Amtrak California

Amtrak California

infobox SG rail
railroad_name=Amtrak California
logo_filename=AmtrakCalifornia Logo.pnglogo_size=225
marks=AMTK; CDTX
hq_city=Sacramento, CA
"This article is about Amtrak passenger service in California. For the USA nationwide inter-city passenger service please see Amtrak".

Amtrak California (AAR reporting marks CDTX) is a brand name used by the Caltrans Division of Rail for all state supported Amtrak rail routes within the US State of California. It also includes an extensive network of Thruway Motorcoach bus connections, operated by private companies under contract.


Prior to 1976, rail travel in California was basic and infrequent. In order to relieve traffic congestion on state highways and to expand rail service above basic level, California began to provide financial assistance to Amtrak [ About Us/History - Amtrak California] ] . At the same time, Caltrans Division of Rail was formed to oversee state financed rail operations and the brand Amtrak California started appearing on state supported routes.

In 1990, California passed Propositions 108 and 116, providing $3 billion for transportation projects, with a large portion went to rail service [Prop. 108: Passenger Rail And Clean Air Bond Act Of 1990; California Streets and Highways Code, Division 3, Chapter 17] . As a result, new locomotives and passenger cars were purchased by the state, existing inter-city routes expanded, and one new inter-city route, the "Capitol Corridor", began operation. A more distinct image for Amtrak California, such as painting locomotives and passenger cars in "California Color", was established with the arrival of new rolling stock.

Rolling stock

The motive power for the "Capitol Corridor" and "San Joaquins" routes is provided by 17 state-owned locomotives of which 15 are EMD F59PHIs numbered 2001-2015, and two are P32-8WHs numbered 2051 and 2052 [ All Aboard - Amtrak California] ] . "Pacific Surfliner" route also uses EMD F59PHIs but they are owned by Amtrak instead of the state. Occasionally, locomotives from Amtrak's national system, such as GE P42s, can be spotted working on Amtrak California routes.

State owned passenger cars, dubbed "California Cars", that are used on these three routes are a variant of Amtrak's Superliner Bi-Level passenger cars. A major difference between California Cars and Superliners is that California Cars have two sets of doors on each side instead of only one door on the Superliners, which speeds up boarding and alighting considerably. There are two different series of passenger cars, the 6000 and 8000 series, with 6000-series cars being newer. A major difference in these two series is the design of cafe cars. 8000-series cars have the cafe on the upper level, along with several seats with tables. 6000-series cars have standard coach seating on the upper level, with the cafe at the lower level.

Consists on the "San Joaquins", "Capitol Corridor", and "Pacific Surfliner" routes usually include between four and six cars, with one locomotive and a cab control car on the rear end. Occasionally, Superliner equipment (coach or diner) from Amtrak's national fleet is used on some consists for replacement or maintenance purposes. In 2007, the Amtrak California paid for the repair of two wreck-damaged standard Superliner Coaches from Amtrak in exchange for a 6-year lease, intended to quickly add capacity on busy Capitol Corridor and San Joaquin trains. These have been repainted to a new paint scheme which is similar to the colors of the original California color paint, and has the current Amtrak logo on the middle left area of the car. One of the units is AMTK 34981, a Superliner I Coach, and has been labeled "Pleasant Grove."


Amtrak California utilizes a livery and logo that is different from the standard Amtrak colors. All state owned locomotives, passenger cars and buses, with the exception of equipment used on the "Pacific Surfliner" route, are painted in the "California Colors" of blue and yellow. All state-owned equipment is named for geographical features in California.

The "Capitol Corridor" and the "San Joaquins" are the two rail routes that are most identified with the Amtrak California image since they use "California Colored" equipment most of the time. The other state supported rail route, the "Pacific Surfliner", uses a unique blue and silver paint scheme that is different from the other Amtrak California-branded trains, since the state only provides about half of its operating and equipment costs.


San Joaquins

The "San Joaquins" route runs east from Oakland on the south side of the San Joaquin Delta through communities like Richmond and Martinez. It then turns southeast for its service through the San Joaquin Valley. It makes regular stops in the valley communities of Stockton, Modesto, Turlock/Denair, Merced, Madera, Fresno, Hanford, Corcoran, Wasco, and then terminates in Bakersfield. Several trains per day vary the route by approaching Bakersfield from Sacramento with stops in Lodi, and then continuing through Stockton at the Altamont Commuter Express (ACE) Train Station, bypassing the station used by the San Joaquin trains that operate to and from Oakland.

Capitol Corridor

The "Capitol Corridor" route runs northeast from San Jose to Sacramento, with stops along the east side of the San Francisco Bay, then through Delta communities such as Martinez and Suisun City. It then continues northeast to Sacramento. One Capitol Corridor train per day continues east of Sacramento to the small Sierra Nevada town of Auburn. Plans are currently underway to extend one train per day to Reno.

Pacific Surfliner

The "Pacific Surfliner" is a major commuting route in Southern California. The entire length of the line runs from San Luis Obispo in the north down to San Diego. It hugs the California coast for most of the route, providing a stunning backdrop. Most trains on the Pacific Surfliner only make a portion of the trip in Southern California (from Los Angeles to San Diego, for example). The Pacific Surfliner was originally called the San Diegan. With 2.7 million passengers in fiscal year 2007, this is Amtrak's most heavily-travelled service outside of the Northeast Corridor. [ [ Amtrak Monthly Performance Report September 2007] ]

The Caltrain route, connecting San Francisco to San Jose, is operated under contract by Amtrak but is not part of the Amtrak California system.


External links

* [ Amtrak California]
** [ Amtrak California Car Names]
*The [ Rail Passenger Association of California] (RailPAC) is a statewide membership organization working for the expansion and improvement of rail passenger service within the states of California and Nevada.
Thruway Motorcoach

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