The Capitol Corridor (CC) commuter train makes daily runs between Auburn, east of Sacramento, to the San Francisco Bay Area and San Jose. The CC is operated by the Capitol Corridor Joint Powers Authority (CCJPA), a partnership among six local transportation agencies to share in the management of the CC. The CCJPA partners with Amtrak to provide service to 17 stations along a 170-mile rail corridor. The CC is quite popular, with ridership currently running at nearly 1.5 million per year. July of this year saw 161,000 passengers on the CC; a new record and a 33% increase from last year.
I’m fortunate enough to live within 5 miles of a CC station and I take full advantage by riding the train to work 4 days a week. My current routine is to ride my bike 5 miles to the train station, store my bike in a City bike locker, take the train into downtown Sacramento, then walk the 5 blocks to my office on the other end.
Most of the CC train cars have a bike rack that holds 3 bikes, and often (but not always) the last car is a baggage car. The baggage car can accommodate approximately 12 bikes. With such a dramatic increase in ridership this year, there were days when every rack on the train was full and bikes were overflowing into the passenger areas. I’m guessing on those days there were at least 25-30 bikes on the train.
The above photo is of the baggage/bike area. Eight bikes can be stored on the racks in the photo, with 3 more racks behind and out of view of the camera. As you can see, bike ridership was light today. This will be my first winter riding the CC; it will be interesting to see if bike ridership drops off as the weather gets cooler and the days get shorter.
In my experience, the conductors on the CC have been very accommodating to cyclists. I’ve seen them go out of their way to help recumbent riders store their bikes, and I’ve even had a conductor—who happens to be a Brompton rider—show me all of the places to stash a folded Brompton on the train.
I feel fortunate to have access to the Capitol Corridor; it’s relatively fast and efficient, and it’s far more comfortable and accommodating to cyclists than the commuter bus alternatives in the area.