Caltrain: transforming regional rail

Fast, frequent, world-class

Silicon Valley’s commuter-rail service, Caltrain, is undergoing improvements that will make it the first true regional rail line in the U.S.

This exciting project will create a transformative travel experience, with cruising speeds of 110 mph and departures every 15 minutes throughout the day.

California’s high-speed rail initiative has been essential to Caltrain improvements.

Caltrain’s innovations are also planned for the Los Angeles Metrolink commuter service and should be replicated in cities throughout the country.

The Project

Modern trains

Electric powered with 110-mph top speeds

Electrified tracks

Along the entire 50-mile route from San Francisco to San Jose

Bridges and tunnels

Grade separations to improve speed and safety

The Experience

Frequent departures – all day long

Fast, frequent service is the foundation for any transit system’s success. More options and excellent service draw more riders. Riders increase revenues. Revenues drive more investments. Investments generate better service. It’s a virtuous cycle.

Fast and smooth

Electrified tracks will allow for an increase in top speeds—from the current 79 to 110 mph. And the system’s new, electrified trains will stop and start faster than old, diesel equipment.

Convenient connections to high-speed rail

The best way to achieve world-class transit is by supporting high-speed rail, which always drives investments in transit. Caltrain and HSR trains will share the same tracks. They’re being planned together. They share a funding stream. They’re inseparable in every way.

The Impact


California’s new trains will run on renewable energy, and they’ll have the carrying capacity of 12 highway lines—but they take up the space of just two.


Ridership on Caltrain has tripled since 2004. It’s expected to double again as the result of a long-range service vision that includes electrification, an extension into downtown San Francisco, grade separations, and a new station complex in San Jose.

High-speed rail was key to Caltrain funding

A variety of agencies are funding the $1.9 billion project, including the Federal Transit Administration and many local and regional governments and agencies.

But California’s high-speed rail program was the cornerstone, funding more than one third of the Caltrain modernization project.

A national example for regional rail

Caltrain sets the precedent for how to build and run a successful railroad. It requires a big-picture vision and a long-term commitment.

Today’s modernization project is the result of California’s decision to make big investments in rail starting in the early 1990s.

While some cities try to save their transit systems by cutting service, Caltrain is doubling down on fast trains and frequent service – even in the face of the pandemic – demonstrating what world-class regional rail can be.

In November 2020, voters voiced their approval by granting Caltrain its first dedicated funding source, $108 million per year until 2050.

Related Content

California High Speed Rail rendering Central Valley

California State Page

California is at the forefront of high-speed and regional rail

A section of high-speed line under construction in the Central Valley.

California is Building High-Speed Rail

A new high-speed line linking Los Angeles to San Francisco will be a game-changer for the most aggressive state rail program in the country.

A new Caltrain EMu is parked at San Jose Ca station for public tours.

Caltrain: Transforming Regional Rail

Caltrain, the Silicon Valley’s railroad, is being modernized to be the first true regional rail line in the U.S.

Ca State Rail Plan Final Map 2018

California Integrated Plan

The visionary California rail plan will produce a stunning increase in ridership and revenue.

A dude is using an IPad on a station platform wth a high-speed train in the background.

Take Action

The country needs an Interstate Railway Program, like the Interstate Highway Program, to take full advantage of the community, economic, and environmental benefits of trains.

Please join with us in asking Congress to create a national railway program to re-connect America with fast, frequent, and affordable trains.

Sign the Petition