Berkeley, CA is a small secondary local station on the Capitol Corridor, which are the only trains that serve it, all do make the stop (there no expresses). San Joaquins and the Long Distance California Zephyr and Coast Starlight Trains all bypass the station. The staffed Emeryville station is only 1.9 miles away, the trip takes just 4 minutes. This isn't the record though for closest Amtrak Staitons, for example, the Boston South and Back Bay Stations are 1.1 miles apart.
The was originally opened in late 1985 or early 1986 and served the two daily Amtrak San Joaquin Trains stopping at the simple platform. The only other two trains in Northern California in the 1980s were the long-distance Coast Starlight and California Zephyr they have never stopped at Berkeley. On December 12, 1991 the Capitols began operating, stopping at Berkeley. San Joaquin trains eventually began bypassing Berkeley at some point between October 1998 and May 1999 leaving the Capitol Corridor to be the only train service the station that continues to this day.
The station itself has a very short side platform (for about two cars, trains often will make double-spots at this station) that is a nestled beneath the bridge of University Avenue that continues over I-80 a few blocks away. The line is completely at grade-level and the grade crossings of Addison Street and Hearst Avenue are north and south of the station. The platform is along the the east track normally used by northbound trains so southbound trains stop at pedestrian crossings over this track with two sets of doors for two Capitol Corridor trains normally aligning with this concrete track-level platform. In my case boarding a southbound train here the doors didn't align and the conductor grabbed a stool and had us board via the ballast, apologizing that there is a new engineer who didn't know where to stop the train. The platform except for its two dips for the track crossings to the opposite track is the usual raised heigh for minimal stepping required on and off trains.
The station has very few amenities and the current few were completed in 2005. Most passengers access the station via a bus loop that loops down from the University Avenue bridge to a bus stop under the bridge. It is here that the platform has a small awning that hangs from the support beams of the bridge and covers benches, a mural of passengers getting on and off an Amtrak train plus two Quik-Trak machines for ticketing. On both sides red letters in an odd font spell Berkeley Station. There is also a train LED display and some information panels, some about Amtrak, some about Berkeley. A sign memorializes Scott Slaughter who died getting hit by a train trying to cross at the station The rest of the platform is bare except for green lampposts and modern silver and blue Amtrak signs. These include a while bar beneath Berkeley, CA with arrows and the directions of travel to Sacramento/Bakersfield and Oakland/San Jose. At the northern end of the platform (beyond the car spot signs) is a brown wheelchair lift enclosure.
Just south of the underpass is the original Berkeley Station that is an SP single story Mission Revival Depot built in 1913. It is currently a restaurant with no public waiting rooms for those waiting for trains. Just south of the restaurant is a second entrance to the station platform from Essex Way at its southern end.
Photos 1-4: 19 April, 2006, 5-11: 17 March, 2010, 12&13: 13 March, 2010, 14-46: 16 June, 2013
Last Updated: 23 July, 2013