Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Happy Silver Anniversary, Capitol Corridor!

On 12 December 1991, Northern California's "Capitol Corridor" service began, providing three daily round trips from Sacramento to the Bay Area.  Twenty-five years later, Capitol Corridor offers up to 32 daily trains via 17 stations, along the 170-mile San Jose to Auburn route.  Capitol Corridor is also the 3rd most traveled Amtrak service in the nation, and serves two of the nation's 25 busiest train stations - Sacramento (7th) and Emeryville (18th).

Today, Capitol Corridor is technically classified as "intercity rail" service, but it's schedule - with monumental ridership growth and dedicated leadership by the Capitol Corridor Joint Powers Authority - makes the route seem more like a "commuter rail" service, as service frequency alone nears the Bay Area's Caltrain and Southern California's Metrolink services.  (Though, we should note, neither of the aforementioned commuter services have dining cars, WiFi, electrical outlets, and restrooms that do not look like former crime scenes... That's directed to Caltrain; we love your service, but your restrooms look like a free clinic on rails.])

Furthermore, Capitol Corridor has always had its hand in the First Mile / Last Mile issue, as free transit transfers (2) to connecting services are offered, and bicycles have always been welcomed on-board - especially car five.

As we celebrate Capitol Corridor's silver anniversary, TransportiCA encourages readers to also become engaged in Capitol Corridor's future by reading the Authority's Vision Implementation Plan ("VIP").  As discussed in the VIP, "The overarching goal is a modern railroad built to international standards, electrified and capable of top speeds of 150 miles per hour. This could reduce travel times between Sacramento and Oakland to just over an hour, and between Oakland and San Jose to a half-hour. This plan also envisions a direct connection to BART in central Oakland, just minutes from San Francisco."

For further reading, we would also recommend the Bay Area Council's "Northern California Megaregion" report, as this publication looks into emerging transportation and land-use challenges for the Bay Area and Sacramento regions.

Here is to an explosive quarter century for Capitol Corridor, and we look forward to your golden anniversary - 12 December 2041.

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