Caltrain's ongoing effort to electrify its train system will be the subject of a Town Hall meeting in Palo Alto Tuesday morning.
Santa Clara County Supervisor Liz Kniss, who serves on Caltrain's governing board, will host a discussion on the electrification project between 9:30 and 11:30 a.m. at City Hall. According to her announcement, the discussion will consider what an electrified Caltrain would look like and the potential benefits, impacts and costs of electrification.
The Peninsula Corridor Joint Powers Board, which oversees Caltrain, has been planning the electrification project for years, but has not had the funding to electrify the system. According to the agency, switching from diesel to electricity would reduce emissions by up to 90 percent, bring down the costs of operating Caltrain and reduce the noise from passing trains.
The board also is planning to install "positive train controls," a GPS-based signaling system that regulates train speeds and ensures trains remain at a safe distance from one another.
Though the project has stalled because of funding shortages, several Peninsula legislators hope the state's proposed high-speed-rail project will provide it a boost. In April, state Sen. Joe Simitian, D-Palo Alto, U.S. Rep. Anna Eshoo, D-Palo Alto, and state Assemblyman Rich Gordon, D-Menlo Park, proposed blending high-speed rail and Caltrain on the Peninsula. The plan calls for electrification of Caltrain, installation of positive train controls and new trains.