Santa Clara Transit Center

Coordinates: 37°21′11″N 121°56′11″W / 37.35306°N 121.93639°W / 37.35306; -121.93639
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Santa Clara
The 1863-built station building in 2012
General information
Location1001 Railroad Avenue
Santa Clara, California
United States
Coordinates37°21′11″N 121°56′11″W / 37.35306°N 121.93639°W / 37.35306; -121.93639
Owned byPeninsula Corridor Joint Powers Board
Line(s)Caltrain Peninsula Subdivision
UP Coast Line[1]
Platforms1 side platform, 1 island platform
ConnectionsBus transport VTA Bus: 21, 22, 53, 59, 60, Rapid 522
Air transport San José International Airport (via VTA Bus 60)
Parking321 spaces[2]
Bicycle facilities18 racks, 8 lockers
Other information
Station codeAmtrak: SCC
Fare zone4 (Caltrain)
OpenedLate 1863
Original companySouthern Pacific
Feb 20181,097 weekday avg.[3]Increase 6.1% (Caltrain)
FY 202221,489 annually[4] (Amtrak)
Preceding station Amtrak Following station
Santa Clara–Great America
toward Auburn
Capitol Corridor San Jose
     Coast Starlight does not stop here
Preceding station Caltrain Following station
Lawrence Local (L1) San Jose Diridon or College Park
Weekend Local (L2) San Jose Diridon
Sunnyvale Limited (L4) San Jose Diridon or College Park
Limited (L5) San Jose Diridon
     Limited (L3) does not stop here
     Baby Bullet (B7) does not stop here
Preceding station Altamont Corridor Express Following station
Great America
toward Stockton
San Jose – Stockton San Jose
Former services
Preceding station Southern Pacific Railroad Following station
Lawrence Coast Line San Jose
Mountain View Del Monte San Jose
toward Monterey
Agnew Oakland – San Jose San Jose
Lawrence Peninsula Commute College Park
toward San Jose
Future services
Preceding station Bay Area Rapid Transit Following station
toward Daly City
Green Line Terminus
toward Richmond
Orange Line
Santa Clara Depot
ArchitectSF & SJ Railroad
NRHP reference No.85000359 [5]
Added to NRHPFebruary 28, 1985

Santa Clara Transit Center (also called Santa Clara–University by Amtrak) is a railway station in downtown Santa Clara, California. It is served by Caltrain, Amtrak Capitol Corridor, and Altamont Corridor Express (ACE) trains. It is the planned terminus for the Silicon Valley BART extension into Santa Clara County. The former station building, constructed in 1863 by the San Francisco and San Jose Railroad, is used by the Edward Peterman Museum of Railroad History.

Station design[edit]

The pedestrian tunnel in 2012

The station is an intermodal transportation center, with Caltrain and Altamont Corridor Express train service and bus service operated by the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA). The station is served by VTA Bus routes 21, 22, 53, 59, 60 to San José International Airport, and Rapid 522.

The station has a side platform serving the southbound Caltrain track (Track 3) and an island platform for the northbound Caltrain track (Track 2) and the ACE/Amtrak track (Track 1). The island platform is connected to the side platform by a pedestrian tunnel that was completed in 2012. Additional tracks northeast of Track 1 are used by Union Pacific freight trains.

Siding track ← UP freight trains →
Track 1[1] Altamont Corridor Express Altamont Corridor Express toward Stockton (Great America) or San Jose (terminus)
Amtrak Capitol Corridor toward Sacramento (Santa Clara – Great America) or San Jose (terminus)
Island platform
Track 2[1] Caltrain Caltrain toward San Francisco (Lawrence or Sunnyvale)
Track 3[1] Caltrain Caltrain toward San Jose or Gilroy (San Jose or College Park)
Side platform


The Coast Daylight at Santa Clara in 1971
The station building in 1974

The Santa Clara depot, built by the San Francisco and San Jose Railroad in late 1863, was the oldest continuously operating railroad depot in the State of California until the ticket office was closed in May 1997. The original 24-by-50-foot (7.3 m × 15.2 m) board and batten depot was one of the two "way stations" built between San Francisco and San Jose. Plans for a railroad linking San Francisco and San Jose began as early as 1851. Though the 1851 scheme ultimately failed, the incorporation of the San Francisco and San Jose Railroad in 1859 met with success. Most of the financing for the project came from county government in San Francisco, San Mateo and Santa Clara counties, with the University of Santa Clara and local industry also playing a significant role in both stock acquisition and choice of placement of the depot in Santa Clara.

