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Tuesday, August 19, 2014

14-08-19 PHOTOS: Capitol Corridor South

California's Capitol Corridor extends from Oakland to Sacramento, however there is also a southern section running down to San Jose. I had previously covered the main portion of the Capitol Corridor both in 2012 and 2014, but my Coast Starlight trip provided me with the opportunity to cover the less visible southern portion. Also included in this section is the southern section of the Caltrain line between San Jose and Gilroy.

You can see the full set of photos, which includes a complete line survey, here

We begin at Emmeryville where Train 11 makes an extended, yet non-smoke duration stop.

After departing we ran alongside a cut of crude oil cars sitting under a Southern Pacific era signal bridge.

At 10th St interlocking the line flips from the Martinez to the Niles subdivision. The division post is located at the site of the old Oakland Station which was condemned after the 1989 earthquake. This is also the location of the Southern Pacific's Oakland enginehouse that where 2 UP SD70M's, #4260 and #5055, were standing nearby. Note the BART train in the background.

At MAGNOLIA we pass Amtrak's Oakland maintenance facility which services the California Zephyr and the Capitol Corridor trainsets. Neither Oakland nor Emmeryville have good connections to BART so passengers needing to get to downtown San Fransicso transfer at Richmond. 

A team of C&S employees were milling about the relay room at KING ST interlocking, which was still in service with a opposing Diverging Approach route set in addition to our own.

Just north of Oakland's Jack London station is the famous section of street running along the Embarcadero.

The stop at Oakland was of the longer 20 minute "smoke" variety. In addition to getting to hang out on the platform a bit, I met up with an east coast friend who was on a 15 day Amtrak pass trip. Here we see my perch for this ride, Superliner II, #34508.

Over on main track #1, a short transfer cut of doublestack, rolls by toward the Oakland container terminal with UP ES44AC #8084 in the lead.

Here is a video of the short train traversing the Oakland street running.

SD70ACe #8613 was pushing on the rear end.

As Train 11 was pulling out, Capitol Corridor train #527 was pulling in with Amtrak P42DC #172 providing the power.

As an extra special bonus the RRBX circus train was hanging out south of the city center. Note the BART train in the background.

It was being hauled by a pair of SD70M's including #4551.

As we passed the Oakland Coliseum station, Amtrak train 526 was just pulling out to begin its eastbound run with F59PHI #2008.

Just south of the Coliseum was the other half of the RRBX circus train.

At Elmhurst Train 11 turned off onto the Coast Sub, which cuts across the industrial East Bay. The line reverts to TWC-ABS until a small island of CTC where we pass the eastbound Train 528 with F50PHI #2011 at Newark. The Capitol Corridor train actually take a different route to Oakland, turning up through Freemont and Hayward via the famous Niles Junction.

Past Newark the Coast Sub takes off across the slat flats of the South Bay area which hosts to a number of saltwater evaporation operations. 

The Great American Commuter Station serves the adjacent Levi's Stadium, which is the new home of the Santa Clara 49ers. Both Capitol Corridor and Altamont Commuter Express trains stop here and the VTA light rail line runs on overhead.

The Southern Pacific's Agnew station may not be used anymore, but it still sports mileage information listing Oakland and New Orleans, over 2000 miles away.

At CP-COAST the Coast Sub enters Caltrain jurisdiction for the San Jose terminal area. My Train 11 quickly passed a northbound Caltrain local stopped at the new Santa Clara island platform that serves both Caltrain and ACE commuter trains. Power is provided by Caltrain F40PH-2CAT #916.

In the San Jose car washer is class leading F40PH-2CAT #900.

On a weekday morning there weren't many trainsets in the Caltrain maintenance yard.

Hanging out on the platform for another extended stop at San Jose.

The prickly pears were fruiting and I took the liberty of picking a few for later. Pro tip, use cloves.

As we were waiting a southbound Baby Bullet trainset pulled in with MP36PH-3C #924 on point.

Remember Amtrak P42 #172 and Train 527? Well it caught up to as as we departed the station terminal after taking an extended stop at San Jose.

While that is technically the end of Amtrak's Capitol Corridor, we are still running on the Caltrain commuter line, which sees a sizable number of weekday trains originating and terminating at the Tamien station, just south of San Jose. One such train is waiting to depart with F40PH-2CAT #902.

South of Tamien is the ACE layover yard with all the in service trainsets as they wait out the day after their peak direction runs. Included among these are MPI build F40PH-2C's #3103 and #3105.

While Caltrain runs about 40 additional miles south to Gilroy, UP takes over maintenance and dispatching at LICK interlocking. The track numbers also flip and the radio channels change.

Shrinking to a single track, this extreme southern part of the Caltrain line sees service only on weekdays. Stations like Morgan Hill see three peak direction round trips with a 2 hour running time to San Francisco. 

At Gilroy, some 77 miles from Oakland, the UP Coast Sub main line makes a slight jog to the east to avoid the Caltrain station and yard.  This is the last stop on the Caltrain line.  Between here and points south only Amtrak provides the service.

Here we end this section of my Coast Starlight trip. Tune in next week as we continue south to Saint Luis Obispo and beyond.

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