Northern California A Bright Spot For Train Travel

<p>The Captiol Corridor between Sacramento and the San Francisco Bay Area -- Amtrak's third most popular line -- celebrates its 15-year anniversary and reports growing ridership and rider satisfaction.</p>
December 16, 2006, 7am PST | Irvin Dawid
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"Fifteen years ago, Amtrak and Caltrans began a new passenger train service connecting the Bay Area and Sacramento with three round-trip trains a day...Today, the rail service runs 16 round-trip trains between Oakland and Sacramento, including seven of those that go as far as San Jose and one that goes to and from Auburn. A total of 1.3 million passengers rode the Capitols in the past 12 months compared with 273,000 in the first year of operations.

And the train has become the third-most popular line in Amtrak's national passenger rail network, behind the New York-Washington Northeast corridor trains and the Pacific Surfliner between San Luis Obispo and San Diego."

"Although Amtrak operates the service, it is subsidized by the state through Caltrans, managed by the Bay Area Rapid Transit District and overseen by a seven-county joint-powers authority. That potentially bureaucratic arrangement, required by state legislation in 1996, hasn't proven to be a problem, said Eugene Skoropowski, managing director of the rail service said."

"Skoropowski, who has presided over the Capitol Corridor boom over the last seven years, said the secret is simple: Give people trains that depart frequently, make the trip in a reasonable amount of time, and are fairly reliable. When he took over as head of the Capitol Corridor, he stressed the addition of trains as his top priority. Now, he brags that the frequency of Capitol Corridor trains is equal to those on the Northeast corridor."

{Correspondent note: And they continue to have a well-stocked cafe car, an absolute essential for those early morning trips to the state capital from the Bay Area!}

Thanks to Mike Keenly

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