Bakersfield station (Southern Pacific Railroad)
|Location||700 Sumner Street|
|Owned by||Union Pacific|
|Platforms||1 side platform|
|Opened||June 27, 1889|
The Bakersfield Southern Pacific Station in Bakersfield, California, was the train station used by the Southern Pacific Railroad. The station opened in June 27, 1889, in the town of Sumner (which was later annexed by Bakersfield). The station was a mixture of: Richardsonian Romanesque, Spanish Colonial Revival, and Moderne styles. It was closed in 1971, after the formation of Amtrak.
The station served Southern Pacific passenger trains that ran on the San Joaquin Valley Route. They included: San Joaquin Daylight, Sacramento Daylight, Owl, and West Coast. It is currently used as an office building and crew change center by Union Pacific. On extremely rare occasions, it is used as a stop for the Coast Starlight when Union Pacific's Coast Line is closed.
In 1874, construction of the Southern Pacific Railroad line had reached the Southern San Joaquin Valley. Bakersfield was the logical stop for the railroad, but a land dispute had developed between the town and Southern Pacific. It resulted in the railroad building its tracks about 2 miles east of the town. The town of Sumner was laid out by the railroad. It also constructed a small depot. In 1888 the Bakersfield and Sumner Railroad (which later became the Bakersfield and Kern Electric Railway) was constructed to the station. It provided a connection between the station and the Courthouse in Bakersfield.
In 1889, the current railroad station was constructed. The station was originally built in the Richardsonian Romanesque style. It contained both a train station and a hotel. One of the station's most defining features was the long arcade, that stretched along the entire north side, connecting the station and the hotel. That same year, the Bakersfield and Kern Electric Railway moved its main line (called the Santa Fe and Southern Pacific Line) to the Santa Fe Bakersfield Station.
In the late 1930s, Southern Pacific was considering demolishing the station in favor of a new design. However, it instead decided to remodel the station. Most of the ornamental features were removed in an effort to provide a more streamlined appearance. The result was a transformation to the Spanish Colonial Revival style. It did retain the steeply pitched roof, which was a part of the original style.
At some point, the hotel closed and was converted to office space. In addition, half of the portico (on the hotel side) was enclosed. In 1971, Amtrak was formed. That would end the remaining Southern Pacific passenger trains through the station. The station was subsequently closed. The office portion would continue to be used by Southern Pacific, and later by Union Pacific.
Plans for two new rail systems have been proposed, both consider a future stop in East Bakersfield, near the station. Kern County has been studying for a future regional commuter rail system. Part of the system would use existing Union Pacific tracks. In addition, Bakersfield has also been studying for a future light rail system. Both system have a start date beyond 2025.
- Guenzler, Chris. "The Coast Starlight Detour down the former SP Valley Line 10/26/2008". Trainweb.org. Retrieved May 13, 2011.
- Bergman, John (2009). The Southern San Joaquin Valley: A Railroad History. Visalia, California: Jostens Printing and Publishing Company. p. 124. ISBN 978-0-615-25105-9.
- "Old Town Kern" (PDF). City of Bakersfield. Bakersfield Historic Preservation Commission. Archived from the original (PDF) on March 24, 2012. Retrieved May 13, 2011.
- Powell, John. "Unpublished letter to the editor submitted to the Bakersfield Californian, 31 August 2010". Historic Fresno. Retrieved May 13, 2011.
- Hardisty, Jack (July 10, 2010). "Saving the Depot: Will Anyone Get on Board?". The Bakersfield Californian. Archived from the original on September 24, 2010. Retrieved May 13, 2011.
- "Kern County Commuter Rail Option" (PDF). Kern Council of Governments. Retrieved May 13, 2011.
- "GET Bus Plan Fact Sheet" (PDF). Golden Empire Transit. Retrieved May 13, 2011.