California choo-choo-chooses Balfour Beatty to electrify a major rail link

Emma Haslett
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Do you know the way to San Jose? Balfour Beatty's heading to California (Source: Getty)

Balfour Beatty has been awarded a $697m (£540m) contract to electrify the 52-mile Caltrain rail link between San Francisco and San Jose - the largest US contract it's ever won.

Shares in Balfour were up 0.5 per cent, at 242.3p, after the construction giant said it will begin work on the line, which operates across 17 cities including San Francisco, San Mateo and Santa Clara counties, this autumn. Completion is due in 2020.

The line runs 92 trains each day, serving more than 65,000 commuters. Balfour reckons it can make the changes with "minimal disruption".

"Our extensive experience in managing complex rail projects leaves us well qualified to deliver this significant scheme," said Leo Quinn, Balfour Beatty's group chief executive.

"Caltrain builds on the back of the recent successful delivery of our part in the multi-billion dollar Eagle P3 Commuter Rail network in Denver, Colorado.

"We are pleased our unique capability has been recognised with this award which contributes to our strategy to increase our design-build rail market share across the US."

The news comes just over a month after the company won a £170m contract to upgrade Heathrow Airport's baggage screening systems.

Earlier this year, it was named one of 13 developers helping Transport for London build out its property empire.

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