Santa Clara station (California)

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Santa Clara
Santa Clara CA Depot. California railway station Built 1863.JPG
Santa Clara station in 2012
Location1001 Railroad Avenue
Santa Clara, California
Coordinates37°21′11″N 121°56′11″W / 37.35306°N 121.93639°W / 37.35306; -121.93639Coordinates: 37°21′11″N 121°56′11″W / 37.35306°N 121.93639°W / 37.35306; -121.93639
Owned byPeninsula Corridor Joint Powers Board
Line(s)Peninsula Subdivision[1]
Platforms1 side platform, 1 island platform
ConnectionsBus transport VTA Bus: 21, 22, 53, 59, 60, 522
Bicycle facilitiesLockers available
Disabled accessYes
Other information
Station codeSCC
Fare zone4
OpenedLate 1863
Original companySouthern Pacific
Feb 20181,097 (weekday average)[2]Increase 6.1% (Caltrain)
201856,127 (annual)[3][4]Increase 24.4% (Amtrak)
Rank37th in California[3] (Amtrak)
Preceding station BSicon LOGO Amtrak2.svg Amtrak Following station
Santa Clara – Great America
toward Auburn
Capitol Corridor San Jose
     Coast Starlight does not stop here
Preceding station Caltrain roundel.svg Caltrain Following station
Lawrence Local College Park
Limited San Jose Diridon
Preceding station Altamont Corridor Express Following station
Great America
toward Stockton
San Jose – Stockton San Jose
Former services
Preceding station Southern Pacific Railroad Following station
Lawrence Coast Line San Jose
Peninsula Commute College Park
toward San Jose
Agnew Oakland – San Jose San Jose
Mountain View Del Monte San Jose
toward Monterey
Future services
Preceding station Bart compact logo.svg Bay Area Rapid Transit Following station
toward Daly City
Santa Clara–​Daly City Terminus
toward Richmond
Santa Clara–​Richmond
Santa Clara Depot
LocationSanta Clara, California
NRHP reference No.85000359 [5]
Added to NRHPFebruary 28, 1985

The Santa Clara Depot is one of two heavy railway stations in Santa Clara, California (the other being Great America Station further to the north). It is served by Caltrain from San Francisco, and is also served by the Altamont Corridor Express (ACE) from Stockton (although this service was previously suspended from 2005 until 2012 due to track construction in the area).[6] This station is the planned terminal for the Silicon Valley BART extension into Santa Clara County and will be preceded by Diridon/Arena BART station with direct service to San Francisco/Daly City and Richmond.[7]

The Santa Clara station has a side platform serving the southbound Caltrain track (Track 3) and an island platform for the northbound Caltrain track (Track 2) and the ACE/Amtrak track (Track 1). The island platform is connected to the side platform by a pedestrian tunnel that was completed in 2012. Additional tracks northeast of Track 1 are used by Union Pacific freight trains.

The platforms were rebuilt in 2012 to eliminate the hold out rule (where only one train could enter the station at a time) and permit ACE and Amtrak Capitol Corridor trains to stop at the station.[8]


April 1971

The Santa Clara Depot, built by the San Francisco and San Jose Railroad in late 1863, was the oldest continuously operating railroad depot in the State of California until the ticket office was closed in May 1997.

The original 24'x50' (79x165 m) board and batten depot was one of the two "way stations" built between San Francisco and San Jose. Plans for a railroad linking San Francisco and San Jose began as early as 1851. Though the 1851 scheme ultimately failed, the incorporation of the San Francisco and San Jose Railroad in 1859 met with success. Most of the financing for the project came from county government in San Francisco, San Mateo and Santa Clara counties, with the University of Santa Clara and local industry also playing a significant role in both stock acquisition and choice of placement of the depot in Santa Clara.

The first passenger service to San Francisco started in January 1864. The Southern Pacific Railroad acquired the San Francisco & San Jose Railroad in 1868. The depot, originally on the east side of the tracks, was moved to its present location in 1877 and attached to the existing 32'x50' (105x165 m) freight house constructed several years earlier. Because of the large volume of agricultural freight shipped from the depot, the freight house was increased in size at that time to its present dimensions of 32'x160' (105x528 m).

On November 1, 1877, the San Jose Mercury reported the facility nearing completion. Following construction of the railroad, farming and fruit-related industries developed in the Santa Clara area, with the depot serving as a focal point for shipping. Rail service provided the direct link to San Francisco and, in the later 1870s, to Southern California. Typical of these efforts were those of James A. Dawson, who pioneered the area's fruit-canning industry in 1871. By the turn of the century, the Pratt-Low Preserving Company, the largest fruit packing plant in central California, was located just south of the depot.

