The Santa Clara station is not a bad walk from the hotel, unless one is toting a kit bag and a few extra items. There are some pictures of the station, which you wouldn't want to build in Stanley, North Dakota, and the rapid transit service, which has stops that are not bad walking distances from the hotel and the station, again, unless one is toting ... (The taxi service is prompt and reasonably priced.) In February 2009, I did use the rapid transit to get from the airport to the hotel. That post offers pictures of the rapid transit and the Santa Clara station. The picture here shows how the overpass has been strengthened for the rapid transit.
Amtrak Capitol Corridor service 724, 3 July 2010: Leave Santa Clara 8:05; Fremont 8:21:38 - 8:22:31; Hayward 8:36:38 - 8:37:14; Coliseum 8:45:46 - 8:46:34; Jack London Square 8:54:22 - 8:56:40, Eleven out on adjacent track 8:55:40; Emeryville 9:04:12.
It's Saturday, but the train is comfortably full, and the Emeryville station is full of passengers, many for Six, some for points west, those for 724 All Aboard.
Here's Sacramento - San Jose Saturday train 727. I did well with sunny days in places like Portland and the Bay Area better known for their fog and rain.
Advertising on the sides of cars isn't just for War Bonds campaigns anymore.
There's a coach yard west of the station. The station itself has enough space free of road crossings that Six can roll in and make a leisurely boarding, with sufficient time to get the consist and photograph the train in the act of loading.
Amtrak 6 California Zephyr, Emeryville - Elko, 3 July 2010: Genesis diesels 19 - 151 running elephant style, baggage car 1216, transition sleeper 39006, Superliner sleepers 32047 - 32042, diner 38043, Sightseer lounge 33030, coaches 34096 - 34054 - 34012. The train is properly marshalled for coach passengers to reach the lounge without having to pass through the diner.
Leave Emeryville 9:49:17 (timetable 9:50; my watch not set to a standard clock.)
Before Southern Pacific built its bridge across the upper bay, it ferried trains from a terminal at Port Costa. One of the ferryboats burned at the terminal sometime after the bridge opened. Its remains have never been removed.
Martinez 10:23:07 - 10:28:52, one detraining passenger missed the stop, will ride to Davis. With more frequent service in the corridor, that mistake will not ruin his whole day. East of Sacramento, a missed train, or a late train, means a serious change of plans.
Six is on the other side of the split-grade track configuration east of the bridge. The mothball fleet is closer, and the eastbound track is higher than the autorack yard, offering a view of the ships.
Davis 11:08:14 - 11:10:24; arrive Sacramento 11:24:35.
The sleeper attendant warns me not to go too far from the train. No worries, as there's a Starbucks in the old express building just the other side of the rapid transit. That's not a bad cross-platform connection to the rapid transit, either from the east end of the train, or from cars spotted closer to the station building.
Leave Sacramento 11:48:58, time for lunch. The rapid transit line parallels the Southern Pacific on the north side, in full sun. The air conditioning is useful with outside temperatures in the low nineties. (It's a dry heat.)
Roseville 12:12 - 12:16. The station and platform have been rebuilt, but much of the trackage laid for multiple sections of the Overland Limited and for adding eastbound helpers has been removed.
Colfax 1:16 - 1:17; Sightseer Lounge filling up for a good view of the Sierra crossing. There's a National Park Service guide aboard, but the sound system isn't working well.
I've not been able to figure out from the maps and books I have what this abandoned snowshed is. It's on the western slope, but a considerable distance east of the summit, where there once was an enclosed turntable.
The concrete relay cases date to the era of General Railway Signal semaphores. Those are long gone, but the triple searchlight signals that replaced them still cycle from green through yellow to red as the train passes.
Outside temperatures are still high, but last winter's snowpack hasn't all melted.
Pass Norden 3:06; Summit 3:14. The eastern slope follows the Truckee River to Reno. It's a pleasant Saturday and the fishermen and rafters are out.
Further downstream is an honest-to-Paul Bunyan flume.
Truckee 3:36:42 - 3:39:38; enter Nevada at Verdi (pronounced vair-dye, nuh-va-duh) 4:20; arrive Reno 4:40:24. Union Pacific has entrenched through Reno, freeing up the road crossings the trains used to block. The crew change also takes place at Reno, no more hitting the slot machines in the waiting room at Sparks.
Leave Reno 4:50:18; pass Sparks 4:56; pass Lovelock, also once a stop 6:37. Dinnertime. Food included in the fare, never mind the diet: steak medium rare.
The stacks are coming off the west end of the paired tracks at Winnemucca. Winnemucca 7:38 - 7:48; Elko 9:55:06 - 10:10:25, set watch to Mountain Time; bedtime.
(to be continued)