Madera is the surprisingly the only station on the entire San Joaquin corridor that has absolutely no intermodal connections like a local bus service and is completely remote with nothing other than houses and some farms within walking distance in its subdivision of Madera Ares. During my hour an half stay there between trains #702 and #712 (the shortest possible layover on the San Joaquin's schedule) I heard a rooster crowing for most of my stay. The current modern station platform that I consider a model of how to build a welcoming yet simple $2 million station (and not an Amshak) opened on November 4, 2010. The area previously had been served by an Amshak 3 miles south of the current location (photos) at Ave 15½ at 29 Road, still labeled on Google as Amtrak-MDR and is still visible through Street View. The stop is first listed in Amtrak timetables for the one daily San Joaquin round-trip as a flag stop in the January 1978 timetable and as on a trial period, requiring sufficient ridership to be continued. This note (by a symbol) lasts in the timetables for the first few years, by 1980 it is gone and the stop is made permanent.
Today's station consists of a single concrete mini-high platform for level boarding with the Amtrak California doors with a yellow tactile warning strip. This platform begins just north of the grade crossing with Road 26 but wide white tubes form a fence (with an opening) making it clear the platform is not to be legally accessed from here. Along the platform are a line of 7 ornate black lampposts each holding up two lights. Towards its mid section is the one amenity for waiting passengers a small blue roofed canopy held up by 4 columns that have been given a decorative brown finish. Beneath are four blue metal benches and a mesh windscreen. There is also an Amtrak California LED sign that displays and audibly broadcasts next train information within a half-hour of departures. Above engraved on the top of the canopy is one of two Madera signs. Next to the canopy is the other sign, on an Amtrak information panel that is along a station entrance at a car loop, blocked by both plastic and metal bollards to prevent cars from driving on to the platform. This car loop has 17 parking spaces plus two accessible ones along it and a turnaround circle where plants are starting to grow in the middle of it. This leads out to a short, sidewalk-less access road out to Road 26. The only sign for the station from the access road is a stop sign with the number 18870 on it, the station's address.
2014: Looking out the window of a passing San Joaquin Train, the station has received a number of improvements. The biggest is a new small building behind the original, single blue roofed shelter. This building has a blue roof but is angled overly in the southwestern instead of the northeast direction. This is because it has solar panels on it and new solar panels are now on top of the blue roofed shelter. The building houses a white enclosed area with doors leading directly into two, ADA compliant doors to two single person restrooms. Next to this is an area with a roll-up door that I assume is for the now required mobile lift for the single-level trainset that began running in October 2013. The wheelchair mobile lift was visible outside just behind the (original) windscreen at the back of the original platform canopy. Finally the new roof covers a porch held up by similar (but white) columns to the original canopy. It covers a few four more blue benches for additional seating. A new Quick-Trak Machine has been installed beneath the original shelter. The middle of circle at the station's drop-off area now has a flagpole.
Photos 1-57 taken on 21 February, 2011, 58-60: 19 January, 2014
Last Updated: 21 March, 2011