The San Joaquins

The San Joaquins – US Rail Journeys Series 2 Episode 20

Thruway service from LA to Bakersfield:

The San Joaquins starts with my arrival back in LA Union Station on Saturday morning. I go to the Thruway bus terminal at the side of the station for the journey to Bakersfield.

There are two Thruway busses waiting for the Bakersfield passengers. We hear the announcement for the northbound Coast Starlight as we wait. Once my luggage is loaded on to the bus we set off.


We arrive in good time. The Amtrak California train is in the station waiting for us. Once the crew are ready we board the train and have the options of Airline or table seating.

The Thruway bus depot at Bakersfield is quite large because busses go to various parts of LA as well as Palm Springs, San Bernardino and Las Vegas.

Bakersfield is a significant city, the ninth most populous in California and the 52nd in the United States.

Our train leaves 3 minutes late.

Travelling north across central California:

There are a number of stops along the route because this is a regional train rather than a long distance train. A large number of commuters use this service on weekdays. We stop at:

  • Wasco – our first stop is 24 miles northwest of Bakersfield.
  • Allensworth – a special stop missed on my journey.
  • Corcoran – the station is known for its Spanish Revival architecture.
  • Hanford – the original station, built in 1897, survives.
  • Fresno – Mission Revival station from 1897.
  • Madera – platform with a shelter.
  • Merced – for connections to Yosemite.
  • Turlock-Denair – platform with shelter with 4 trains each way per day.
  • Modesto – a modern station (1999) with waiting room.
  • Stockton San Joaquin – Mission Revival station from 1900, restored and reopened in 2003.

West to the coast, then South:

  • Antioch-Pittsburg – an unstaffed station.
  • Martinez – a busy station because it hosts Amtrak’s California Zephyr, Coast Starlight and Capital Corridor trains in addition to the San Joaquins.
  • Richmond – journey’s end (for me) because I’m using the BART system to take me to my hotel. The station is described as ‘post-modern’.

For completeness, the last two stops for the train are:

  • Emeryville – the first new station in northern California in over 60 years.
  • Oakland – in Jack London Square, the heart of the port area.

More about those stations in the next episode!

The photographs that accompany the podcast:

Please click on a thumbnail to open the gallery:

Next up:

I hope that you’ve enjoyed this podcast. If so, please join me in two weeks time when I travel from Emeryville to Los Angeles on the stunning Coast Starlight route.


To visit the Amtrak website please follow this link.

You can also listen to this podcast on Amazon Music, iTunes/Apple Podcasts, Castbox, Deezer, Podchaser, Spotify and Stitcher.


AKM Music has licensed the theme, Steam Railway, for use in this podcast.

Storyblocks has licensed Easy Ride by William L Newman for use as incidental music in this episode.

© The MrT Podcast Studio 2019 – 2020

Author: Tim D

In the early 1970s Mr Timothy & his Phonograph was a popular mobile disco around Leeds University and Tim was known as MrT. Tim also spent 9 years broadcasting a weekly programme on Hospital Radio in Wakefield. He worked for more than 40 years for large industrial organisations and spent his last 15 years in global commercial management roles. Following retirement he started making podcasts in 2017.