In May, Amtrak San Joaquins launched a “Morning Express Service” that brings riders throughout the San Joaquin Valley north to the state capital before 8:00AM.
In May, Amtrak San Joaquins launched a “Morning Express Service” that brings riders throughout the San Joaquin Valley north to the state capital before 8:00AM. San Joaquin Joint Powers Authority has focused on making the Amtrak train more usable to valley residents and sees this as a move in the right direction. Governed by Board Members representing each of the 10 Member Agencies, the Authority is currently chaired by Stanislaus County Supervisor Vito Chiesa.
The daily Morning Express service begins in Fresno, CA, departing before 5:00AM and makes stops in Madera, Merced, Turlock-Denair, and then Modesto at 6:00AM. It then stops in Stockton, and Lodi and arrives at the downtown Sacramento Valley Station just before 8:00AM. Return service departs Sacramento after lunch hour and again around 5:30PM, making stops at each of the stations along the San Joaquins southbound line. Weekend routes run later. The schedule is currently changing slightly based on rider feedback. So it is advised to check the website for planning purposes.
This new schedule offers a much more convenient option for business travelers and same-day leisure travelers alike. According to the Bay Area Council Economic Institute’s Northern California Megaregion Study, over 23,000 daily-trips occur from as far south as Merced County to Sacramento. This new service reaches even further south to Madera and Fresno Counties.
Until the launch of this Morning Express service, the first northbound train was not scheduled to arrive in Sacramento until 11:20am. The old model also only offered two round trips each day. You could arrive in Sacramento either around noon or 11:30pm. This made it a challenge to attract business travelers who need to arrive early in the day or arrive home for dinner.
Passengers can transfer to Sacramento Regional Transit’s local bus and light rail system once they arrive in Sacramento, or the station is only a short walk from the Capitol, as well as many state agencies and downtown businesses. Additionally, Amtrak has a formal partnership with Lyft, as passengers who sign up to request a Lyft through the Amtrak App will receive $5 off each of their first four rides.
Amtrak San Joaquins’ onboard amenities make travel time much more productive and enjoyable than driving. Comfortable seating and free Wi-Fi allow passengers to work or relax while they ride. And the trains feature a regional selection of snacks, sandwiches, coffee, craft beer and more. Not only is this new offering good for business travelers, but the environmental impact is noteworthy as well. Air quality and greenhouse gas emissions were a consideration in pulling the trigger on this new route.
Tickets for the Morning Express service can be booked at Amtrak San Joaquins