The San Joaquins are passenger trains operated by Amtrak California in California's Central Valley. Their two routes run 318 miles (512 km) from Jack London Square in Oakland and 280 miles (451 km) from I Street Station in Sacramento to Truxtun Avenue Station in Bakersfield. From Bakersfield, Thruway Motorcoach bus service continues to Los Angeles; trains cannot continue the rest of the way because the only line between Bakersfield and Los Angeles is the world's busiest single-track main line through Tehachapi Loop.
The San Joaquins have existed since 1974. Their service has increased from one round trip per day to four round trips to Oakland, plus two round trips to Sacramento. The two routes meet at the BNSF Railway's junction with the Union Pacific Railroad in Stockton.
The San Joaquins operate up the Central Valley over the BNSF Railway Bakersfield Subdivision from Bakersfield to Calwa, four miles south of Fresno. From Calwa the BNSF Stockton Subdivision continues to Port Chicago, west of Antioch. At Port Chicago, the San Joaquins switch to the Union Pacific Railroad Martinez Subdivision through Martinez, Richmond and Emeryville to Oakland. Trains to Sacramento run over the UP Fresno Subdivision.
The San Joaquins are equipped with Amtrak California Fleet: bi-level high-capacity passenger cars, of several types: coach-baggage, dining/cafe car, coach, cab car, and cab-baggage. A cab car is a regular coach with a set of engineer's controls and headlights on one end, allowing the train to be operated in either direction without turning the whole consist. A cab-baggage is the same thing, but with space on the car's lower level for checked luggage storage.
Two types of locomotives are used on the San Joaquins. The first, and most common, is the EMD F59PHI, road numbers CDTX 2001-2015. The other, less common type is the GE P32-8WH (Dash 8), road numbers CDTX 2051-2052. These locomotives are owned by the California Department of Transportation (CDTX), and operated by Amtrak. However, other locomotives can occasionally be seen on the San Joaquins, including Amtrak Dash 8s and P42DCs. Amtrak California locomotives and cars have a paint scheme unique to California, so they are easily recognizable.
A typical San Joaquin consist is as follows:
- F59PHI (locomotive)
- Coach-Baggage Car
- Cab Car
However, during some holiday seasons, the number of cars is increased.
Trains 702 and 704 run southbound from Sacramento to Bakersfield; 701 and 703 run north to Sacramento. Trains 712, 714, 716 and 718 run south from Oakland, and 711, 713, 715 and 717 run to Oakland. Trains make the following station stops; no stops are skipped:
- Modesto formerly known as Riverbank
To/from Sacramento (merges at Stockton)
Amtrak California: Capitol Corridor - Pacific Surfliner - San Joaquins
California High Speed Rail
Studies are underway and a $9 billion ballot initiative is due for voters approval in 2006 to approve a high speed rail link between Northern and Southern California. The route would run through the San Joaquin Valley.