20 March 2005

Amtrak update

While doing my ballpark site surveys on Saturday, I stopped by the Amtrak station in Jack London Square. I didn't get a definite date on when the Coliseum station would be open, but I've been told it will happen sometime in the spring.

From the looks of things, it won't be ready in time for Opening Day, but the most of the hard stuff is done. All that's left is paving the access road and parking lot, and testing of trains running through the area.

A couple of years ago, the Raiders and Amtrak partnered up for a Raiders-themed Amtrak Capitol train that brought in fans from the Central Valley. There was no platform at the Coliseum, so fans disembarked at JLS and took a bus the rest of the way. Unfortunately, the relationship went sour after an incident involving drunken fans, where neither Amtrak/BART nor the Raiders took responsibility. The station will serve as part of an intermodal station, so trains should stop there regularly. What is unknown at this point is whether or not Amtrak and the Raiders will start up the special football service again, or if the train operator and the A's will do something similar.

Good news on the fares: The 10-ride ticket is good for up to 10 one-way admissions for any number of people. So it looks like it'll be a pretty good no-transfer option for those coming from the South Bay or the North Bay, even on weekdays. The nice thing about diesel locomotives as opposed to electric third rail-propelled trains (like BART) is that you can eat, drink, and listen to AM radio on them.