Sacramento Valley Station

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Sacramento Valley Station
Sacramento 007.jpg
Location 401 I Street
Sacramento, CA 95814
United States
Owned by City of Sacramento
Line(s) Union Pacific Railroad
Platforms 3 island platforms (Amtrak)
1 side platform (Light Rail)
Tracks 6 (Amtrak)
1 (Light Rail)
Connections Amtrak Thruway Motorcoach
Parking $1.00/20 min Daily max is $10.00
Disabled access Yes
Other information
Station code SAC
Opened 1926
Passengers (FY2013) 1,132,750[1]Decrease 4.6% (Amtrak)
Preceding station   BSicon LOGO Amtrak2.svg Amtrak   Following station
toward Emeryville
California Zephyr
toward Chicago
toward San Jose
Capitol Corridor
toward Auburn
toward Los Angeles
Coast Starlight
toward Seattle
Terminus San Joaquin
toward Bakersfield
Sacramento RT Light Rail
Terminus Gold Line
One-way operation
Southern Pacific Railroad Company's Sacramento Depot
Sacramento Valley Station is located in California
Sacramento Valley Station
Location Sacramento, California
Coordinates 38°35′05″N 121°30′02″W / 38.584791°N 121.500517°W / 38.584791; -121.500517Coordinates: 38°35′05″N 121°30′02″W / 38.584791°N 121.500517°W / 38.584791; -121.500517
Built 1925
Architect Bliss & Faville
Architectural style Late 19th And 20th Century Revivals, Other
NRHP Reference # 75000457[2]
Added to NRHP April 21, 1975

Sacramento Valley Station (SAC) is an Amtrak train station in the city of Sacramento, California, at 401 I Street on the corner of Fifth Street. It is the 2nd busiest station in California, and 7th busiest Amtrak Station in America, with thousands of riders a day and over a million passengers per year.[3] Today it is served by 40 daily Amtrak and Amtrak California trains, many Amtrak Thruway Motorcoaches, plus the newest extension of the Sacramento Regional Transit District light rail Gold Line and the Route 30 bus serving Sacramento State University. Amtrak California connecting Thruway Motorcoach service is also available in Sacramento at the State Capitol bus stop (SCS) for drop-off service only. No Amtrak Thruway Motorcoach passengers whose journey originates in Sacramento may depart from the State Capitol bus stop, with one exception: passengers originating in Sacramento may board the southbound Amtrak Thruway Motorcoach to Stockton if the passenger departing from Sacramento is connecting to Amtrak California's southbound San Joaquin train service in Stockton.


The original Sacramento station was the terminal of the Central Pacific Railroad. The present building, designed by the San Francisco architectural firm of Bliss and Faville for the Southern Pacific Railroad, was built in 1926 in the Renaissance Revival style.[4] Decorative features include a red tile roof and terracotta trim, as well as large arches on the main facade. Inside, the waiting room has a mural by artist John A. MacQuarrie that depicts the celebration of the groundbreaking for the First Transcontinental Railroad on January 8, 1863 in Sacramento. The Central Pacific started from Sacramento and built east to Promontory Summit, Utah, where it met the Union Pacific Railroad. The station is now owned by Union Pacific Railroad. With the creation of Amtrak on May 1, 1971 the station became Amtrak-only. The station was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1975 as "Southern Pacific Railroad Company's Sacramento Depot".[2]


In FY2012 Sacramento was the second busiest of Amtrak's 74 California stations, boarding or detraining an average of about 3,252 passengers daily.[3] It is Amtrak's seventh-busiest station nationwide.

Sacramento is served by the daily California Zephyr from Emeryville to Chicago via Reno, Salt Lake City, Denver, and Omaha; and the daily Coast Starlight from Los Angeles to Seattle via San Luis Obispo, Oakland, Eugene and Portland. Sacramento is also served by Amtrak California's Capitol Corridor (San Jose-Auburn) and San Joaquins (Sacramento-Bakersfield) trains, with multiple departures daily.

