New rail connection takes Auburn’s 49ers fans to Santa Clara stadium

By: Gus Thomson, Journal Staff Writer
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Auburn’s 49er Express

Westbound departure from Auburn station on Fridays and Saturdays: 8:10 a.m.

Arrival time at Santa Clara-Great America: 12:01 p.m.

Eastbound departure from Santa Clara-Great America for direct train to Auburn: 5:24 p.m.

Arrival time at Auburn-Conheim station: 9:23 p.m.

Source: Capitol Corridor Joint Powers Authority

A train ride from Auburn to Santa Clara in time for opening kickoff on a Sunday afternoon 49ers game is now a reality under new scheduling the Capitol Corridor rail service has put in place.

Both the morning train from Auburn and the return train from San Jose have new departure and arrival times to aid football fans and other event attendees on weekend journeys to the new Levi’s Stadium.

James Spering, Capital Corridor board chairman said the new schedule is particularly exciting because of the ability passengers now have to align their trips for events at the stadium.

“The stadium is an easy five-minute walk from the Santa Clara/Great America Station, making it a remarkably convenient option for passengers attending events from the East Bay or the Sacramento area,” Spering said.

For Sunday afternoon football games starting at 1 p.m. or 1:25 p.m., there are three trains from Sacramento that arrive in Santa Clara before kickoff, including the Auburn express.

For later afternoon games, trains depart from the Santa Clara/Great America Station as late as 9:24 p.m. But the Auburn train is the only one that proceeds to Placer County.

The new schedule took effect this past weekend. Before that, the Auburn weekend train stopped at Emeryville on Saturdays and Sundays, with bus service to Santa Clara. The return trip to Auburn arrived an hour earlier at the Conheim station that the new 9:23 p.m. arrival time.

Celia McAdam, executive director of the Placer County Transportation Planning Agency, said Wednesday that the extension of the weekend train to San Jose is welcome.

McAdam added, however, that the planning agency is seeking more comprehensive improvements in commuter rail service. That work includes a 17-mile “third rail,” estimated to cost $200 million, that would provide another train track link between Sacramento and Placer County.

“It’s (the San Jose link) certainly going in the right direction but we’ve got a ways to go,” McAdam said.

Placer County and the Capitol Corridor have been working on expanding the rail line since the first commuter trains linked Roseville with Sacramento in 1991, she said. One train departs Auburn in the morning and returns from Sacramento in the evening.

“One of the challenges is Union Pacific owns the track and its priority is freight,” McAdam said.

The weekend and weekday train will continue to also serve Rocklin and Roseville stations.

To assist passengers with directions on how to make the walk from the train station to the stadium, Capitol Corridor has posted a special page on its website, “How to Get to Levi’s Stadium in 5 Easy Steps.” Information about the new schedule as well as a link to the timetable can also be found on the Capitol Corridor website.

The Capitol Corridor serves 17 stations along the 170-mile rail corridor connecting Placer and Santa Clara counties.