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The Sacramento SP Train Station is a large historic Renaissance Revival station built in 1926. The San Francisco architectural firm of Bliss and Faville designed the station. The main waiting area has a large 40-foot high domed ceiling. The walls are mostly painted white but the woodwork around the decorative ceiling is Philippine mahogany with marble floors. High above one end of the station is a mural by John A. MacQuarrie of "Breaking ground at Sacramento for the First Transcontinental Railroad." Furnishings for passengers in the middle are a number of large historic wooden benches with built in heat. Along the north wall, closest to the tracks, are two separate Amtrak offices, one for ticketing and a different one (with a large sign over it) for Baggage Check. There are also restrooms (with a huge Amtrak Customers Only sign) and a couple Quik-Track machines and a security desk. There is surprisingly no food service inside the station itself. The former Railway Express Annex, built at the same time as the historic station, is just next to it and has been converted to commercial uses with a Starbucks (opening at 4:30am weekdays, 5:00am on weekends, although not quite early enough to get something before the earliest Amtrak departures of the Capitol Corridor at 4:30am and 5:40am respectively) and an Italian Restaurant.

The two historic buildings are located on a large block set back from I Street with a large parking lot and the main station drop-off area. 5 Street is along the eastern side of the station (and the east side of the Railway Express Annex) and curves and becomes H Street parallel to the tracks beyond the end of the station building. The west side of the station area is bounded by I-5 that crosses over the tracks. At the corner of I Street and 5 Street is a modern grand sign for the station with a small clock on top of a brick tower on one side. The sign says Sacramento Valley Station listing Capitol Corridor, San Joaquin Corridor, Amtrak, and Regional Transit as the stations tenants.

Leaving the station to head towards the trains is quite confusing. There is a driveway that is just an extension of H Street with a sign restricting use to taxis and buses between the station and all tracks. This driveway contains 8 pull in and back out intercity bus bays for Amtrak Thruway Bus connections. The bays are along the station side of the driveway and are covered by a green canopy structure.

On the otherside of the driveway is the light rail track for the Sacramento Valley Station, the single platform terminus of the Regional Transit Gold Line. This station opened as a short 5 block, .7 mile extension of this line with a grand-opening on Friday, December 8, 2006. The light rail has a small low-level platform with the required mini-high platforms for ADA access at each end of the platform along the station's driveway. Each of the mini-high platforms has a simple green canopy structure with a red roof. In the middle of the platform are three more canopies for waiting passengers including one covering the light rail TVMs since the light rail is a proof-of-payment system. Beyond the end of the light rail platform the tracks continue and split into two allowing for a train staging area before ending at bumper blocks along the ends of the original Amtrak platforms.

Adjacent to the light rail track are the two former Amtrak platforms. These two platforms were originally both island platforms for what were once 7 tracks. Two more platforms are long removed. The platform farthest from the station is still an island and served tracks 3 and 4. The closer track has its own platform for track 2 and that is all it serves with the light rail track(s) replacing track 1. The western half of this platform has a fence running down the middle of it and its still open. The side of the fence not along the track is the start of a part of a public path that extends down the platform, and around the bumper blocks of the light rail stub tracks and beyond the turning loop of the dead-head of H Street. The path continues under I-5 and leads down to the northern side of Old Sacramento (That includes the California State Railway Museum). The path opened in 1999.

These two platforms and three tracks were in use until August 12, 2012. On this date trains moved to the new Sacramento Valley Station platform complex about 600 feet north of the original platforms. This location is on the northern side of the large train yard that was once north of the tracks and is now being further developed into the Sacramento Intermodal Center. Since the three tracks have been removed, the two platforms remain fully lit with tactile warning strips chipping and the track signs still in place. The new tracks are numbered 3 through 6. Each platform still has its Butterfly canopy covering its entire length complete with blue signs for Sacramento. The LED information displays that are at most Amtrak California Station still list the departure information for the next trains at the new platform complex. The PA system on the platforms still works so passengers walking by are bombarded by station security and other advisory messages.

To reach these platforms passengers originally had two choices: one is a pedestrian tunnel. This has two ramps down from each platform that lead under the H Street driveway before going up another ramp and entering the station directly with another ramp at doors at the east end of the waiting room. The other is grade crossing with a crosswalk across H Street, then the light rail tracks and finally across the middle of the platforms. This grade crossing (now over only the stub-ends of the light rail tracks) has been kept and is the start of the 600-foot pedestrian path out to the new Sacramento Valley Station Amtrak platforms.
Photos 1-10: taken on 3 March, 2010; 11-30: 11 February, 2012; 31-68: 12 February, 2012; 69: 13 February, 2012; 70: 14 February, 2012; 71-89 16 June, 2013; 90-109: 17 June, 2013; 110-112: 18 January, 2014

Historic Amtrak Station, Light Rail Platforms|Current (2013-) Modern, Faraway Platform Area
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Looking across from the Amtrak platform to the Light Rail Platform
Passengers get off the Coast Starlight, using the ramp down to the tunnel off the platform
The ramp down to the Station waiting room
CAF LRV #223 stopped on the single-track terminus
The area just before the ramp down to the tunnel into the station
A sign for Sacramento on the original platforms
The crossing from the original Amtrak platforms to the station beyond (streetside)
An Amtrak Sacramento sign and an light rail vehicle behind
View out the back window of the departing California Zephyr from the original Amtrak platforms
Continuing to leave the now closed Amtrak platforms at Sacramento, originally there was at least one more track
P42 #92 and a Capitol Corridor Train on a siding at the original station
The California Zephyr has arrived in Sacramento as the baggage car is serviced
Getting off the Zephyr a few benches line the narrow Amtrak platforms
Sign for the Crossing to the Baggage Claim and Buses & Taxis, blocked by the California Zephyr, everyone must take the Subway to Station
The ramp down to the Subway to Station
Sign in the subway for Tracks 3 & 4 Locations R - Z
In the middle of the wide subway under the station tracks and roadway into the station
Up the ramp from the subway directly into the station
Windows at the end of the pedestrian subway into the train station
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Historic Amtrak Station, Light Rail Platforms|Current (2013-) Modern, Faraway Platform Area
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Sacramento Regional Transit

Last Updated: 27 January, 2015
All photos are by Jeremiah Cox
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