Rail 101

Building for the future requires that we understand what exists today. Here you’ll find an introduction to basic rail concepts, as well as a map of rail lines and services that currently exist in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Why trains?

Types of trains

Trains and grade separations

Trains and noise

Click in square in map below for south bay detail

map of rail lines in greater SF Bay Area

southbay detail map
To view what we’d like to see built in the future, see our projects page. Altamont Commuter Express (ACE)
Amtrak Capitol Corridor
Amtrak San Joaquins (Oakland-Bakersfield, Sacramento-Bakersfield)
Amtrak long distance: Coast Starlight (LA-Seattle via Salinas, Oakland, Sacramento); California Zephyr (Emeryville-Sacramento-Chicago)
former freight rights-of-way owned by local transit agencies
tourist excursion (former freight lines, not all lines shown)
freight trains only (not all lines shown)
dark edges indicate freight operations, in combination with passenger services (colors)

Passenger Services

Passenger rail service is provided by Altamont Commuter Express (ACE),  Amtrak (Capitol Corridor, Coast Starlight, California Zephyr, San Joaquins), BART, and Caltrain.

Tourist excursion trains

Designed to provide a historical, entertaining experience rather than transportation per se.