Who we are
Californians for Electric Rail is a volunteer organization with members around the state, dedicated to connecting transit advocates and railfans with environmentalists, unions, good government advocates, and other supporters of environmentally-friendly, union-made, cost-effective rail.
We are committed to removing barriers to electrification via overhead catenary of California's railways through state legislative advocacy and engagement in decision-making within local transit agencies and regulatory boards.
Contact Us to join the coalition or get involved as a volunteer!
The Three Pillars of Catenary
We have identified three main barriers to catenary electrification:
- Environmental review. In California, rail electrification projects like Caltrain have been delayed in part due to CEQA claims related to aesthetics and visual impacts. Most importantly, many rail electrification projects have not moved past the initial planning stage due to perceived risk of delay, litigation and costs associated with environmental review. Electric trains are an environmental boon and our process must reflect this.
- Rail Project Development and Delivery Capacity. Local passenger rail operators and public owners of rail right-of-way (ROW) typically lack the budget overhead to carry in-house project delivery expertise, including planning, project development, design/engineering, program management and contract management. This lack of public capacity often results in either 1) outsourced, expensive and suboptimal work performed by consultants; 2) no project moving forward.
- Dedicated Funding. An effort to seriously scale rail electrification requires a program of dedicated funding. A dedicated “rolling electrification program” would allow clear and dependable project planning and development for large-scale transformations of passenger and freight rail. Rail electrification must be treated like the transformative climate solution that is is, and be funded accordingly.
Electric rail is a crucial climate solution, and it's time the State of California treats it that way.