Amtrak

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DavisTrainSignOld.jpg Amtrak_Sign.JPG Amtrak_train_curved_platform.jpgWestbound Capitol Corridor train bound for the Bay Area with the curved platform for the outer track of the Davis station. 2trains.jpgA westbound Capitol Corridor train is pulling into the station (left) as the eastbound California Zephyr (right) is heading east toward Chicago

Amtrak Station Location
840 2nd Street at the Train Station downtown
Note: Parking permit required! (and parking fills up at 6AM on weekdays). Request permit from agent by showing your ticket
Hours
Station & Service, Ticketing, and [WWW]Quik-Trak Hours:
Mon-Fri 4:15am-11:33pm or later. The station stays open until the last train arrives.
Checked Baggage Hours:
Mon-Fri 4:15am-11:00pm or later (see above)
Phone
(877) 974-3322 Capitol Corridor specific number
(800) 872-7245 (800 USA RAIL), Reservations/Schedule
(530) 758-7160 Davis station, not for reservations or customer service. In fact, this is not for public use. Don't bother trying to call it.
(702) 997-8943 Pay Phone
Website
[WWW]www.capitolcorridor.org
[WWW]www.amtrak.com

Amtrak offers two types of train service from the Davis train station: the "Capitol Corridor" service with trains about every hour east to Sacramento and west to Oakland/San Jose, and the Long Distance service with one departure daily of the Coast Starlight (north to Portland and Seattle, south to Los Angeles), and the California Zephyr (east to Reno, Salt Lake City, Denver, Omaha and Chicago). Capitol Corridor trains are the ones commonly seen in Davis, with blue orange and silver cars, about 5 cars long. Long distance trains are silver with red and blue stripes, have 2 engines, and 7-11 cars.

The "Capitol Corridor" service is one of the easiest ways to get out of Davis to Sacramento or the Bay Area via the [WWW]Capitol Corridor. The Capitol Corridor is a medium-distance train with unreserved seating. On board [WWW]WiFi launched in January 2012 and is free on all trains. 110 V power outlets are available at many seats on the Capitol Corridor trains. Before boarding, passengers should buy tickets at the train station to avoid grumpy conductors and the extra 50% charge for buying tickets on board. If you board the train at a station that does not have an attendant, however, you will not be charged the extra 50% fee. All Capitol Corridor trains have bike racks so you can travel with your bike to and from your destination at no extra charge. The train station is serviced by Unitrans on the A bus line during weekdays and the O line during the weekend. If you are returning to Davis weekday evenings, the Amtrak Shuttle is an excellent way to go home after getting off at the Train Station. Capitol Corridor trains usually run on time.

Long distance service has older trains, with amenities such as sleeper cars, lounges and diners. If you want to bring a bike you'll need to box it up (boxes are available at the station), you can check luggage, etc. Travel is often cheaper than airfare if you buy in advance (busy travel periods) or even if you don't (off-season). Long distance trains often run late (a lot can happen between Chicago and Davis), but improvements were made in 2007 to both routes through Davis and now trains run routinely on time, or close to it.

You can check the likelihood of your train being on time by going to the Amtrak website and clicking on "Historical On-Time Performance" directly under the Train Status box.

For more about how to get out of Davis by bus or train, see Transit Destinations.

    1. Typical Fares from Davis
    2. Long Distance Trains
    3. Privacy Considerations and Other Policies
    4. Getting to San Francisco
    5. Getting to Yosemite National Park
    6. Leaving Northern California
    7. Rail Passes & Multi-Rides
    8. Advice from fellow travelers

Typical Fares from Davis

[updated December 2013]

Zephyr.JPGLong distance trains are silver, red and blue, have 2 engines and about 10 "Superliner" cars. This is the California Zephyr stopping in Davis en route to Chicago

Discounts (apply to 3 day advance purchases, some exclusively online) are available through [WWW]AAA and [WWW]Student Advantage, as well as [WWW]ISIC. ISIC IDs can be purchased at STA Travel, for instance.

The [WWW]Student Advantage Card gives a 15% discount and [WWW]AAA members get 10% off of your rail fare if you book three days ahead at [WWW]amtrak.com or at a staffed Amtrak station, which can be found [WWW]here

Various passes and multiple ride tickets are available.

Long Distance Trains

20090523_californiazephyr.gif Two long distance trains run through Davis. The Coast Starlight and the California Zephyr.

The Zephyr runs between Chicago, Ill and Emeryville, CA. It departs Davis at 10:31am going east, and arrives in Chicago at 3:50PM two days later. The Zephyr has great daytime scenery, crossing Donner Pass and the Colorado Rockies by day, and going across the desert and plains at night. Major cities include Reno, NV, Salt Lake City UT, Grand Junction, CO, Denver CO, Omaha NE, and Chicago Il. With connecting trains to New York and Washington DC from Chicago. Timetable and Route Guide can be downloaded from here [WWW]http://www.amtrak.com/servlet/ContentServer/AM_Route_C/1237608341980/1237405732511

