vs. the approximate 500 I said. Once built trains can be greener, but you would have to ignore the C02 emissions and environmental damage created by the thousands of miles of steel track and concrete that would be required to create a functional interstate high sped rail system. We already have the airport infrastructure in place and it takes up considerably less land/resources to create. Look at the billions CA has wasted on high speed rail and gotten literally no where, those billions could have been spent in green power generation and grid sized battery storage and done a much better job at reducing co2 than our high speed rail ever would.

RHS Oct 02, 2022 06:25 PM
All Aboard: Caltrans Has New Passenger Trains

VOR. Once infrastructure is built it is much more efficient. I do not know of an airport that is not constantly undergoing rebuilding. And jet powered flights are one of the main polluters of our atmosphere and the planet in general. Remember the clean skies after 9/11? And there is every reason to believe that trains can be powered by electric engines (most are at present but they use diesel generators). It is pie in the sky (!) to think that airplanes will be electric/battery driven in our lifetimes.

Voice of Reason Oct 02, 2022 10:39 PM
All Aboard: Caltrans Has New Passenger Trains

I don’t think you appreciate the scale of construction for thousands of miles of high speed rail, the sheer volume of materials needed, the area of land it will take up and disrupt. Do a few calculations on 10,000 miles of tracks through a corridor 200’ wide, and the steel and concrete needed, gravel base, bridges, and tunnels for the tracks through active fault lines, etc.. Look how hard it’s been for CA to do the nominal amount it has at cost of tens of billions. My prior comment pointed out those tens of billions could have more effectively allocated at CO2 reduction. And with air travel already existing, and faster and distances over 500-750 miles or so, consumers won’t choose it.

Voice of Reason Oct 02, 2022 10:41 PM
All Aboard: Caltrans Has New Passenger Trains

And by the time all that high speed rail infrastructure is in place several decades from now, we’ll have electric or hydrogen airplanes negating the environmental case for the high speed rail, which is currently its sole positive attribute over 500-750 miles. We are a very large country!

a-1664785487 Oct 03, 2022 01:24 AM
All Aboard: Caltrans Has New Passenger Trains

That we’ll have electric or hydrogen airplanes within a few decades. Heck, we can't even repair concrete infrastructure within a few decades!

Voice of Reason Oct 03, 2022 07:35 AM
All Aboard: Caltrans Has New Passenger Trains

They are actively testing them now. There are working electric plane prototypes, commercialization is not for off. It’s amazing how many here would EdScold someone without even a quick google search first.

Voice of Reason Oct 03, 2022 07:36 AM
All Aboard: Caltrans Has New Passenger Trains

And @1:24 Marcelk. If we can’t repair concrete infrastructure within a few decades, how are we going to be able to build thousands of miles of high speed rail?

a-1664718225 Oct 02, 2022 06:43 AM
All Aboard: Caltrans Has New Passenger Trains

I used to live in Silicon Valley and frequently rode Caltrain, but unfortunately, Caltrain has to go begging for funds. I voted against Proposition 1A in 2008, not because I opposed high-speed rail, but because it was a boondoggle and the money would be better spent on existing transit, like Caltrain. High-speed rail costs $200 million per mile, rising and continuing to rise. Unfortunately, my concerns about high-speed rail have proven correct. If a fraction of the high-speed money had been spent on Caltrain, it would now be electrified entirely, along with upgraded & modern cars, and been greatly expanded.

edney Oct 03, 2022 12:08 AM
All Aboard: Caltrans Has New Passenger Trains

It is faster and easier to fly from SBA to Sacramento. round trip its $200 and it only takes 3 hours.
A high speed train may make sense from Sacramento to Fresno, but it won't be able to take in enough revenue to cover replacement and maintenance costs and will need perpetual subsidy.
The high speed rail in CA model (that is not subsidized by taxpayers) has always depended on participation of private equity. No one has stepped up. So we can determine from the lack of enthusiasm from private equity that every rider will be a "free rider" for at least some portion of the fare. If I have nothing better to do and have plenty time on my hands, and am opportunistically miserly, then sure I will let someone else (taxpayers) pay a portion of my fare

a-1664784687 Oct 03, 2022 01:11 AM
All Aboard: Caltrans Has New Passenger Trains

I shouldn't be so surprised, but dang!

Channelfog Oct 03, 2022 08:38 AM
All Aboard: Caltrans Has New Passenger Trains

Purchasing right of way is relatively cheap in the valley. Purchasing right of way in the big metropolitan areas is cost prohibitive not to mention NIMBY syndrome. Pipe dreams are great 'til they divert $ from projects that work. We have much transportation and energy infrastructure to deal with as is.

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