From Sacramento to Bakersfield: two round trips daily on Amtrak California’s San Joaquin Valley trains. Here’s a look at all 10 intermediate stations, Lodi to Wasco, on this route. Photos were (mostly) taken 10/11/07 from the door of train 702, southbound, which departs Sacramento at 6:35 AM. That day ridership was light until Modesto.
Photos and comments by Russ Jackson
Lodi station, on time at 7:15 AM. Much fog encountered north of this station. Three passengers boarded here that morning.
Stockton ACE station, on time at 7:30 AM. Notice that Amtrak passengers must walk to the road crossing to board, as there is no access (yet) to the platform track used by ACE.
Modesto station on time at 8:04 AM. When it was built this station was “in the middle of nowhere,” but the city, now with a population of 204,000, is expanding all around it.
Turlock/Denair station, on time at 8:23 AM. This photo, taken in March, 2006, shows this popular station which is actually in Denair.
Merced station, on time at 8:46 AM. This station is the “gateway” to Yosemite National Park, with bus connections from the trains to the Park. The large sign on the building also says, “Amtrak Crew Base,” as this is where train engineers change off enroute so only one person works the trains instead of two in the cab, saving money.
Madera station on time 9:17 AM. The rule of thumb for this location is, “don’t leave your car overnight in this lot.” No lighting, no other amenities. The city has been trying to find an alternative, safer location but has not found one.
Fresno station This photo was taken from the return trip on 10/11, train 717. The morning trip was only a few minutes late leaving Fresno where large crowds were boarding and detraining.
Hanford station On time at 10:23 AM. A large group of riders got off train 702 here. This photo was also taken from train 717 on the evening of 10/11.
Corcoran station On time at 10:39 AM. The nearby State Prison is also a source of riders, as people come and go from there. This tree-lined platform leads to a modern, although unstaffed, station that is also the Chamber of Commerce.
Wasco station On time at 11:15. Few riders from here. This station opened a year ago, also containing the local Chamber of Commerce office. Many riders from Los Angeles have learned if they want to ride the Amtrak bus to Bakersfield they need a train ticket, too, so they buy to this first station past Bakersfield. From here train 702 on 10/11 was 20 minutes EARLY into Bakersfield.