Caltrain electrification project reaches substantial completion

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California Construction News staff writer

Balfour Beatty has achieved substantial completion on the Caltrain Electrification project, transitioning diesel trains and infrastructure  to an electrified system. The milestone signifies the successful turnover of the electrified, 51-mile corridor between San Francisco and San Jose.

To reach the milestone, construction continued day and night which included locating underground utilities, testing soil conditions, inspecting signal and communication equipment and pruning and removing trees.

The project team also installed foundations and 2,569 pre-engineered poles and strung 2,645,050 feet of wire to support the Overhead Contact System (OCS) which powers the fleet of new, high-performing electric trains.

Also, 10 traction power facilities – electric power stations used to provide, distribute and regulate electricity to the OCS and electric trains – were installed between the San Francisco and San Jose corridor.

“Reaching substantial completion is a tremendous feat,” said Mark Konchar, Balfour Beatty US Civils president. “On a project of this magnitude, ongoing collaboration and an all-hands-on-deck approach was vital, and I commend our team of global experts, various industry partners and local stakeholders for their partnership in delivering the future of public transportation in the U.S.

Substantial completion follows the success of Balfour Beatty, Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) and Caltrain’s efforts in energizing the full corridor through the OCS and traction power facilities and testing the electric trains up to 79 mph.

“Another milestone achieved means we are a step closer in providing Caltrain with the resources to safely maintain and operate their new infrastructure for their customers every day,” said Caltrain Executive Director Michelle Bouchard. “I thank our partners at Balfour Beatty for helping us to deliver a transformative change that will benefit Bay Area residents for decades to come.”

Post-substantial completion, Balfour Beatty will continue to work with its industry partners and Caltrain to conduct operations and maintenance training, pre-revenue service testing and complete punch list items along the corridor.

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