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Caltrain buys rail cars to ease peak time crunch

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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.

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