San Francisco to Tamien: Electrification construction work windows development

Maximizing construction time for Caltrain's design-build electrification program

Caltrain/Peninsula Corridor Joint Powers Board (PCJPB) | San Francisco, CA, USA | 2016-2017

A newly electrified rail network to expand capacity and reduce emissions

Improved trip times for commuters from San Francisco to Gilroy

Part of Caltrain's Modernization Program

Used our TrainOps® simulation software to create effective work windows


  • To electrify its largely two-track diesel commuter rail network and meet burgeoning ridership, Caltrain needed to devise a strategy to perform necessary construction activity with minimal rail service interruptions.
  • To facilitate the design-build project, Caltrain had to develop work windows – blocks of time for geographically-limited zones of construction activity
  • Contractors needed to work unimpeded during either the closure of two mainline tracks (during overnight hours) or one mainline track (with trains using the operational track in both directions, at reduced speed)


  • Leveraged a combination of cumulative train scheduling expertise and the proprietary simulation software, TrainOps®, to explore and maximize construction work window possibilities
  • Collaborated closely with Caltrain to develop design-build electrification documents and enable daily, flexible contractor schedules that supported single-track operations as needed
  • Defined required contractor mobilization and demobilization times, including necessary track and structure inspection times after each contractor track possession
  • Identified scheduling trade-offs, where contractor work windows could be expanded with minor limitations on early morning or late night Caltrain service


  • Our effective operating plan supported daily, flexible contractor work locations that minimally impacted rail service and expanded corridor access for contractors to weekday and weekend operations
  • Minimized service interruptions for commuters and drove significantly lowered project implementation costs by generating more effective construction times for the design-build contractor
  • Managed scheduled track outages to maximize contractor efficiency while minimizing interruptions to commuter rail service

Project numbers

$65,000: cost of work windows development project
$2.3 billion: cost of 51 miles of electrification
619,000: number of daily vehicle miles diverted from the region’s roadways by 2040
65,095: number of daily Caltrain riders (2018, pre-COVID) potentially affected by electrification construction

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