The Sacramento Regional Transit District has a light rail station stop at Sacramento Valley Station between the tracks and the station which marks the western terminus of the Amtrak-Folsom light rail line, which is also known as the Gold Line. The station is served by one Regional Transit bus, Route 30. There are Regional Transit buses to stops throughout the Sacramento area as well as E-tran buses to Elk Grove, the largest suburb of Sacramento.

Altamont Commuter Express, also known as the "ACE Train", has plans for a future Modesto-Sacramento line.[5]

California High-Speed Rail[edit]

Sacramento is planned to be the north end of the California High-Speed Rail system, on which passengers will be able to get to Los Angeles Union Station in 2 hours and 17 minutes.

Current Station Renovation Status[edit]

The City of Sacramento, in conjunction with the Sacramento Railyards Project, is in the process of an extensive and multi-stage renovation project. The first stage, called the Sacramento Valley Station Intermodal Phase I, was completed on August 13, 2012 with the complete relocation of all heavy-rail passenger platforms (Amtrak) approximately 1000 feet further north from their previous location. Sacramento Regional Transit Gold Line light rail operations remain in their original location directly behind the station depot. Stage two, or Sacramento Valley Station Intermodal Phase II, is actively under way with extensive work being performed on the station depot building itself. This work includes long-deferred retrofitting and structural repair, window replacement, ADA accessibility work, Life Safety fire code work including the outward opening of emergency exit doors and panic hardware installation, and both appearance and comfort rehabilitation to make the station better serve the public. As a result, as of August 2014, the station interior is full of scaffolding to facilitate the work being undertaken, causing the passenger waiting space to be visibly claustrophobic. This work will also see the complete relocation of Amtrak ticket and baggage offices from the 1960s era addition on the back side of the waiting room; the new offices will be located in the former station restaurant space on the North wing of the station and will be much more passenger-friendly.

The city does not plan to immediately vacate the station, but services inside the main Head House building will slowly shift over the coming years as various projects to remodel and retrofit the facility and grounds progress. Eventually, however, the historic Head House will see less use as a transportation facility as the California High Speed Rail Project progresses, and when the planned Sacramento Intermodal Transportation Center is constructed along 5th Street between the Depot and the new platforms, all passenger services will leave and the historic structure will fully be available for use in other roles.[6]

Amtrak Thruway Motorcoaches[edit]

Amtrak California operates dedicated and guaranteed Thruway Motorcoach service on three separate routes extending the reach of trains to the north and east of the Sacramento Valley Station. All passengers travelling on Amtrak Thruway services must include travel on a train as part of their itinerary; traveling solely on Amtrak Thruway Motorcoaches from one point to another is prohibited by California State law to prevent competition with privately operated bus lines such as Greyhound Lines, Inc.

Route 3 runs five times a day each way between Sacramento and the north end of the San Joaquin Valley, serving Marysville, Oroville, Chico, Corning, Red Bluff and Redding. One trip extends beyond Redding to the scenic California mountain communities of Dunsmuir, Mt. Shasta, Weed, Yreka and the Southern Oregon communities of Ashland and Medford. All five trips flow through Sacramento to the south serving Elk Grove and Lodi en route to Stockton, California where passengers can connect to and from San Joaquin trains. Route 3 motorcoaches are supplemented by Amtrak's Coast Starlight train north of Sacramento which closely parallels the route as far north as Dunsmuir and the two have common stations in Chico, Redding and Dunsmuir.

Route 20-A runs three times a day each way through the Sierra Nevada Mountains from Sacramento to Roseville, Rocklin, Auburn, Colfax, Soda Springs, Truckee, Reno (Nevada), and Sparks (Nevada). The line closely parallels Amtrak's California Zephyr and the two use the same stations with the exception of Soda Springs (the Zephyr does not stop there) and Sparks, Nevada, which is about three short blocks from the rail depot. Service on this route was reduced from four trips per day each way to the current three when the Capitol Corridor Joint Powers Authority took over management of the route in 2005. This downgrade canceled the early morning westbound thruway and late evening eastbound return and has made it all but impossible for Northern Nevada or Sierra Nevada residents to make one-day trips into the heart of California using this service.

