Caltrain hires new interim chief to lead electrification project

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - FEBRUARY 13: A commuter CalTrain prepares to leave the Fourth street station near China Basin on February 13, 2014, in San Francisco, California. San Francisco continues to be a major global tourist destination and has experienced

Caltrain officials said on Friday that as the project to electrify its entire transit system continues to get underway, a new leader will take over the project.

Caltrain Modernization Chief Officer John Funghi is set to exit his role on October 15 and Caltrain has appointed Pranaya Shrestha to replace him as interim chief.

Shrestha comes to the agency with 30 years of rail experience, including experience working for the Federal Transit Administration and working on transit projects in major cities like Washington DC, Denver, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Portland, Orlando and Seattle, Caltrain officials said.

"Pranaya has successfully delivered projects and worked with all the major contractors that are working on the electrification project," Caltrain Acting Executive Director Michelle Bouchard said in a statement. "With his many years of experience, we believe he is the right person to lead the Electrification project."

The agency is set to convert to all electric trains by 2024. So far, most of the work that remains is related to the signal and systems integration work, Caltrain officials said.

Testing of the new electric system is set to start before the year's end, according to Caltrain.