|This article needs additional citations for verification. (March 2007)|
Amtrak California train at San Jose Diridon Station
|Owner||Caltrans Division of Rail|
|Transit type||Inter-city rail|
|Number of lines||2|
|Track gauge||4 ft 8 1⁄2 in (1,435 mm)|
Amtrak California (reporting mark CDTX) is a brand name used by the Caltrans Division of Rail two state-supported Amtrak rail routes within the U.S. State of California, the Pacific Surfliner and the San Joaquin. It also includes an extensive network of Thruway Motorcoach bus connections, operated by private companies under contract. Although not part of the Amtrak California brand, Caltrans also provides support for the Capitol Corridor.
The National Railroad Passenger Corporation (Amtrak) assumed operation of almost all intercity passenger rail in the United States in 1971. Service in California, as in most of the United States, was basic and infrequent. In 1976 California began providing financial assistance to Amtrak. 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 going to rail service. 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.
Amtrak California operates its own fleet of EMD F59PHI and GE P32-8WH locomotives that are used on San Joaquin and Capitol Corridor trains. These locomotives are owned by Caltrans and carry its CDTX reporting marks.
The Pacific Surfliner trains are pulled by Amtrak owned locomotives. Amtrak maintains a dedicated fleet of 15 EMD F59PHI locomotives painted to match the livery of the "Surfliner" cars.
When these aren't available, locomotives from Amtrak's long-distance fleet are often used, including the P42DC.
California Car / Surfliner bi-level trainsets
Amtrak California's routes typically use bi-level, high-capacity passenger cars, dubbed the Surfliner and California Car. All of the California Cars are owned by the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans). Most of the Surfliner cars are owned by Amtrak with some owned by Caltrans.
The design of the cars is based on Amtrak's Superliner bi-level passenger cars, but several changes were made to the design to make the car more suitable for corridor services with frequent stops. One very important difference is that the Surfliner and California Car have two sets of automatic doors on each side instead of only one manually operated door on the Superliners, which speeds up boarding and alighting considerably. Additionally, Surfliner and California Car coaches are equipped higher-density seating and bicycle racks to permit transport of unboxed bicycles.
Consists on the San Joaquin, 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.
Superliner I rebuilds
In 2007, Amtrak California paid for the repair of seven wreck-damaged Superliner Coaches owned by Amtrak in exchange for a six-year lease, intended to quickly add capacity on busy Capitol Corridor and San Joaquin trains. Four of the cars have been painted to match the "California car" livery and three have been painted to match the "Surfliner" livery. Each car also has the current Amtrak logo on the middle left side of each car.
Superliner I/II coaches from Amtrak's national fleet are used on some consists due to shortages of inter-city "Surfliner" & "California cars."
"Comet car" single-level trainsets
Increasing ridership on the San Joaquin led Amtrak California to purchase 14 Comet 1B rail cars from New Jersey Transit in 2008 for $75,000 per car. Caltrans is currently paying approximately $20 million to have these former commuter cars refurbished and reconfigured to serve as intercity coaches at Amtrak's Beech Grove Shops. 
New bi-level cars
As the leading agency of a joint purchase agreement with the Midwest Coalition consisted of Illinois, Michigan, and Missouri, Caltrans awarded a 130-car order to Nippon Sharyo on November 6, 2012, to be built at Nippon Sharyo's new factory at Rochelle, Illinois, of which 42 will go to California. The car design is based on existing California Cars with heavy involvement by Caltrans. The first cars are expected to be delivered by late 2015.
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. Each permanently assigned passenger car is named after a geographical feature of California.
The Capitol Corridor and San Joaquin trains are the two routes most identified with the Amtrak California image, since they extensively use "California Colored" equipment. 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.
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 in the south. It hugs the California coast for most of the route, providing a stunning backdrop. Most trains on the Pacific Surfliner route only travel a portion of the whole route. With 2.7 million passengers in fiscal year 2007, this is Amtrak's most heavily travelled service outside of the Northeast Corridor.
The San Joaquin operates twelve trains (six in each direction) each day between Bakersfield and Stockton. From Stockton, four trains from Bakersfield continue west to Oakland, while two trains proceed north to the state capital of Sacramento. Central Valley communities served include Fresno, Corcoran, Hanford, Lodi, Madera, Merced, Modesto, Turlock/Denair and Wasco. Delta/Bay communities of Antioch, Martinez, and Richmond are also served by the San Joaquin. Los Angeles is not served because in order to get there, the train must use the Tehachapi Pass line, where the Union Pacific prohibits passenger train use due to heavy freight traffic.
Although not part of the Amtrak California brand, the Capitol Corridor is closely associated with it. The service uses Caltrans equipment, and both Caltrans and Amtrak assist with its operation. The Capitol Corridor route runs north from San Jose through the East Bay to Oakland and Richmond, then east through the Delta communities of Martinez and Suisun City, and the Sacramento Valley cities of Davis and Sacramento. One Capitol Corridor train per day continues east of Sacramento during the afternoon commute to the small Sierra Nevada town of Auburn, returning in the morning. Plans have been proposed to extend an additional train per day to Reno, Nevada (a longtime major tourism and gaming destination for Northern Californians).
- "About Amtrak California". State of California Department of Transportation. 2013. Retrieved 2013-12-22.
- Prop. 108: Passenger Rail And Clean Air Bond Act Of 1990; California Streets and Highways Code, Division 3, Chapter 17
- All Aboard - Amtrak California[dead link]
- "San Joaquin Rolling Stock Presentation" (PDF). San Joaquin Joint Powers Authority/Caltrans. pp. 35–42. Retrieved 2013-06-30.
- Nippon Sharyo and Sumitomo Corporation receive the Contract Award for 130 Bi-Level Passenger Cars from Caltrans and IDOT
- Amtrak Monthly Performance Report September 2007
- Amtrak California
- Amtrak (national)
- The Rail Passenger Association of California (RailPAC) a statewide membership organization working for the expansion and improvement of rail passenger service within the states of California and Nevada.