Route 20-C now only runs once a day each way from Sacramento along historic and scenic U.S. Highway 50 to Placerville and the majestic South Lake Tahoe. As recently as 2006 service along this corridor was offered three times a day each way and one trip extended to the capitol of Nevada, Carson City. Amtrak California now provides the only scheduled intercity passenger transportation to South Lake Tahoe. Greyhound Bus Lines was forced out of the Lake Tahoe vicinity after several of their passengers caused a riot in the vacation-oriented community shortly after the Year 2000 celebrations. The bus line was unable to operate enough buses to allow all of the passengers they had brought to the community to return home in a timely manner. This unfortunate event, and the subsequent legislation passed by the Lake Tahoe City Council, spelled an end to popular Greyhound service to the region.

Station amenities[edit]

The station has vending machines, recently remodeled restrooms, electronic screens and computerized audible announcements for train status, and a private coffee vendor located inside the station waiting room. Additionally there is a Starbucks and a Strings Italian restaurant located in the adjacent Railway Express Agency building on the station property.

  • Station and service hours: 4:00 AM – Midnight PM[* 1]
  • Ticket office hours: 4:00 AM - Midnight[* 1]
  • QuikTrak ticket machine hours: 24-hours[* 1]
  • Checked baggage hours: 5 AM – Midnight[* 1]
  1. ^ a b c d These hours may vary depending on train status


Effective in mid-December 2006, the City of Sacramento began operating and took responsibility for parking at the Sacramento Amtrak Station. Parking is found all around the station in numbered stalls. As of July 2013, parking is $1.20 per 20 minutes with a $10.00 daily maximum. If you cannot return to your car before your parking time expires, you may call (916) 722-7275 to add time to your meter (you need to know your parking stall number).

Taxis and rental cars[edit]

  • Taxi companies: Yellow Cab, Rhino Cab, Kmm Cab Co
  • Rental car companies: Hertz and Enterprise both service the station with pick-up and drop-off availability, though neither has a desk inside the station. Passengers wishing to use these companies must have an existing reservation.

Public Transportation[edit]

A Downtown bound RT light rail train at Sacramento Station
  • A Sacramento Regional Transit District (RT) bus line, Route 30 serves the station, this line also serves Sacramento State University. In early December 2006, the light rail Gold Line was extended to the station (serving points between the City of Sacramento and the City of Folsom. With a transfer in downtown passengers can connect to the Blue Line (serving points to the north along the I-80 corridor to Watt Station and south to Meadowview Station.

Nearby hotels and points of interest[edit]

Platforms and tracks[edit]

Westbound  California Zephyr toward Emeryville (Davis)
 Capitol Corridor toward San Jose (Davis)
 Coast Starlight toward Los Angeles (Davis)
Eastbound  California Zephyr toward Chicago (Roseville)
 Capitol Corridor toward Auburn (Roseville)
 Coast Starlight toward Seattle (Chico)
 San Joaquin toward Bakersfield (Lodi)
SRTD light rail
Eastbound  Gold Line toward Historic Folsom (7th & I/County Center)


  1. ^ "2013 California Report" (PDF). Amtrak. Retrieved 9 July 2014. 
  2. ^ a b Staff (2008-04-15). "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 
  3. ^ a b "Amtrak Fact Sheet, FY2011, State of California" (PDF). Amtrak. November 2011.  External link in |publisher= (help)
  4. ^ Great American Stations. Accessed February 19, 2013.
  5. ^ "Regional Governance for San Joaquin Rail Service". Retrieved 2012-12-15. 
  6. ^

External links[edit]