All aboard train 532 leaving from San Jose Diredon all the way to Davis! We are departing right on schedule today folks, at exactly 12:20 as promised and will be arriving in Davis at around 2:57 pm. My name is Sharani Ramesh, a frequent passenger on this particular train journey, and today I will be guiding you listeners through the scenic and thoroughly relaxing train ride down Capitol Corridor to our desired destination, Davis, California. Capitol corridor was established in 1991 as an alternative to traveling the jam-packed interstate 880(Great American Stations, p.1). This fine Monday morning, I board the train with one backpack and one suitcase. On the Amtrak, one is allowed to bring two personal items and 2 bags, the former limited to 25 pounds, and the latter limited to 50 pounds (Amtrak Baggage p.1). You can get kicked right out of the train or charged a hefty price if rules are not followed. Today I will be exploring the question, “What kinds of things can one experience on this beautiful train journey? What sights can one see and how comfortable is the train overall?” In my travels I found the Amtrak to be a very lovely journey because of it’s well-furnished cars, readily available Cafe car, beautiful views, and kind services.
I will begin with describing the overall interior of the train and how Amtrak makes its journeys more comfortable with the accommodations it provides. The downstairs seating area of the train is for disabled or elderly persons only and since I am neither of those things I drag my luggage up the narrow staircase lined with informative fliers about the Amtrak schedule and rules that must be followed on the train. I come up to the mostly empty fourth car of the train. Dark blue seats draped in white cloth on the headrest greet me. Most of the seats are in pairs facing opposite of the train’s direction and a few groups of four seats surround wide gray tables. Windows are present on all sides for our viewing pleasure and ample sunlight filters into the elegant train car. I choose the seat with the table as I need to take notes of this train journey for the benefit of you folks. It’s 12:20 and we’re off right on schedule, just another benefit of traveling Amtrak! It is mostly always on time! The conductor, a tall man in polished uniform passes through the car with a rather serious expression on his face. He scans my printed ticket and pins a pink slip of paper above my seat with the letter “D” written on it, indicating that my stop is Davis. This way, the conductor can give the passenger a reminder before his or her stop so there is no chance of falling asleep and missing your station!
Capitol Corridor is a thoroughly beautiful route, which increases the pleasure of this ride. I will take a moment to point out the beautiful sights that I view as the train journey progresses. As we slowly begin to make our way to our first stop, Santa Clara university station, I notice that the scenery is the city of San Jose. A vision of bustling city life, houses, buildings, all under a serenely blue sky and bordered by the ever present hills of the Silicon Valley. We begin to pass a vast man-made lake with the city rising in the distance. The water is calm and a healthy blue color crisscrossed with small strips of land here and there. We pass through the city of Santa Clara, elegant and lined with mission bell lampposts giving the whole place a rustic appeal. The train comes to a stop in front of an old fashioned train station with a very old antique train, elegantly poised in front of the wooden structure. It is a historic train depot. A truly beautiful and historic sight to behold. The train is kind enough to wait for a man running late as he hurries into the car with a bike helmet in his hand. He sits down, relieved as the train begins to move seconds later. The train begins to move again, charging down the tracks towards the next station, Santa Clara Great America. The cityscape is much the same, pleasant and traditional. Inside the car a man with dark glasses, dozes in the sun. The other three passengers relax with their phones as the train pulls into its next stop. Soon we pass through Oakland Coliseum, Jack London, Emeryville and Berkeley. The hills turn into tall buildings, majestic and spiraling, a high contrast to the graffiti spattered walls that fringe the rest of the city. The window is so wide that sitting from your seat you can just watch the world go by. As cities turn to wetlands and wetlands into seascape, the lull of the train will ease you into a comfortable reverie. We pass by the vast pacific ocean coastline. And I stand up to watch the sea from all the windows. It’s breathtaking.
As we roll along I decide to explore the different parts of the car. Mainly the cafe car. Another way that Amtrak ensures the comfort of its passengers and enhances the train riding experience is by providing them with everybody’s most favorite thing, food! The Cafe car is located in the third car upstairs. Elegantly furnished, the cafe car stands before me. The design looks much like a little diner. There are small booths and tables. On the far side is the kitchen and serving counter. The kitchen actually looks much like that of an airplane kitchen. Everything is compact and stowed in narrow metallic drawers and cabinets, labeled and neatly organized. The smell is warm and wonderful, like a sandwich shop. The Amtrak Cafe Car is available on short-distance trains and serves food like pizza, sandwiches, chips and even wine(Cafe Car p.1 ,p.2). They accept payment in credit or debit card on all trains(Cafe Car p.3). I stand in the sunny cafe car for a little while and gaze out the window. As we travel along passing through Fremont and then Hayward, the scenes are changing. From cold cityscape, we ease into beautiful rolling hills and wide open plains. I walk back to my seat, secure with the knowledge that food is readily available. I notice that on the wall of the car is a sign that says. “Free Wi-fi”(Amtrak Wi-fi p.1). I open my laptop to test it out. The connection is a tad slow but it’s good overall. This train gives you the opportunity to relax, watch the scenery, eat and work all at once. Very relaxing.
I then take a moment to explore the downstairs seating area. Downstairs it is wide and spacious. This is where the elderly and disabled are seated. There are individual seats down here as well as a place to keep baggage. The conductor gives ample warning before the next stop so you would have enough time to run down grab your bag and head out before the train leaves again. Or you could keep your bag with you under your feet as I chose to do. I return to my seat and notice we are drawing closer to Davis. Beautiful marshlands and wetlands filled with black water fowl with white tipped beaks rush by. It turns into agricultural lands as we pass Richmond, Martinez, and Suisun Fairfield. From that stop Davis is 23 minutes away and that’s plenty of time to relax more before you have to get off. The scenery is enough to put you at ease.
“Davis next stop!” Calls the conductor. I sit at the edge of my seat with my luggage ready to run down to the exit the minute the train comes to a halt. Because of Amtrak’s excellent timing, I don’t even have to run! I leisurely stroll out of the train without a care. I have successfully made it from San Jose all the way to Davis via Amtrak train.
And so, if you folks are ever wondering how to get from San Jose to Davis in a relaxing fashion, please consider taking the Amtrak train. It does its job by avoiding traffic congestion and providing you with a luxurious, beautiful, and peaceful train journey with comfortable accommodations for all ages. So please, take the Amtrak the next time you are headed towards Davis!
See you next time!
Thanks for listening!
1) “Amtrak Page.” Train & Bus Tickets - National Railroad - USA & Canada | Amtrak, www.amtrak.com/home.html.
2) “Santa Clara–University, CA (SCC).” Great American Stations, www.greatamericanstations.com/stations/santa-clara-university-ca-scc/.
3)“Amtrak Page.” Café Car | Amtrak, www.amtrak.com/cafe-car.
4) “Amtrak Page.” Journey with Wi-Fi® | Amtrak, www.amtrak.com/onboard/journey-with-wi-fi-train-station.html?content=.