Thursday, 26 June 2014

A Train Journey in America

A train journey in America

Most travelers drive or fly within USA.
Neeta and I were lucky to take a train ride from San Jose to Davis.
See Neeta waiting at San Jose railway station below.
Amtrak the railway company, operates on this route called ‘Capitol Corridor’. Tickets can be booked on-line at
Fact file:
  •         San Jose to Davis Train 542 Capitol Corridor
  •         Distance: 130 miles (210 kms)
  •        Time taken: 2 hrs 47 minutes (road journey is faster and cheaper! But I wasn’t driving in US)
  •         Seating: Two decks in each of the five cars fairly silent
  •        On-board facilities: Free wi-fi, 110V charging outlets, Water dispenser, CafĂ©, Bike racks, Route maps, Announcement system and clean toilets
  •        Fare: US $ 35 per person. $ 29.75 for seniors (62+); 10% off for students; Tickets to be bought before boarding the train—else 50% extra
  •        Stops Enroute: 11 stations
  • L     Locomotive: Diesel

The train starts from south-eastern end of the Bay, goes north across the backwaters and along the north-eastern bay. After Martinez, it crosses the northern part of the bay to head further north and then east to Davis. See the map below courtesy Capitol Corridor.

We arrived half an hour in advance at San Jose railway station. Track-7 (what we call as platforms in India) could be reached via underground ramps. You can see the neat and clean platform with no crowd in the picture below. Though a working day, it wasn’t crowded because it wasn’t office closing hours yet. 
Deck-zero has entry/exit doors, fewer seats but with more leg room, bike racks, toilets, attendant's console and water dispenser. Here is Neeta relaxing in our seats with a table.
Harsh logs on to free wi-fi with had fairly fast speed and steady connection. 
See the bike racks which are free for bikers and stack the bikes vertically. 
 When all three slots are used up, what do remaining bikers do? Try another car in the five-car coach? No. They use the empty seats on Deck-zero. See the picture below which shows three extra bikes.
The staircase for Deck-one has garbage cans for both recyclable and non-recyclable garbage. 
 Here is what the upper deck looks like. Any different from aircraft seating? It is much more spacious.
 The train crosses a patch of backwaters and salt flats before entering Fremont. See the earlier map.
The view from our train window as it chugs along.

We also noticed graffiti on the walls/fencing of storehouses along the train route. Reminded us of New York metro as well as along train routes in India!
 Some of the stations enroute.

As we crossed over to the north-eastern shore of the Bay, the terrain changed. Pictures.

 The bridge which runs north south across the north eastern tip of the Bay.
 Crossing the bay. Freeway bridge in the distance.
 It was very breezy in the evening as seen from the boiler exhaust from the chimney.
 As the shadows lengthened, we arrived at Davis just 12 minutes behind schedule.
We just walked across the platform where Deepali was there to receive us. We stayed with Hemant and Deepali in Davis in the comfort of their mansion overlooking the Wildhorse Golf Course. 

While at Davis, we went on a mountain hike which will form the next story.
If you haven't browsed the previous parts of the story the links are:  and 

Bye till the next story.
  Harsh-the-ghumakkad/ 25th June 2014