|Service type||Inter-city rail|
|Predecessor||Golden Gate , San Joaquin Daylight|
|First service||March 5, 1974|
|Current operator(s)||San Joaquin Joint Powers Authority, in partnership with Amtrak and Caltrans|
|Stops||16 (to Oakland)|
13 (to Sacramento)
|End|| Oakland, California or|
|Distance travelled||315 miles (507 km) (to Oakland)|
282 miles (454 km) (to Sacramento)
|Average journey time||6 hours, 1 minutes (to Oakland)|
5 hours, 10 minutes (to Sacramento)
|Train number(s)||701–704, 710–719|
|Catering facilities||Café Car|
|Rolling stock|| EMD F59PHI locomotives|
GE P32-8WH locomotives
Siemens Charger locomotives
Single Level Trainsets:
|Track gauge||4 ft 8+1⁄2 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge|
|Operating speed||52 mph (84 km/h) (average, including stops)|
79 mph (127 km/h) (max)
|Track owner(s)||BNSF and UP|
The San Joaquins (sometimes referred to as San Joaquin) is a passenger train service operated by Amtrak in California's San Joaquin Valley. Seven daily round trips run between its southern terminus at Bakersfield and Stockton, where the route splits to Oakland (five round trips) or Sacramento (two round trips).
The San Joaquins service is unique in the state and nation because of its extensive network of dedicated Amtrak Thruway Motorcoach bus routes that are critical to the performance of the service. Over 55% of passengers on the service use an Amtrak Thruway Motorcoach during part of their trip.Amtrak Thruway Motorcoaches are timed to meet trains and offer connections to points in Southern California (including Los Angeles Union Station where passengers can continue their journey on the Pacific Surfliner or Amtrak's long-distance trains), the city of San Francisco, the Central Coast, the North Coast, the High Desert (including Las Vegas), Redding, Reno, and the Yosemite Valley.
The San Joaquins is Amtrak's seventh-busiest service in the nation and the railroad's third-busiest in the state of California. During fiscal year 2019, the service carried 1,071,190 passengers, a 0.7% decrease from the prior year.
Like all regional trains in California, the San Joaquins service is operated by a joint powers authority. The San Joaquin Joint Powers Authority (SJJPA) is governed by a board that includes two elected representatives from each of eight counties the train travels through. The SJJPA contracts with the San Joaquin Regional Rail Commission to provide day-to-day management of the service and with contracts with Amtrak to operate the service and maintain the rolling stock (locomotives and passenger cars). The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) provides the funding to operate the service and also owns the rolling stock.
The San Joaquins service runs over lines that once hosted several passenger trains a day. The top trains were the Golden Gate on the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway (predecessor to BNSF), and the San Joaquin Daylight on the Southern Pacific Railroad (later acquired by Union Pacific). Prior to 1960s service cutbacks passenger service continued south of Bakersfield, to Glendale and Los Angeles.
In April 1965, as ridership on passenger trains continued to drop, the Santa Fe Railway received permission from the Interstate Commerce Commission to severely curtail Golden Gate operations, with service finally abandoned three years later. The San Joaquin Daylight was discontinued with the start-up of Amtrak in May 1971.
Other passenger trains that ran through the Central Valley included Southern Pacific's Owl and Santa Fe's San Francisco Chief and Valley Flyer .
Amtrak routed all Los Angeles-San Francisco service over the Southern Pacific's Coast Line in its initial 1971 route structure, leaving the San Joaquin Valley without service. Both the Southern Pacific's San Joaquin Daylight and the Santa Fe's San Francisco Chief had served the region. – 79 miles per hour (127 km/h) versus 70 miles per hour (113 km/h) – and freight congestion on the Southern Pacific. The decision was not without controversy, with Sisk alleging that the Southern Pacific lobbied the Nixon Administration to influence the decision.Beginning in 1972 Amtrak revisited the decision at the urging of area congressmen, notably Bernice F. Sisk, who favored service between Oakland and Barstow or, failing that, Barstow and Sacramento. The first run was on March 5, 1974 — revenue service began the following day with one daily round-trip between Bakersfield and Oakland and bus connections from Bakersfield to Los Angeles and Oakland to San Francisco. The San Joaquin could not continue south of Bakersfield due to capacity limits over the Tehachapi Loop, the only line between Bakersfield and points south and one of the world's busiest single-track freight rail lines. Amtrak chose the Santa Fe route over the Southern Pacific, citing the higher speed of the Santa Fe
Madera station and Richmond station were added on October 30, 1977, along with a Stockton–Sacramento connecting bus.The schedule was changed on July 19, 1979, with an earlier northbound and later southbound departure, allowing single-day round trips to the Bay Area.
