New walkways for rail station open Monday

Construction on the new tunnel. From City of Sacramento

As part of the Railyards project the Amtrak lines have been relocated and starting Monday, passengers will have to walk through a partially covered walkway and through a tunnel to reach the new platforms.

The Bee’s Tony Bizjak includes a quote from “city officials” citing that the walk will be “similar to those at many larger train stations around the country.” The only larger train station I have seen is Union Station in LA but I don’t recall a walk this large. Does anyone with experience know if this statement holds water?

Author: CoolDMZ

"X-ray vision to see in between / Where's my kimono and my time machine?"

7 thoughts on “New walkways for rail station open Monday”

  1. If they do have longer walks, I am sure it is for an actual reason. I thought the walk was already too long, especially when you are hauling bags and kids. To make it longer seems to defy all logic.

    But the logic becomes clear once you look further into it and learn that Union Pacific is a beneficiary of the move. Guess who owns a big stake in UP (49%)? Phillip Anschutz. Yes, that Anschutz, of AEG. Once you learn that the whole thing makes a lot more sense.


  2. The walk will be about the same as the walk from the entrance to Union Station to the tracks. It seems like a long walk right now because there isn’t really anything in between the station entrance and the tracks–LA Union Station has a row of shops and restaurants inside the station, plus more at the far end of its tunnel near the bus transit center. Sacramento’s will be a little different–the idea is to create a plaza with a few shops and restaurants on one side, light rail and bus stations on the other (the current tracks will be moved north-south, the track and station features are designed to be unbolted and relocated), with a covered walkway and underground walkway in the middle (there is already an underground walkway to the old tracks, they are just extending them to the new site.) We’ll end up with a transit center roughly the size of the Los Angeles union station, with a lot more utility.

    The track relocation plan was around long before the most recent arena plan–in fact, before the previous arena plan too. It was primarily intended for UP’s benefit (they wanted to straighten out the dog-leg curve that makes their freights slow down) but straightening out that curve means a greater volume of freight through Sacramento, which had previously been a transportation bottleneck.

    The walk from the street to the tracks in Chicago’s union station might be as long, because it involves a lot of walking around the perimeter of the station and down to the lower level. Portland, Emeryville and San Jose have the tracks much closer to the station, but their Amtrak depots are a lot less busy than ours and, except for Portland, their stations a lot smaller.

    In the interim, I have a sort of pipe-dream idea–to make the walk to the trains a little less stark, set up a mobile food truck “pod” between the depot and the tracks with a few chairs, tables and pop-up tents. This would give passengers an opportunity to grab a snack before or after getting on the train, and maybe encourage visitors to check out the station and the Shops while grabbing a meal.


  3. Love the food truck idea. Create a “safe zone” away from any brick and mortar restaurants (probably even when the rest of the area gets developed?)


  4. The layout is a turd. As evidence, just look at all the logical contortions from city planners and defenders of the historic train station. Simple rule of thumb – if you can’t see the train arrive at the station, then you have failed.

    Just keep telling customers that its a great plan and that the walk is not too hot, too cold, too rainy or too far to tow bags/kids/old legs, and then point the other cities that have equally crappy layouts. And then propose a tasty Korean taco as a consolation prize.

    I laughed that a user suggested an “air conditioned waiting area” at the platform. Great idea, except this would make the far away historic station even more irrelevant than it already is. And raise the hackles of historic preservationists who killed the idea of a practical, usable new station in the first place.

    Sacramento gets 1 star for the crappy station layout, and zero stars for the silly defense of the crappy layout.


  5. They should put an old timey rail system in the tunnel to give people a lift. Something like a gold mine cart, or a flat car or something.

    I hope the place doesn’t smell like tinkle.


  6. They could use California Hi Speed rail to make the connection from depot to platform. This idea is only slightly more silly than the current plan of starting the line in Madera.


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