The California Department of Transportation acquired the depot from Southern Pacific in 1980. It was placed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1985. In cooperation with the South Bay Historical Railroad Society, a nonprofit group founded the same year, they began renovation work in 1986 on the depot, by then badly in need of repair. A group of volunteers spent over 25,000 hours hauling away debris, replacing support timbers, siding, exterior decking and interior flooring, scraping peeling paint, painting and many other repairs. With the major renovation complete since 1992, this 156-year-old building hosts a railroad library and museum with 2 large model railroad layouts and many other artifacts while still serving its original function as a passenger depot.


The new pedestrian tunnel as it appeared in 2012

The station is an intermodal transportation center, with Caltrain and Altamont Corridor Express train service and bus service operated by the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA). Bus service is extensive and includes limited-stop and, since July 2005, the VTA's brand of bus rapid transit.

The station is also served by a free shuttle going to the San Jose International Airport, the SJC Airport Flyer (Route 10), jointly operated by the VTA and the airport.

Amtrak Capitol Corridor trains began stopping at the station on May 21, 2012, giving Caltrain a second direct connection to Amtrak.[9]

Platforms and tracks[edit]

Mainline tracks  Coast Starlight No stops
 Caltrain: Baby Bullet No stops
1  ACE toward Stockton (Santa Clara–Great America)
 ACE toward San Jose Diridon (Terminus)
 Capitol Corridor toward San Jose Diridon (Terminus)
2  Caltrain: Local service toward San Francisco (Lawrence)
 Caltrain: Limited-stop service toward San Francisco (Lawrence or Mountain View)
 Capitol Corridor toward Auburn (Santa Clara–Great America)
3  Caltrain: Local service toward Gilroy (College Park or San Jose Diridon)
 Caltrain: Limited-stop service toward Tamien, Gilroy during peak hours (San Jose Diridon)

Proposed transit plans[edit]

This station is expected to be the terminal station for the Silicon Valley BART extension second phase. The project aims to extend the BART system south from its terminus at Berryessa station. Reasons for selecting Santa Clara as the proposed terminus are because of the access to the San Jose International Airport as well as the proposed BART maintenance facility located in the vicinity of the station at the former Union Pacific rail yard. A new island platform will be constructed with a pedestrian underpass granting access to the Caltrain platform. An 800-space parking facility is included in the plans, and VTA is expected to develop transit oriented spaces adjacent the station.[10]

A project is being considered to replace the Airport Flyer bus service with a people mover similar to AirTrain JFK, which provides similar access to rapid transit stations; the status of the project is unknown due to the nature of funding.[citation needed]

The station was considered for California High-Speed Rail, but was rejected on the grounds that it was too close to the nearby, and much larger, Diridon Station in San Jose, and that the airport traffic that it would receive would not be enough to justify maintaining a separate station. Further revisions to the system later determined two Peninsula stations would be sufficient: one serving the larger San Francisco International Airport (probably using the existing Millbrae Station with BART connection to the airport), and the other in Palo Alto or Redwood City. As of 2018, the only station between San Jose and San Francisco planned for service is Millbrae.

Bus connections[edit]

The station is served by VTA Bus routes 21, 22, 53, 59, 60, and 522.


  1. ^ SMA Rail Consulting (April 2016). "California Passenger Rail Network Schematics" (PDF). California Department of Transportation. p. 13.
  2. ^ "2018 Annual Count Key Findings Report" (PDF). Caltrain. 2018.
  3. ^ a b "Amtrak Fact Sheet, Fiscal Year 2018, State of California" (PDF). Amtrak Government Affairs. June 2019. Retrieved June 3, 2020.
  4. ^ "Amtrak Fact Sheet, Fiscal Year 2017, State of California" (PDF). Amtrak Government Affairs. November 2017. Retrieved June 3, 2020.
  5. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. March 15, 2006.
  6. ^ BayRail Alliance
  7. ^ BART Silicon Valley Fact Sheet. 2011. Archived July 11, 2010, at the Wayback Machine
  8. ^ San Jose Diridon and Santa Clara Station Improvements
  9. ^ Great American Stations. Accessed February 20, 2013.
  10. ^ "Santa Clara Station" (PDF). VTA. Retrieved 29 May 2019.

External links[edit]

 This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the National Park Service.