In 1979 Amtrak proposed discontinuing the San Joaquin as part of system-wide reductions ordered by the Carter Administration. The state of California stepped in to provide a yearly subsidy of (then) $700,000 ($2.5 million adjusted for inflation) to cover the train's operating losses, and it was retained. At the time the state asked Amtrak to add a second round trip between Oakland and Bakersfield, and to extend the service south over the Tehachapi Pass to Los Angeles. Amtrak added the second train in February 1980, but attempts to extend the train over the Tehachapi Loop failed due to Southern Pacific's opposition.
A third round trip was added on December 17, 1989, followed by a fourth on October 25, 1992. : 15 On May 16, 1999, Amtrak added a Sacramento–Bakersfield round trip - the fifth daily San Joaquins service round trip. A second Sacramento–Bakersfield round trip was added on March 18, 2002.
Expansion of the service would stagnate after 2002, and 10 years later, frustrated by what was perceived to be Caltrans’ slow response to regional concerns, local leaders pushed lawmakers to allow local control of the San Joaquins service.On September 29, 2012, Governor Jerry Brown signed Assembly Bill 1779, which enabled regional government agencies to form the San Joaquin Joint Powers Authority (SJJPA) to assume administration and management of the route, while the state of California would continue to fund operations. Under the joint powers authority model, the service would be governed by a board composed of eight elected officials, appointed by an agency in each of the counties the train travels through. The governance structure was modeled after the Capitol Corridor Joint Powers Authority, which has been operating the Capitol Corridor regional train in Northern California since 1998.
The first SJJPA Board meeting was held on March 22, 2013 to begin planning for the shift in control. In that time, the SJJPA board contracted with the San Joaquin Regional Rail Commission to provide day-to-day management of the service and contracted with Amtrak to continue to operate the service and maintain the rolling stock (locomotives and passenger cars). Control of the train service shifted from Caltrans to the SJJPA on July 1, 2015.
A fifth Oakland–Bakersfield round trip was added to the service on June 20, 2016, the first expansion of the service in more than 14 years. : 15
Two years later, the SJJPA established an early-morning "Morning Express Service" between Fresno and Sacramento, allowing same-day trips to the state capitol for the first time, was expected to result in increased ridership from business travelers. : 34 The change was criticized by Bakersfield-area officials, because it required ending the last southbound train of the day in Fresno, reduced daily service to Bakersfield by one daily round trip. The service began on May 7, 2018 proved to be unpopular, with ridership counts showing an average of just 50 people on the train, compared to 130 with the old timetable. The "Morning Express Service" was eliminated one year later on May 6, 2019 and trains were reverted to their previous schedule.
Sacramento service was discontinued and one round-trip to Oakland was cancelled on March 25, 2020 amid the COVID-19 pandemic.The cancelled Oakland trip was reinstated on June 28, 2021.
As of 2020 [update] the agency is increasing capacity on its routes to avoid conflicts with freight trains and add additional trips as well as plan for connections to the California High-Speed Rail system. The level junction in Stockton where the two San Joaquin routes divert was the busiest rail junction in the state by 2019 – the north-south Union Pacific line is planned to be elevated over the BNSF line. : 3 Two additional Sacramento round trips are planned to be added, routed over the Union Pacific Railroad Sacramento Subdivision north of Stockton. Unlike the 1999-initiated route on the Fresno Subdivision, the Sacramento Subdivision has spare capacity to allow the increased service. : 36 Six new stations are planned: Lodi (separate from the Lodi Transit Station), Elk Grove, three locations in Sacramento, and Natomas. The Sacramento Subdivision trains will not serve the existing Sacramento Valley Station, but RT Light Rail connections and a shuttle bus to Sacramento International Airport are planned elsewhere. : 25 These improvements are being done in cooperation with Altamont Corridor Express (ACE), which will share the route to Natomas from Stockton and add an additional branch south to Ceres in 2023 with an extension to Merced in 2027. When the Natomas runs are initiated, one existing Oakland trip is planned to terminate at Stockton-Downtown, freeing a slot for a full Natomas to Bakersfield roud-trip while continuing to provide five trips from the Bay Area. : 25
Upon completion of California High-Speed Rail's initial operating segment, some trains are expected to terminate at that system's new Merced station to act as a feeder to high-speed service.A new rail link is planned to run between the BNSF line currently used and the Union Pacific subdivision on which that station is planned in order to facilitate trips and transfers. Sacramento to Merced service is thus planned to increase in frequency to hourly service. At that point, BNSF train slots previously used for runs between Merced and Bakersfield could be retained as shuttle services to supplement high-speed services.
