San Francisco Tomorrow Comments

October 4, 2000

Howard Goode, Chief Development Officer
Peninsula Corridor Joint Powers Board
1250 San Carlos Avenue
P.O. Box 3006
San Carlos, CA 94070-1306

Subject: Comments on Assessment of Electrically Powered Rolling Stock

Dear Mr. Goode.

Here are San Francisco Tomorrow's comments on subject document.

There is an alarming discrepancy between the Design Requirements, Appendix 1, and the requirements of the environment in which Caltrain will have to operate. Appendix 1 states that the minimum radius curve is 14 degrees, which is 410 feet radius. Mr. John Eddy of Ove Arup, the engineering consultant for the rebuilding of Transbay Terminal, has stated to San Francisco Tomorrow that the Caltrain entrance to the terminal will be on a curve of 300 feet radius, which is19.3 degrees. It is being designed in this way so that the Caltrain entrance to the terminal will fit in the footprint of the existing ramps. Doing this will place the Caltrain tracks entirely under publicly owned property. A wider radius curve will require the taking of private property and could make the Caltrain Downtown Extension prohibitively expensive. We note that Appendix 5 states that the new high horsepower locomotives being built for Amtrak and Marc are designed for a minimum radius curve of 250 feet, which is 23 degrees. It is possible Caltrain will have to operate around curves of that small a radius. Appendix 1 must be revised to specify 250 feet radius, the same as the locomotives in Appendix 5.

We are disturbed by the many references to the E-60 locomotives. As stated in subject report, the E-60 is an old model and Amtrak has limited its speed to 70 miles per hour because of its operating problems. The report states that there are several stored in Texas that would be available at a low price. However at present they are not suited for passenger service and would have to be modified to be usable by Caltrain -- and would still be limited to 70 miles per hour. The fact that they may be available cheap is not justification for buying an unsuitable product. There should be no further consideration of this locomotive.

The design data given for existing electric multiple unit cars (EMU's) was mostly for dc cars. Caltrain will be electrified at 25kV ac. Design data must be included for the 25 kV ac EMU's operated by New Jersey Transit (NJT) and the 12 kV ac EMU's operated by SEPTA and NJT.

The use of European equipment is dismissed with the statement that it does not comply with FRA standards. European manufacturers are willing and able to modify their equipment as required so that it will comply with FRA standards. For example, the highly successful AEM-7 locomotives are a Swedish design that was modified to meet FRA requirements. European manufacturers should be consulted to determine what they are capable of in this regard and the report revised accordingly.

In Section 6 three scenarios are described. SFT suggests another scenario that should be studied. That is to initiate electric operation with locomotives and the existing cars, but use EMU's for future service additions in order to gain the advantage of their greater flexibility. The scenario using E-60 locomotives should be deleted.

Very truly yours
Norman Rolfe, Transportation Chair

cc: JPB Board members
Michael Scanlon
Michael Lewis