Lodi, CA (LOD)
Erected in 1907 by the Southern Pacific Railroad, the depot was relocated and restored by the city in preparation for the return of intercity passenger rail service in March 2002.
24 South Sacramento Street
Lodi, CA 95240
Annual Station Ridership (2016): 8,617
- Facility Ownership: City of Lodi
- Parking Lot Ownership: City of Lodi
- Platform Ownership: Union Pacific Railroad
- Track Ownership: Union Pacific Railroad
For information about Amtrak fares and schedules, please call 1-800-USA-RAIL (1-800-872-7245).
The mustard and brown Lodi depot is part of the city’s Multimodal Transit Center, which is served not only by the San Joaquin trains but dedicated Amtrak Thruway buses and numerous county, regional and local transit lines. The long, one-story building has a hipped roof and central shed dormer, and the front eaves extend to create a long porch supported by columns. The exterior is clad in painted clapboard, and its sashed windows are paired, except for the central bay.
The community’s first depot was erected in 1869 for the Central Pacific Railroad as part of its route from Stockton north to Sacramento. The railroad reservation between Main and Sacramento streets and between Walnut and Locust streets was established at the same time that the plan for the town was surveyed. Railroad services were first required for agricultural transport.
After the Southern Pacific Railroad (SP) acquired the Central Pacific, it built the present depot in 1907 a half block north of the original, which had stood on the site of the current station and had burned the previous year. Passenger trains continued to serve Lodi until April 30, 1971, at which time the SP depot was closed. It took until 1993, when railroad stations in the central valley were being studied, for strong local interest to gather in favor of reusing the depot.
In February 1999, Amtrak’s San Joaquin made a symbolic visit to the Lodi SP depot shortly before beginning regular service connecting Bakersfield and Sacramento, the first through the San Joaquin Valley in 27 years. The San Joaquin would not actually begin to serve Lodi until three years later, although it would run through their downtown. In order to receive that service, the city moved the SP depot south of Pine Street and restored it into the present transit center—a $2.3 million project necessitated by the requirement for an 800-foot platform for Amtrak trains. On March 18, 2002, passenger rail service then returned to Lodi after a 31-year hiatus, celebrated by a crowd of over 600 gathering for cake and champagne to honor that first northbound passenger train.
Situated at a short distance north of the larger city of Stockton and south of Sacramento, Lodi is sited on the south bank of the Mokolumne River as it winds through the northern portion California’s central valley. In 1869 the Central Pacific was building a route through to Sacramento, and several settler families offered a townsite as incentive for the railroad to build a station there; their proposition was accepted. Shortly thereafter, Charles O. Ivory and John M. Burt built the “Ivory Store” close to the land in the middle of town that was reserved for the railroad’s use, and this first establishment acted as a magnet for other settlers.
Initially called Mokolumne and Mokolumne Station, confusion with other nearby towns (Mokolumne City, for example) prompted a name change. It is thought that some of the settlers offered Lodi, a town in Illinois from which they hailed, as a solution. There may also have been some reference to a winning racehorse named Lodi, as well, or the Italian city of the same name. On March 21, 1874, the California state assembly officially changed the town’s name to Lodi.
Originally the surrounding area grew wheat and watermelons—in 1886, a record 3,000 train carloads of watermelons were shipped from the town. However, by the time the town was incorporated in 1906, the local farmers had turned to wine grapes for their cash crop. In the spring of 1907, shortly after the opening of their new passenger station, Lodi celebrated with the Tokay Carnival and a new $500 commemorative mission-style arch built at Pine and Sacramento Streets in the center of town.
The Tokay Carnival was the idea of local businessman Charles Ray: he proposed they hold a carnival in celebration of the Tokay grape—Lodi’s most important crop of the time—and the carnival was seized upon as a way to promote the city’s industry, growth, and prosperity.
The forty-foot high commemorative arch, designed by architect E. B. Brown, is now a California Registered Historical Landmark and one of the few remaining mission revival style ceremonial arches in California. It was reconstructed in place in 1956, at which time the paper mache bear which sits atop the arch was pointed north toward the state capitol. On June 14, 2001, the Lodi Arch Bear was rededicated after being given a 24-karat gold leaf finish.
While viticulture is important enough to have a place of honor on the city’s seal, a different American institution had its origins in Lodi. In June of 1919, Roy Allen first sold root beer for a nickel a mug in Lodi. Opening another location in Sacramento, Allen took on a partner in 1922, Frank Wright, who had worked for him in Lodi, changing the company name to A&W Root Beer. A&W is an internationally known brand today involved in restaurant and food service operation as well as its well-known beverage. Today, Lodi’s dozens of local wineries hold their own with tours and tasting rooms, making the city a popular stop. September of 1934 saw the first Lodi Grape Festival, with 5,686 carload of grapes being shipped from the city.
Lodi also celebrates another striking natural feature of their landscape, the migratory Sandhill cranes that winter over in the delta wetlands around the city, coming from nesting grounds as far away as Siberia. A fall festival has celebrated their return for 14 years with workshops, exhibitions, an art show and, of course, a wine tasting event. Notably, a dramatic fountain sculpture of Sandhill cranes by artist Rowland Cheney adorns the plaza in front of the train station.
The Lodi Transit Center, restored and seeing rail service again in 2002, is today a key element of the city’s transformation of a previously declining downtown into a revitalized transportation-oriented district. A new clock tower, added during the construction, provides dramatic visibility from all points of downtown. The transit center was built by FTS, Architects in collaboration with Thomson and Associates (restoration architect), and Mundie Associates (economists). The bus shelters and bus waiting room, as well as the clock tower, were built to blend with the station’s architectural style. Antique-styled streetlamps on posts light the landscaped plaza in front of the center for late travelers.
Along with the clock tower and its historic arch, the city also built the Gateway Arch as an important element of the Central City Revitalization Concept Plan, which was developed through cooperative efforts of property owners, citizens and urban planners FTS (then called Freedman, Tung & Bottomley) and adopted by the Lodi city council in 1995. The gateway is based on brick columns created to be sympathetic to the style of nearby City Hall with an iron grapevine sculpture spanning them. The gateway was completed, along with the rest of the streetscaping, by Diede Construction in 1997. The city considers this Gateway Arch to serve as the vehicle and pedestrian entrance for the 21st century.
Amtrak does not provide ticketing or baggage services at this station. The San Joaquin service is primarily financed through funds made available by the State of California, Department of Transportation, and is managed by the San Joaquin Joint Powers Authority.
- Accessible Payphones
- Dedicated Parking
- Enclosed Waiting Area
- Pay Phones
- Quik Trak Kiosk