As of 2019 [update] , Oakland to Bakersfield trips take just over six hours, which requires an expensive crew change in Merced. The SJJPA wishes to reduce travel times to eliminate this expense, which may involve terminating some trains at Emeryville, skipping stops on some trains, increasing current 79-mile-per-hour (127 km/h) speeds to 90 miles per hour (140 km/h), and/or operational improvements like decreasing dwell times. : 27 Longer-term proposals include extending Oakland trains to Oakland Coliseum station to provide service to Oakland International Airport and a second BART connection; routing some trains via the ACE route through the Tri-Valley; consolidating all Stockton service at Robert J. Cabral Station; and extensions to Marysville/Yuba City, Oroville, or Redding. : 40 The SJJPA ultimately plans to increase Sacramento service to hourly headways. : 40
The San Joaquins service runs from Bakersfield's Truxtun Avenue station northward on BNSF Railway's Mojave Subdivision within Bakersfield, the Bakersfield Subdivision from Bakersfield to Calwa (Fresno), then on the Stockton Subdivision from Calwa to Stockton.
At the Stockton Diamond the routes split to Oakland or Sacramento.
The Oakland trains continue west on the Stockton Subdivision to Port Chicago. At Port Chicago they cross to the Union Pacific Railroad's Tracy Subdivision to Martinez, continue on the Martinez Subdivision to Emeryville, and finally travel a few miles on the Niles Subdivision to Oakland's Jack London Square station.
Trains to the Sacramento Valley Station diverge in Stockton and run north to Sacramento on Union Pacific's Fresno Subdivision and on the Martinez Subdivision within Sacramento.
If the tracks for the Central Valley segment of California High-Speed Rail (HSR) are completed prior to that system's full startup, there are calls for the San Joaquins trains to use the HSR infrastructure to speed up traditional rail service to 125 mph.
The route is Amtrak's seventh-busiest service in the nation and the railroad's third-busiest in the state of California.
The San Joaquins service has an extensive network of dedicated Amtrak Thruway Motorcoach buses. Over 55% of passengers on the route used an Amtrak Thruway Motorcoach on at least one end of their trip.
|Location||Station||Service||Service began||Service ended||Rail Connections||Amtrak Thruway Motorcoach|
|Sacramento||Sacramento Valley Station||●||1999||California Zephyr , Capitol Corridor , Coast Starlight , Sacramento RT Light Rail||connections are available to Redding, Reno via South Lake Tahoe, Oakland, and San Francisco.|
|Lodi||Lodi Transit Station||●||2002|
|Stockton||Robert J. Cabral Station||●||1999||Altamont Corridor Express||connections are available to San Jose, Redding, and Stockton – San Joaquin Street.|
|Oakland||Jack London Square||●||1995||Capitol Corridor , Coast Starlight|
|Emeryville||Emeryville||●||1993||California Zephyr , Capitol Corridor , Coast Starlight||connections are available to the city of San Francisco.|
|Richmond||Richmond Transit Center||●||1978||California Zephyr , Capitol Corridor , Bay Area Rapid Transit|
|Martinez||Martinez||●||1974||California Zephyr , Capitol Corridor , Coast Starlight||connections are available along the North Coast, to Napa, Santa Rosa and McKinleyville.|
|Stockton||San Joaquin Street||●||1974||connections are available to San Jose, Redding, Sacramento, Lodi, and Stockton – Robert J. Cabral Station.|
|Merced||Merced||●||●||1974||connections are available to Yosemite National Park.|
|Madera||Madera (CAHSR)||-||-||2023 (planned)|
|Fresno||Santa Fe Passenger Depot||●||●||1974||connections are seasonally available to Yosemite National Park.|
|Hanford||Hanford||●||●||1974||connections are available to the Central Coast and Visalia.|
|Allensworth||Colonel Allensworth State Historic Park||●||●|
|Bakersfield||●||●||2000||connections are available to a number of points in Southern California (including Los Angeles Union Station where passengers can continue their journey on the Pacific Surfliner or Amtrak's national network of trains), the High Desert (including Las Vegas), and the Central Coast.|
