Caltrain buys rail cars to ease peak time crunch

Caltrain announced Thursday plans to purchase 16 surplus Metrolink rail cars that will be used to extend trains and provide more capacity for peak time service.

The Bombardier Bi-Level Generation 2 rail cars are being purchased from Southern California Regional Rail Authority. Caltrain estimates the cars, which will require substantial rehabilitation, could be in service in a year.

The total cost of purchasing and renovating the equipment is estimated at $15 million, according to Caltrain officials. Caltrain is purchasing the cars to provide short-term capacity relief on peak-hour trains that frequently experience standing-room-only conditions.

Officials said the majority of the funding for the purchase will be covered by a farebox revenue bond. The remaining funds will be covered by reinvesting surplus farebox revenue, which has seen record returns due to increased ridership.