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The San Joaquin (sometimes referred to as San Joaquins) is a passenger train operated by Amtrak in Californiamarker's Central Valleymarker. The train's southern terminus is at Bakersfieldmarker and is operated twelve times each day with a destination/origin of either Oaklandmarker or Sacramentomarker. At Bakersfield, Thruway Motorcoach bus service connects to Los Angelesmarker Union Stationmarker and points in Southern California, the High Desert and the Central Coastmarker. The San Joaquin does not continue south of Bakersfield because the only line between Bakersfield and points south, via Tehachapi Passmarker, is the world's busiest single-track freight rail line.


The San Joaquin originates at Bakersfield's Truxtun Avenue Stationmarker and operates northward on BNSF Railway's Mojave Subdivision within Bakersfield, the Bakersfield Subdivision from Bakersfield to Calwamarker (Fresnomarker), then on the Stockton Subdivision from Calwa to Stocktonmarker.

At Stockton, the train travels on one of two routes depending on its final destination of either Sacramentomarker or Oaklandmarker:

*The Oakland segment continues west on the Stockton Subdivision to Port Chicagomarker. At Port Chicago, the train crosses over to the Union Pacific Railroad's Tracy Subdivision to Martinezmarker, continues on the Martinez Subdivision to Emeryvillemarker, and finally a short distance on the Niles Subdivision to Oakland's Jack London Square stationmarker.

*Trains headed to the Sacramento Valley Rail Stationmarker diverge in Stockton and operate north to Sacramento on Union Pacific's Fresno Subdivision and on the Martinez Subdivision within Sacramento.

Rolling stock

The San Joaquin is equipped with Amtrak California-fleet (bi-level, high-capacity) passenger cars of several types: coach-baggage car, cafe (dining) car, coach car, cab car, and cab-baggage car. A cab car is a typical coach with an engineer's operating cab and headlights on one end, allowing the train to be operated in push-pull mode, which eliminates the need to turn the train at each end-point. A cab-baggage is similar, but with space dedicated on the car's lower level for checked-luggage storage.

Two types of locomotives are used on the San Joaquin. The EMD F59PHI, road numbers CDTX 2001-2015, and the GE P32-8WH , road numbers CDTX 2051-2052. These locomotives are owned by the California Department of Transportation and carry its CDTX reporting marks. However, other locomotives can occasionally be seen on the San Joaquin, including Amtrak-owned Dash 8s and P42DC. Amtrak California locomotives and cars have a paint scheme unique to California, so they are easily recognizable.

A typical San Joaquin train consists of a locomotive and four cars, as follows:
  • Locomotive (end pointed towards Oakland/Sacramento)
  • Coach-Baggage Car
  • Coach Car
  • Cafe Car
  • Cab Car (end pointed towards Bakersfield)


  • Locomotive (end pointed towards Oakland/Sacramento)
  • Coach Car
  • Coach Car
  • Cafe Car
  • Cab-Baggage Car (end pointed towards Bakersfield)

During some holiday seasons additional coaches may be added, resulting in five- and six-car trains.


The San Joaquin has existed since 1974. Its service has increased from one round trip per day to four round trips to Oakland, plus two round trips to Sacramento.

The San Joaquin operates over rail lines that once hosted several competing trains each day. The two primary trains originating in the Central Valley were the Golden Gate, originally operated by the Santa Fe Railway (predecessor to BNSF), and the San Joaquin Daylight operated by Southern Pacific Railroad (later acquired by Union Pacific).

In April 1965, as car travel increased and ridership on passenger trains began their precipitous decline, the Santa Fe Railway got permission from the the Interstate Commerce Commission to severely curtail Golden Gate operations, with service finally abandoned three years later. The San Joaquin Daylight was discontinued with the start-up of Amtrak in May 1971.

Other passenger trains that previously ran through the Central Valley included Southern Pacific's Owl and Santa Fe's San Francisco Chief and Valley Flyer.

Proposed high-speed rail line

Studies are underway and a $9 billion ballot initiative was approved by the voters of the State of Californiamarker in November 2008 to approve a high speed rail link between Northern and Southern California. The route would run through the San Joaquin Valley.


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