StarlightMap.gif The Starlight runs between Los Angeles and and Seattle, with great scenery along the coast from Ventura to north of Santa Barbara, and a spectacular crossing of Oregon's Cascade Range east of Eugene, OR. The Starlight runs at night from the Bay Area to Klamath Falls, OR, so you'll miss the great scenery around Mt. Shasta unless you travel during summer solstice. The Starlight leaves Davis at 11:33pm northbound to Seattle (arriving the next day at 8:45pm) and at 6:50am south to Los Angeles (arriving the same day at 9pm). Astute observers will note that this is a 14 hour train ride instead of a 6 hour drive, but you might also note that 1) you're not driving, 2) you're on the coast where track is curvy and scenery great. Major stops include Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo, San Jose, Oakland, Sacramento, Redding, Klamath Falls OR, Eugene OR, Portland OR, Olympia WA, and Seattle WA. With a connecting bus north to Vancouver BC (another 4 hours). Timetable and Route Guide can be downloaded from here [WWW]http://www.amtrak.com/servlet/ContentServer/AM_Route_C/1241245648567/1237405732511

Typical fares (bought a week in advance, as of Dec 2013)

Tips for long-distance travel.

Why take use Amtrak for long distance travel?
While trains are slower than airplanes, they have definite advantages.

If you've never taken a long train trip in the US, you're fortunate to be living in Davis. Davis is a great place to start a long trip

Power for laptops and other electronic devices on Long Distance Trains

Privacy Considerations and Other Policies

Amtrak [WWW]requires all of its adult passengers to show government-issued photo ID when asked, and they will actually go so far as to enter in your ID number (driving license, state ID, passport) into their computer system if you buy from a human at the counter. Security expert Bruce Schneier [WWW]explains why this is silly. You probably can't avoid being forced to show your ID without being branded a terrorist (because, as we all know, only terrorists refuse to show ID) but you can avoid having your ID number entered in to their computer system if you purchase tickets online or from the kiosks. The staff on the long distance routes are far more likely to ask for your ID than the staff on the Capital Corridor.

Of course, you'll be expected to show ID if you choose to purchase alcohol from the snack bar. You're not allowed to bring your own personal alcohol on the train, but it's doubtful they'll notice if it's one of the same brands (which include Sierra Nevada and Corona).

Amtrak restricts photography and 'first amendment activities' on its property without proper permits. Though seemingly rarely enforced, these policies could be used against you so be aware!

[WWW]http://www.amtrak.com/servlet/ContentServer?c=Page&pagename=am%2FLayout&p=1237405732517&cid=1241210579569

CapCor.jpgpassengers are waiting to board a westbound Capitol Corridor train to Oakland with a bus connection to San Francisco amtrak_past_gardens.jpgAn Amtrak train rushes along the tracks past the Solano Park Gardens. Photo from September 2005.

Getting to San Francisco

There are a couple different options for getting to San Francisco via Amtrak (which are both relatively the same price):

Getting to Yosemite National Park

Amtrak is a great way to get to Yosemite to have an adventure. The trip requires a minimum of two transfers. Riders pick up the Amtrak bus at the Davis station, swing through Sacramento and then transfer to a train in Stockton. Disembarking in Merced, you will move a few steps on to a [WWW]YARTS bus that takes you to Yosemite Lodge in Yosemite Valley. The morning YARTS bus is usually a tour bus for [WWW]Grayline Tours so you get to listen to the tour guide for free. The entire trip takes a minimum of 5 hours (6+ hours being typical if one has to wait for transfers). Included in the cost is the park entrance fee ($20 per vehicle) which can be seen as a substantial discount to travel. Amtrak charges $41 (one way) if you book the entire trip through them. You can save money by purchasing the Amtrak and YARTS legs separately. Amtrak to/from Merced costs $25 and the YARTS ride will set you back $10 for a savings of $6 each way.

Leaving Northern California

Amtrak also serves as a gateway to Southern California. The San Joaquin Route, via Sacramento, will take you as far as Bakersfield, where you can then connect to anywhere in Southern California via bus.

Rail Passes & Multi-Rides

Amtrak offers a "California Rail Pass" that allows someone to take 7 train trips in a 21 day period. The cost is $159 (as of 7/1/08) and can only be applied to journey segments within California. If you travel outside of California, then you can use the pass towards the segment of your journey that contains the last stop in California.

Amtrak also offers multi-ride and monthly pass tickets for the Capitol Corridor. As of 10/31/10 10 ride and monthly tickets between Sacramento and Davis cost $50 and $135, respectively. Between Davis and San Jose a 10 ride is $207 and a monthly is $498. Between Davis and Oakland (Jack London Square) a 10 ride is $140 and a monthly is $368. 10-ride tickets can be shared by multiple people traveling together, or at different times.

Advice from fellow travelers

This section needs to be modified given the increase in gas prices - the above estimation assumes $2/gallon gas and it is twice as much. The argument for using public transit has now shifted: whereas before it was mostly for reasons of principles and avoiding hassle, now we must include the fact that it is, indeed, cheaper.

The Capitol Corridor route has quite consistently been delayed, when I was aboard, between Richmond and Martinez (the portion of the route that follows the shoreline). I would advise anybody planning a trip between Davis and the Bay, on this line, to expect a journey 15-25 minutes longer than that which is advertised (1hr 10min, for Richmond<>Davis), for both directions. —LeonardMarque

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