Bakersfield station (Amtrak)
|Location||601 Truxtun Ave|
Bakersfield, CA 93301
|Owned by||City of Bakersfield|
|Platforms||1 side platform, |
1 island platform
Kern Regional Transit
|Opened||July 4, 2000|
|Passengers (2017)||482,276 1.94%|
Bakersfield station is an intermodal facility in Bakersfield, California. It is the southern terminus of Amtrak California's San Joaquin route, with Amtrak Thruway Motorcoach service continuing to Amtrak stations and bus stops throughout Southern California and Nevada. The station opened with a celebration on July 4, 2000. It contains an 8,300 square feet (770 m2) train station with two platforms and three tracks, as well as a 15-bay bus station.
The original operator for train service on this line was the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe. Their station was located at the intersection of 15th Street and F Street (about 0.9 miles west). It was constructed in 1899 and demolished in 1972. Named Santa Fe passenger trains served at the station included the San Francisco Chief, and Golden Gate. Starting in 1974, Amtrak operated out of a temporary station at that site, until this station was constructed.
Construction of the San Francisco and San Joaquin Valley Railroad reached Bakersfield in 1898, and was completed in 1899. However, they would not construct a train station in the city, because once completed, the railroad was purchased by Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe. It would also obtain trackage rights over Tehachapi Pass from the Southern Pacific Railroad. They constructed the Bakersfield Santa Fe Station in 1899, at the intersection of F Street and 15th Street.
The station occupied two blocks of land, between D Street and F Street. A Harvey House was located on the east side of the station. In 1901, the Bakersfield and Kern Electric Railway was relocated to serve the station. It provided a direct connection between the Bakersfield Santa Fe Station and the Bakersfield Southern Pacific Station (about 2.5 miles east in East Bakersfield). In 1938, Santa Fe began operating intermodal rail service on the San Joaquin Valley line. Trains would travel between Oakland and Bakersfield on the railroad line. At Bakersfield passengers would transfer to one of several bus routes, which departed for destinations in Southern California. As a result, bus bays were constructed at the station.
Service continued until 1971, when Amtrak was formed. Since a rail route along the coast and in the San Joaquin Valley was considered redundant, the San Joaquin Valley route was dropped. In 1972, the train station was demolished by Santa Fe and replaced with freight offices and a parking lot.
However, train service restarted only two years later, in 1974. It was decided to use the intermodal route previously used by Santa Fe, instead of the Tehachapi route used by Southern Pacific. This would pose a problem for Bakersfield. The city would serve as the transfer point between rail and bus, but did not have any facilities for it.
A temporary structure was erected at the new parking lot (part of the previous site occupied by the station) east of the freight offices, to serve as the station. Buses would park wherever space was available. The station was served by only one track. As ridership increased, the station became ineffective at containing all of the passengers. Also, adding more bus routes forced them to park in an adjacent alley. In 1985, the temporary structure was doubled in size in an attempt to keep up with demand.
In the late 1990s, plans were started for the construction of a new, permanent train station. Land at the intersection of Truxtun Avenue and S Street was selected for the site. It would cost $5.1 million, funded by the State of California with Bakersfield as the lead agency. The station would officially open on July 4, 2000, with a demonstration train breaking through a ceremonial barrier. In attendance were the mayor, state senator Jim Costa, and Amtrak officials. Country music star Buck Owens (who lived in Bakersfield) performed at the event.
Bakersfield's Amtrak station is a staffed station with a large, enclosed waiting room. Inside, there is both a manned ticket window and Amtrak's self-service Quik-Trak ticket kiosk. The station also offers checked baggage and Amtrak Express package service. Taxi stands are located to the west and a passenger pick-up and drop-off zone is located directly north of the station building. A free, unattended parking lot is available for passengers.
The station has two tracks and two platforms (one side platform, and one island platform) accessible by passengers. Each platform can hold a six-car train. A third track provides for overnight storage and is not used by passengers. There is also a 15 bay bus station, located north of the tracks (just south of the taxi stand), but only 7 of the bays are currently in use. The bus bays and one platform is sheltered.
Of the 73 California stations served by Amtrak, Bakersfield was the fifth busiest in FY2012 (behind only Los Angeles Union Station, Sacramento Valley, San Diego and Emeryville, boarding or detraining an average of approximately 1400 passengers daily. It is also the 25th busiest Amtrak station nationwide, and one of the busiest serving a metro area with fewer than 2 million people.
Platforms and tracks
|1-2||■ San Joaquin||toward Oakland or Sacramento (Wasco)|
|3||■ Storage track||No regular service|}
Amtrak California Thruway motorcoaches
Bakersfield is the transfer point between San Joaquin trains and Amtrak California Thruway motorcoaches connecting to Southern California destinations. As many as 6 thruway motorcoaches can connect to a single train. The buses are necessary in part because passenger trains are normally not allowed on the Tehachapi Loop, the only direct rail link between the San Joaquin Valley and the urban core of Southern California.
Kern Regional Transit
Kern Regional Transit is the regional transit provider for Kern County. The station is one of two major hubs used within Bakersfield (the other is the Downtown Transit Center primarily used by Golden Empire Transit). Currently five bus routes connect with half of the train routes. They travel to various locations throughout the county, including: Desert Communities, East San Joaquin Valley, Kern River Valley, Mountain Communities, and West Kern.
The train station was designed by the Los Angeles-based architectural firm Rossetti. They have also designed many of the city's sports venues including: Rabobank Arena, Bakersfield Ice Sports Center, McMurtrey Aquatic Center, and Bakersfield Sports Village. The station is designed in the modern style, with primary emphasis on glass, dark grey steel, and red Indian sandstone. Because of the rough cut of the sandstone, it appears to change color as the sun tracks through the sky.
The station design can be easily described in three distinct parts. On the west side is the main waiting room. It is topped with an uneven, angled roof of dark grey steel. The roofline is triangular, growing in size from one end of the station to the other. The resulting gap is filled in with glass, which including the skylight, allows a large amount of natural light. Colonnades of red sandstone flank both sides of waiting room, and extend along its entire length, protruding outside the west entrance. It is reminiscent of the long arcades used in late 19th and early 20th century station designs, such as the Bakersfield Southern Pacific Station. The east side, which contains offices and baggage room, is much simpler. A simple exterior of red sandstone, with square windows, is topped with a small, arched roof. The two sections are joined by a narrow, three story tower of red sandstone, over the ticket counter and north entrance. The city name is also located on the tower, on the south side of the station.
The exterior layout of the station places the bus bays directly adjacent to the train platform. This allows for the shortest distance for transferring from bus to train. Directly outside of the west entrance of the station is a large, stone model of the Earth, suspended by water. There are two additional fountains, which serve a unique purpose. One is located on the west end of the station complex, called the announcement fountain. When a train is approaching, the fountain is activated, spraying columns of water in the air over a concrete slab. The sound of the water, and the columns waving in the breeze is designed to instill a sense of excitement. Once the train has arrived, that fountain is deactivated and a second fountain, adjacent to the station building is activated. It is a similar style to the announcement fountain, although it is much smaller.
The Kern Veterans Memorial is located near the Truxton Avenue entrance to the station. It honors all Kern County residents who have served in the armed forces.
Bakersfield has been selected as a stop for the California High Speed Rail. Currently two alignment options are being considered through Bakersfield. Both options have the high speed rail station located near the existing station. They also show the two stations being connected to allow transfer from high speed rail to conventional trains. Initial construction of the system is expected to begin in 2012, although the construction date for the station is currently unknown.