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(rshsdepot) Lodi, CA
- -new-a.jpg (plaque at station)
(station before restoration & move)
Passenger service returns
By Jeff Hood
Lodi Bureau Chief
LODI -- Two-year-old Nathan Bond's eyes grew wide and a smile appeared on
his face as the horn grew louder. Another child shouted, "It's the train!"
Others applauded and cheered as the engine and four cars came to a halt at
Lodi Station at 7:18 a.m. Monday, the first passenger train to stop in Lodi
in 31 years. About 80 people boarded, and the Amtrak was off four minutes
"This whole concept of train travel is as American as it gets," said Ed
Bond, who along with his son and wife, Jennifer, were making a round trip to
Merced. "It's neat to get back to that and remember a time that was less
The Bakersfield-bound train was the first to serve Lodi since the Sacramento
Daylight, operated by Southern Pacific, ended operations April 30, 1971.
Amtrak started the next day -- but without Lodi on its schedule.
City officials had to lobby Caltrans, which operates Amtrak in most of the
state, and Union Pacific Railroad, which owns the rails, to get the service.
It also took the renovation and 1999 relocation of the former train depot,
now Lodi's transit hub. Tuesday also was the day Amtrak added a second daily
round-trip train between Bakersfield and Sacramento.
That train, delayed by ceremonies hailing its arrival in Merced, Modesto and
Stockton, was more than a half-hour behind its revised schedule, arriving in
Lodi at 12:08 p.m. and staying until 12:25.
Lodi's Curtis Lee, who was among the approximately 80 passengers boarding in
Lodi for Sacramento, said he hadn't ridden a train since the 1940s. He said
he would consider Amtrak for visiting his former home of San Diego,
especially with the extra security in place at airports since the Sept. 11
"It's quite a hassle nowadays to fly," said Lee, 73. All in all, the train
is more relaxing and less stressful in view of the long-term parking garage
(a block north)."
Some of those who took the early-morning train to Merced and returned to
Lodi said it was a relaxing, no-hassle way to travel.
"It's good quality time with your kids," Jennifer Bond said, "because you're
not driving, and they're not in back."
About 1,000 people were at the station to greet the northbound train.
Representatives for Gov. Gray Davis, state Sen. Michael Machado, D-Linden,
and U.S. Rep. Richard Pombo, R-Tracy, were among those attending, as well as
"After 31 years, welcome to the Amtrak family," said Gil Mallery, chief
executive officer of Amtrak West, which oversees rail operations in the
Western United States.
"I can tell from the turnout today, you folks are ready for rail service,
and we won't let you down."
Train travel completes the choice of travel modes from Lodi Station, the
only one in the Central Valley where travelers can choose local, regional or
Greyhound buses, taxis or trains, connecting to virtually any possible
destination. All in one spot.
"It's actually a fulfillment of our plan to being a fully multimodal
station," City Councilman Keith Land said. "And people can come here and
Lodi will be a destination spot."
* To reach Lodi Bureau Chief Jeff Hood, call 367-7427 or e-mail
The Railroad Station Historical Society maintains a database of existing
railroad structures at: http://www.rrshs.org