|Sacramento||Natomas/Sacramento Airport||2023 (planned)||Altamont Corridor Express|
|Old North Sacramento||2023 (planned)||Sacramento RT Light Rail, Altamont Corridor Express|
|Midtown Sacramento||2023 (planned)||Sacramento RT Light Rail, Altamont Corridor Express|
|City College||2023 (planned)||Sacramento RT Light Rail, Altamont Corridor Express|
|Lodi||Lodi||2023 (planned)||Altamont Corridor Express|
|Merced||Merced CAHSR||Planned|| California High-Speed Rail |
Altamont Corridor Express
For its first two years of operation, the San Joaquin used single-level coaches Amtrak had inherited from other railroads. In October 1976 Amtrak introduced new Amfleet coaches to the service.From 1987 to 1989 Amtrak used Superliner and ex-ATSF Hi-Level coaches. For a short period beginning on June 15, 1987, this included a full dining car on one of the trains. Amtrak reequipped the San Joaquin trains again in 1989, this time with new Horizon coaches, when service expanded to three daily round-trips. The San Joaquin began receiving the Superliner-derived California Cars that it uses today in 1995.
Amtrak California operates its own fleet of EMD F59PHI, GE P32-8WH and Siemens Charger locomotives that are used on San Joaquins service trains. These locomotives are owned by Caltrans and carry its CDTX reporting marks. Amtrak owned locomotives are also occasionally used on the San Joaquin, including the P42DC.
The San Joaquins service is equipped with Amtrak California's fleet of California Car bi-level, high-capacity passenger cars owned by the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans). Each trainset typically consists of two coach cars, a coach/baggage car, a café (food-service) car, and a cab/coach car. The cab/coach car is a similar to other coaches but with an engineer's operating cab and headlights on one end, allowing the train to be operated in push-pull mode, which eliminates the need to turn the train at each end-point. Caltrans is in the process of refitting the cab/coach cars to have a space on car's lower level for storage for checked luggage and bikes.
Caltrans also owns several Surfliner bi-level cars that are used on some San Joaquins trainsets. The newer cars look very similar to the California Car fleet but feature reclining seats, open overhead luggage racks, and a restroom on the upper level of each car.
In 2007 Caltrans paid to repair several wreck-damaged Superliner I coaches in exchange for a six-year lease of the Amtrak owned cars that are normally used on long-distance trains. Four of these cars are painted to match the California car livery and often appear in service on the San Joaquins route in place of a coach/baggage car.
Increasing ridership on the San Joaquins service led Caltrans to purchase 14 Comet IB rail cars from New Jersey Transit in 2008 for $75,000 each. The former commuter cars were refurbished and reconfigured by Amtrak's Beech Grove Shops to serve as intercity coaches at a cost of approximately $20 million. The refurbished cars have reclining inter-city seats with tray tables (4 per row), AmtrakConnect WiFi, two power outlets at each seat pair, luggage racks, trash/recycling bins, a restroom, and 6 workstation tables in the center of the car.
Caltrans has also paid to lease and refurbish 3 Non-Powered Control Units (F40PH locomotives converted into cab/baggage cars) and 3 Horizon Dinettes to serve as café cars (using the same equipment as other Amtrak California trains).
These single-level cars will be used to create two Comet Car trainsets that will run between Oakland and Bakersfield. This will allow Caltrans to break up two bi-level California Car trainsets and use the cars to add another coach car to each of the San Joaquins' remaining California Car trainsets.
Caltrans had planned to use the Comet Car trainsets on trains starting in July 2013, but the refurbishing process took longer than expected. The first Comet Car trainset was put into regular service on October 21, 2013and the second trainset was put into regular service on April 15, 2014.