The first passenger service to San Francisco started in January 1864. The Southern Pacific Railroad acquired the San Francisco & San Jose Railroad in 1868. The depot, originally on the east side of the tracks, was moved to its present location in 1877 and attached to the existing 32-by-50-foot (9.8 m × 15.2 m) freight house constructed several years earlier. Because of the large volume of agricultural freight shipped from the depot, the freight house was increased in size at that time to its present dimensions of 32 by 160 feet (9.8 m × 48.8 m).

On November 1, 1877, the San Jose Mercury reported the facility nearing completion. Following construction of the railroad, farming and fruit-related industries developed in the Santa Clara area, with the depot serving as a focal point for shipping. Rail service provided the direct link to San Francisco and, in the later 1870s, to Southern California. Typical of these efforts were those of James A. Dawson, who pioneered the area's fruit-canning industry in 1871. By the turn of the century, the Pratt-Low Preserving Company, the largest fruit packing plant in central California, was located just south of the depot.

The California Department of Transportation acquired the depot from Southern Pacific in 1980. It was placed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1985. In cooperation with the South Bay Historical Railroad Society, a nonprofit group founded the same year, they began renovation work in 1986 on the depot, by then badly in need of repair. A group of volunteers spent over 25,000 hours hauling away debris, replacing support timbers, siding, exterior decking and interior flooring, scraping peeling paint, painting and many other repairs. With the major renovation complete since 1992, this 156-year-old building hosts a railroad library and museum with 2 large model railroad layouts and many other artifacts while still serving its original function as a passenger depot.

Santa Clara was added as a station for the Altamont Corridor Express (ACE) on March 5, 2001. ACE service to the station was discontinued on July 29, 2005, to allow for platform construction. ACE service to Santa Clara resumed on May 14, 2012; Amtrak Capitol Corridor trains began stopping at the station on May 21.[6]: 9 [7][8]


Santa Clara is planned to be the terminal station for the second phase of the Silicon Valley BART extension. Santa Clara was chosen as the terminal because of the access to the San Jose International Airport as well as the proposed BART maintenance facility located in the vicinity of the station at the former Union Pacific rail yard. A new island platform will be constructed with a pedestrian underpass. An 800-space parking facility is included in the plans, and VTA is expected to develop transit oriented spaces adjacent the station.[9][10]

The station was considered for California High-Speed Rail, but was rejected on the grounds that it was too close to the nearby, and much larger, Diridon Station in San Jose, and that the airport traffic that it would receive would not be enough to justify maintaining a separate station. It was also considered as the terminal for a people mover to the airport; however, San Jose Diridon was later chosen as the terminal.[11]


  1. ^ a b c d SMA Rail Consulting (April 2016). "California Passenger Rail Network Schematics" (PDF). California Department of Transportation. p. 13.
  2. ^ "Santa Clara Transit Center". Retrieved 2022-05-05.
  3. ^ "2018 Annual Count Key Findings Report" (PDF). Caltrain. 2018. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2020-05-20. Retrieved 2018-10-17.
  4. ^ "Amtrak Fact Sheet, Fiscal Year 2022: State of California" (PDF). Amtrak. June 2023. Retrieved August 30, 2023.
  5. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. March 15, 2006.
  6. ^ Vurek, Matthew Gerald (2016). Images of Modern America: California’s Capitol Corridor. Arcadia Publishing. ISBN 9781467124171.
  7. ^ "Santa Clara, CA – Transit Center (SCC)". Great American Stations. Amtrak.
  8. ^ "ACE | Altamont Corridor Express". San Joaquin Regional Rail Commission. Archived from the original on May 8, 2012.
  9. ^ "Santa Clara Station" (PDF). VTA. Retrieved 29 May 2019.
  10. ^ BART Silicon Valley Fact Sheet. 2011. Archived July 11, 2010, at the Wayback Machine
  11. ^ Wolfe, Eli (May 18, 2022). "San Jose opens door to airport connector proposals". San Jose Spotlight. Retrieved June 24, 2022.

External links[edit]

Public Domain This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the National Park Service.