Capitol Corridor

From TrainSpottingWorld, for Rail fans everywhere
Amtrak California system map, with Capitol Corridor in Red

The Capitol Corridor is a 172-mile (275 km) passenger train route operated by Amtrak in California. Because it is fully supported by the state, the Capitol Corridor operates under Amtrak California. It runs daily from the San Francisco Bay Area to Sacramento, roughly parallel to Interstate 80. One daily-scheduled train continues through the eastern Sacramento suburbs to Auburn, in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada. There are plans to extend one daily-scheduled train to Reno, Nevada, and to increase train frequency throughout the route. The trains are administered by the Capitol Corridor Joint Powers Authority, with management provided by employees of Bay Area Rapid Transit. The Capitol Corridor has been in operation since 1991.

Service frequency and ridership

Currently, the Capitol Corridor has about 1.2 million riders per year [1], and is the third busiest Amtrak route in terms of ridership, surpassed only by the Northeast Corridor and the Pacific Surfliner.

The Capitol Corridor service is commonly used by commuters between the Sacramento area and the Bay Area as an alternative to driving on the congested Interstate 80 corridor. Monthly passes and discounted trip tickets are available on the line. Many high ranking politicians, lobbyists, and their aides choose to live in the Bay Area and commute to their jobs in Sacramento, while workers in the Oakland, San Francisco, and Silicon Valley employment centers take the Capitol Corridor trains from their less expensive homes in Solano County and the Sacramento metropolitan area. [2]

Since August 28, 2006, the Capitol Corridor route has run 32 trains per day (16 in each direction) on weekdays, reflecting a substantial increase over the prior service frequency. According to its management, ridership on the Capitol Corridor trains tripled between 1998 and 2005.[3]

Trains and station stops

All Capitol Corridor trains are designated with a three-digit number. Even-numbered trains run eastbound, and odd-numbered trains run westbound; weekday trains begin with a 5 and weekend or holiday trains begin with a 7. All trains run between Sacramento and Oakland; only 527, 538, 729 and 738 continue to Auburn. Several trains continue past downtown Oakland to the Oakland Coliseum, and many trains continue past to San Jose. Trains make the following station stops; none are skipped:

Additional cities and regions can be reached with Amtrak California Thruway Motorcoach service:

Proposed expansion

New stations have been proposed along the existing route at Hercules, Benicia, Northern Fairfield/Vacaville, and Dixon. The Northern Fairfield/Vacaville station is being jointly developed by the cities of Fairfield and Vacaville near the corner of Peabody Road and Vanden Road[4][5]. Additionally an intermodal station is planned at the Union City station, connecting to BART as part of a larger Dumbarton Rail Corridor Project to connect Union City, Fremont, and Newark to various Peninsula destinations via the Dumbarton rail bridge. The station is being planned and paid for by BART and the city of Union City [6].

Additionally, an expansion of the route has been proposed to the existing Amtrak station in Reno, Nevada.

Origin of route name

The Capitol Corridor is given this name because it links the state's first capital and where the first state capitol was located, San Jose (1850), with the state's current capital, Sacramento. The rail route also travels near historical state capitals of Vallejo (1852) and Benicia (1853). (See also: Historical California capitals.)

The Capitol Corridor route was also known as the Capitols, but in order to avoid confusion with the Amtrak Capitol Limited route from Washington, D.C. to Chicago, Capitol Corridor is now the official, preferred name.


As an Amtrak California route, Capitol Corridor is fully funded by the state through Caltrans Division of Rail, but in 1998 the administration of the route was transferred to Capitol Corridor Joint Powers Authority (CCJPA), formed by transit agencies of which the Capitol Corridor serves in order to have more local control. CCJPA in term contracted BART for day-to-day management and staff support; also, CCJPA makes decisions on the service level of Capitol Corridor, capital improvements along the route, and passenger amenities aboard the trains.

The Capitol Corridor Joint Powers Authority is governed by a Board of Directors which is consist of 16 representatives from its member agencies:


The Capitol Corridor and its administration agency, the CCJPA, are responsible for the maintenance of the Amtrak California's Northern California fleet, which is used by both the Capitol Corridor and the San Joaquin routes.

The Northern California fleet includes fourteen EMD F59PHI locomotives (Numbered 2001 through 2015), and two GE P32-8WH (Dash 8) locomotives (Numbered 2051 & 2052, formerly Amtrak 501 & 502), and a large amount of bi-level coaches and café cars which are dubbed as "California Cars". All cars are named after the many mountains and rivers of California. There are two series of California Cars, the 6000 series and the 8000 series, with the 6000 series being newer. Standard Amtrak equipment such as the GE P42DC, Amtrak's main locomotive, standard Amtrak Dash 8 locomotives, and Superliner cars may appear on Capitol Corridor trains as substitutes.

In rarer cases, F59PHI's from the Amtrak "Surfliner" and "Cascades" trains, and Caltrain EMD F40PH and MPI MP36PH-3C locomotives have been used as substitutes.

When the Capitol Corridor debuted in 1991, the equipment used were Amtrak F40PH locomotves and Amtrak Horizon Fleet cars. Dash 8 locomotives were also used as they were brand new at the time. This equipment was used until the mid 1990s when most of the current state-purchased equipment arrived.

Amtrak routes

Amtrak California: Capitol Corridor - Pacific Surfliner - San Joaquins
long-distance: California Zephyr - Coast Starlight - Southwest Chief - Sunset Limited - Texas Eagle


External links