SACRAMENTO, CALIF. – City and state leaders gathered at the Sacramento Valley Station on February 23, 2017, to celebrate completion of a two-year renovation of the 68,000-square foot structure, which the Southern Pacific Railroad opened in 1926. Featured speakers included U.S. Congresswoman Doris Matsui and Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg. Following a formal ceremony, attendees were invited to tour the facility and enjoy music and refreshments.
Designed by the San Francisco architectural firm of Bliss and Faville, the three-story building with red tile roof employs a dignified Renaissance Revival style. A reinforced concrete frame is faced with Italian sienna-colored brick trimmed with terracotta. The waiting room includes a 40-foot-high barrel vaulted ceiling, Philippine mahogany woodwork and marble floors.
In 2006 the city acquired an 8.8-acre plot of land containing the existing rail station and an option on an adjacent 24 acres for $52 million. It subsequently developed a three-phase program for renovating the facility that included realigning the tracks, rehabilitating the historic station and enhancing intermodal connections.
A $45 million effort to shift the existing mainline railroad tracks approximately 500 feet north began in April 2011 as part of Phase I and was completed two years later. Moving the tracks allows for more efficient rail operations by eliminating a long curve, freight and passenger-train conflicts and other long-standing problems. Additional Phase I work included construction of two double-sided rail platforms and two pedestrian and bicycle tunnels connecting the proposed intermodal center, platforms and historic Union Pacific shop buildings on the north side of the tracks.
To combat deferred maintenance and prepare the historic station building for its next generation of service, the city broke ground on Phase II of the project in September 2014. The city’s Public Works department oversaw rehabilitation of the facade and masonry; installation of new mechanical, plumbing, electrical and communications systems; addition of bicycle facilities and new signage; relocation of ticketing and baggage facilities for improved operations; and conservation of interior finishes.
Many Sacramentans and travelers know the station for a colorful mural in the waiting room. Painted by John A. MacQuarrie, it depicts the 1863 groundbreaking ceremony of the Central Pacific Railroad. As part of the rehabilitation, the mural was cleaned through a $25,000 grant from the Sacramento Metropolitan Arts Commission.
In addition to renewed passenger areas, the station rehabilitation has created 25,000-square feet of leaseable space intended to house restaurants, offices and retail space.
Funding for the $36.5 million Phase II came through a $15 million Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grant matched with local funding obtained through the Measure A sales tax.
The recently launched Phase III will include a master planning effort for the station and surrounding area with the goals of integrating transit-oriented development and supporting a sustainable downtown community.
More than one million Amtrak customers began or ended their journey at the Sacramento Valley Station in fiscal year 2016, making it the seventh busiest station in the national network. Sacramento is served by the California Zephyr (Chicago-Denver-Emeryville), Coast Starlight (Los Angeles-Sacramento-Seattle), Capitol Corridor (San Jose-Sacramento-Auburn) and San Joaquins (Sacramento/Oakland-Bakersfield) trains. The light rail and numerous bus lines are also within walking distance of the facility.
All images courtesy of the city of Sacramento.