SAN JOSE (KCBS) — The first phase of a major project to modernize Caltrain is underway in San Jose. Crews at the Tamien Station are installing a fiber optic line that will prepare the rail system to go all-electric before the end of the decade.

The backbone will provide better communication also known as positive train control to prevent human error.

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“That will make Caltrain certainly much safer, more efficient, but also prepares us for electrification in 2019. If high speed rail makes it down the corridor it will also prepare us for that,” said Santa Clara County Supervisor Ken Yeager, who is also the chair of the Caltrain Board of Directors.

He added the electrification will make the trains run faster and cleaner.

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“If it makes it faster and safer, of course,” said Caltrain rider Beau Hastings, who is in favor of the changes, “If it gets rid of the diesel part of it, sure, why not?”

The laying of the fiber optic cable is expected to take up to a year. Electrification won’t be completed before the end of the decade.

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