In November 2017, the California Department of Transportation announced that it would be ordering seven Siemens Venture trainsets through its contractor Sumitomo Corporation.The states had initially contracted Sumitomo, which in turn subcontracted with Nippon Sharyo, to build the Next Generation Bi-Level Passenger Rail Car, but a prototype car failed a buff strength test in August 2015. After the test failure, Sumitomo canceled its contract with Nippon Sharyo, and turned to Siemens to be the new subcontractor. The cars are being built at the Siemens factory in Florin, California and will be hauled by California's existing fleet of diesel-electric locomotives.
California's trainsets will be used exclusively on the San Joaquins service and will consist of seven cars each: four coaches with economy seating, two coaches with economy seating and vending machines, and one cab car (control car) with economy seating. The order includes 49 cars for California, formed into seven semi-permanently-coupled trainsets. Since Siemens Venture trainsets were originally designed to be used with high platforms the SJJPA modify all stations, adding two mini-high platforms (short lengths of high platform, each long enough for one door, with an accessible ramp to the longer low platform).The first trainset is supposed to go into revenue service in 2020.
Regular revenue service begins in both directions between Oakland and Bakersfield on Thursday, March 6.
The Pacific Surfliner is a 350-mile (560 km) passenger train service serving the communities on the coast of Southern California between San Diego and San Luis Obispo.
The Capitol Corridor is a 168-mile (270 km) passenger train route in Northern California operated by Amtrak between San Jose, in the Bay Area, and Auburn, in the Sacramento Valley. The route is named after the two points most trains operate between, San Jose and Sacramento. The route runs roughly parallel to Interstate 880 and Interstate 80. Some trips run from Oakland to San Jose, while a single daily round trip runs all the way from San Jose to Auburn, in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada. Capitol Corridor trains started in 1991.
The Altamont Corridor Express is a commuter rail service in California, connecting Stockton and San Jose during peak hours only. ACE is named for the Altamont Pass, through which it runs. Service is managed by the San Joaquin Regional Rail Commission, and operations are contracted to Herzog Transit Services, using AAR assigned reporting mark ACEX. The 86-mile (138 km) route includes ten stops, with travel time about 2 hours and 12 minutes end-to-end. The tracks are owned by Union Pacific Railroad, previously built along the Western Pacific Railroad main line. ACE uses Bombardier BiLevel Coaches, MPI F40PH-3C locomotives, and Siemens Charger locomotives.
The Coast Starlight is a passenger train operated by Amtrak on the West Coast of the United States between Seattle and Los Angeles via Portland and the San Francisco Bay Area. The train, which has operated continuously since Amtrak's formation in 1971, was the first to offer direct service between Seattle and Los Angeles. Its name is a combination of two prior Southern Pacific (SP) trains, the Coast Daylight and the Starlight.
Amtrak California is a brand name used by the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) Division of Rail for three state-supported Amtrak commuter rail routes in California – the Capitol Corridor, the Pacific Surfliner, and the San Joaquins – and their associated connecting network of Thruway Motorcoach buses.
Central California is generally thought of as the middle third of the state, north of Southern California, which includes Los Angeles, and south of Northern California, which includes San Francisco. It includes the northern portion of the San Joaquin Valley, part of the Central Coast, the central hills of the California Coast Ranges and the foothills and mountain areas of the central Sierra Nevada.
The establishment of America's transcontinental rail lines securely linked California to the rest of the country, and the far-reaching transportation systems that grew out of them during the century that followed contributed to the state's social, political, and economic development. When California was admitted as a state to the United States in 1850, and for nearly two decades thereafter, it was in many ways isolated, an outpost on the Pacific, until the First Transcontinental Railroad was completed in 1869.
Merced station is an Amtrak intercity rail station located in Merced, California, United States. The station is served by seven daily round trips of the San Joaquin and is a major transfer point for YARTS buses serving Yosemite National Park. Merced station has a single side platform adjacent to the western track of the BNSF Stockton Subdivision.
Sacramento Valley Station (SAC) is an Amtrak railway station in the city of Sacramento, California, at 401 I Street on the corner of Fifth Street. It is the seventh busiest Amtrak station in the country, and the second busiest in the Western United States with thousands of riders a day and over a million passengers per year. Today, it is served by 38 daily Amtrak and Amtrak California trains and many Amtrak Thruway Motorcoaches. It is also the western terminus of the Sacramento RT Gold Line light rail system and the Route 30 bus serving Sacramento State University.
