16th Street station (Oakland)

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Oakland 16th Street Station, main entrance, December 2007
Location1601 Wood Street, Oakland, California[1]
United States
Coordinates37°48′56.1″N 122°17′48.3″W / 37.815583°N 122.296750°W / 37.815583; -122.296750Coordinates: 37°48′56.1″N 122°17′48.3″W / 37.815583°N 122.296750°W / 37.815583; -122.296750
Owned byBUILD
Other information
Station codeOAK
ClosedAugust 5, 1994
Services at time of closing
Preceding station BSicon LOGO Amtrak2.svg Amtrak Following station
Terminus California Zephyr Emeryville
toward Chicago
toward San Jose
Capitols Emeryville
toward Roseville
San Jose Coast Starlight Emeryville
toward Seattle
Terminus San Joaquins Emeryville

16th Street station (Oakland Central) is an abandoned Southern Pacific Railroad station in Oakland, California, United States. The Beaux-Arts building was designed by architect Jarvis Hunt, a preeminent train station architect, and opened in 1912. The station has not been served by trains since 1994.


The original station in 1910
Amtrak trains at 16th Street station in 1980

The original 16th Street depot was a smaller wood structure, built when the tracks were on the shoreline of San Francisco Bay. Later the shoreline was filled and now lies nearly a mile west. It was replaced in 1912 by a Beaux-Arts building designed by architect Jarvis Hunt.

For decades the 16th Street station was the main Oakland station for Southern Pacific (SP) through trains. It was a companion (or "city station") for Oakland Pier, two miles away, where passengers could board ferries to San Francisco. (After 1958, the ferries were replaced by buses from 16th Street station to the SP's Third and Townsend Depot). The elevated platforms were used for the SP-owned East Bay Electric Lines commuter service (renamed IER in 1938). Many IER trains were expressed past 16th Street when the Bay Bridge opened in 1941. When the IER folded in 1941, some lines were sold to the competing Key System; however, the Key System only served the station with a surface line on 16th Street, and did not use the elevated platforms.

The station also served as the main rail link for points north and east of the Bay Area. San Francisco-area passengers boarded ferries to Oakland Long Wharf, and after 1958 boarded buses to 16th Street. Amtrak took over intercity passenger rail services in 1971, and decided to consolidate most Bay Area service in Oakland, leaving San Francisco as one of the largest cities without direct intercity rail service.

The station was severely damaged in the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake, but continued serving trains at an adjacent building. In the 1990s, the adjacent railroad tracks were moved west during the construction of Interstate 880 (to replace the earthquake-destroyed Cypress Street Viaduct), which isolated the station from the tracks. Amtrak service to 16th Street station ended on August 5, 1994; Oakland passengers used a bus connection from the 1993-opened Emeryville station until Oakland's new main station, Oakland-Jack London Square, opened in 1995.[2] Emeryville largely replaced 16th Street station as the connection point for Amtrak Thruway Motorcoach across the bay in San Francisco, as Emeryville is closer to the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge than Oakland-Jack London Square. However, Jack London Square serves as the San Francisco connection for the southbound Coast Starlight, along with some Thruway routes to Southern California.

The station buildings are largely intact, including the interlocking tower and ironwork elevated platforms. The station was purchased in 2005 by BUILD, an affiliate of BRIDGE Housing, and is being restored as part of a local redevelopment project.[3][4] In 2015, the station was used to stage a local opera company's production of Lulu.[5] As of 2019, the station is being used as a rented space for private events.[6]

In media[edit]

The station was used in films including Funny Lady (as Cleveland station),[7] RENT,[8] and Hemingway & Gellhorn (as a stand-in for the Hotel Florida).[9][10][11] Mumford & Sons filmed their music video for "Babel" in the station.[12]

The station also appeared in the video game Watch Dogs 2.[citation needed]


  1. ^ "Amtrak National Timetable Revised Edition: Fall/Winter 1993/1994". Amtrak. February 14, 1994. p. 8 – via The Museum of Railway Timetables.
  2. ^ "Hotline #839". www.narprail.org. National Association of Railroad Passengers. 19 Aug 1994. Archived from the original on 2013-10-04. Retrieved 31 Jul 2012.
  3. ^ Burt, Cecily (28 Dec 2008). "Shuttered but not forgotten: 16th Street depot ready for rebirth". Oakland Tribune. San Jose, California: MediaNews Group. Retrieved 18 Feb 2014.
  4. ^ "16th Street Station Reuse Planning Process". Archived from the original on October 14, 2012. Retrieved February 2, 2019.
  5. ^ Geberen, Janos (April 8, 2015). "Will Lulu Do a Karenina at West Edge Opera?". San Francisco Classical Voice.
  6. ^ "Renting the Station". Retrieved February 2, 2019.
  7. ^ Pollock, Christopher. Reel San Francisco Stories: An Annotated Filmography of the Bay Area. Lulu. p. 88. ISBN 9780578130422 – via Google Books.
  8. ^ Paiva, Troy (2013). Night Vision: The Art of Urban Exploration. Chronicle Books. p. 61. ISBN 9780811875783 – via Google Books.
  9. ^ Mendelson, Aaron; Rancaño, Vanessa (October 1, 2012). "Oakland's historic 16th Street station celebrates centennial, new role in community". Oakland North.
  10. ^ Whitlock, Cathy (December 31, 2011). "The Sets of Hemingway & Gellhorn". Architectural Digest.
  11. ^ Mendelson, Aaron; Rancaño, Vanessa (October 1, 2012). "Oakland's historic 16th Street station celebrates centennial, new role in community". Oakland North.
  12. ^ "Where should Treasure Island Music Festival 2017 relocate?". San Francisco Chronicle. October 7, 2016.

External links[edit]