California's transportation system is complex and dynamic. Although known for its car culture and extensive network of freeways and roads, the state also has a vast array of rail, sea, and air transport. Several subway, light rail, and commuter rail networks are found in many of the state's largest population centers. In addition, with the state's location on the West Coast of the United States, several important ports in California handle freight shipments from the Pacific Rim and beyond. A number of airports are also spread out across the state, ranging from small general aviation airports to large international hubs like Los Angeles International Airport and San Francisco International Airport.
Martinez station is an Amtrak passenger train station in Martinez, California, United States. Located at the west end of downtown Martinez, the station has one side platform and one island platform, which serve three of the four tracks of the Union Pacific Railroad Martinez Subdivision. It is served by the daily California Zephyr and Coast Starlight long-distance trains, five daily round trips of the San Joaquin corridor service, and fifteen daily round trips of the Capitol Corridor service. Martinez is also served by Amtrak Thruway Motorcoach intercity buses plus County Connection, WestCAT, and Tri-Delta Transit local buses.
The Santa Fe Passenger Depot, also known as Fresno station, is an historic railroad station and transportation hub in downtown Fresno, California. It is served by San Joaquins inter-city passenger trains, Greyhound inter-city buses, and regional transit services including Fresno Area Express, Fresno County Rural Transit Agency, and seasonally by the Yosemite Area Regional Transportation System.
Robert J. Cabral Station, otherwise known as the Stockton – Downtown Station or Stockton ACE Station, is a railway station in Stockton, California. In 2003, the station building was named in honor of the late Robert J. Cabral, a San Joaquin County supervisor instrumental in the creation of the Altamont Corridor Express (ACE), originally Altamont Commuter Express.
Madera is an unstaffed train station near Madera, California, that is served by Amtrak's San Joaquins trains, which runs seven daily round-trips between Oakland or Sacramento and Bakersfield, California.
Modesto station is a staffed Amtrak station in Modesto, California. It serves the on the San Joaquin line. Designed by Pacific Design Associates of Modesto and VBN Architects of Oakland, the $2.4 million depot was built on four acres of former dairy pastureland. The station has one platform which serves a single track. A free unattended parking lot is available, as well as local bus service provided by Modesto Area Express.
The San Joaquin Daylight was a Southern Pacific passenger train inaugurated between Los Angeles and San Francisco's Oakland Pier by way of the San Joaquin Valley and Tehachapi Pass on July 4, 1941. Travel times were between 12 hours (1970) and 14 hours (1944). It operated until the advent of Amtrak in 1971.
Merced station is a proposed California High-Speed Rail station in Merced, California, located in Downtown Merced on Martin Luther King Jr. Way near the interchange with Route 99/59, and is about 7 blocks south from the existing Merced Amtrak station. The station was initially intended to be the northern terminus of the system's Initial Construction Segment. The high-speed rail line runs along the right-of-way of the Union Pacific Railroad at this location.
The California Zephyr is a passenger train operated by Amtrak between Chicago and the San Francisco Bay Area, via Omaha, Denver, Salt Lake City, and Reno. At 2,438 miles (3,924 km), it is Amtrak's longest daily route, and second-longest overall after the Texas Eagle's triweekly continuation from San Antonio to Los Angeles, with travel time between the termini taking approximately 511⁄2 hours. Amtrak claims the route as one of its most scenic, with views of the upper Colorado River valley in the Rocky Mountains, and the Sierra Nevada. The modern train is the second iteration of a train named California Zephyr; the original train was privately operated and ran on a different route through Nevada and California.
The Sacramento Subdivision is a rail line owned and operated by the Union Pacific Railroad in the U.S. state of California. The line begins in Marysville as a continuation of the Canyon Subdivision at a junction with the Valley Subdivision, and travels south through the Central Valley to a junction with the Fresno Subdivision in Stockton. South of Downtown Sacramento, the Sacramento RT Light Rail Blue Line runs adjacent to the right of way until a flyover near Consumnes River Boulevard. The route between Sacramento and Stockton hosts about 12 to 20 freight trains daily.
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