In continuous operation since October 1863, the San Francisco Peninsula railroad has provided passenger service to the towns and cities between San Francisco and San Jose. During this time, the Peninsula has gone from desolate, impassible muddy territory, to thriving dairies, farms, and orchards, to suburbs and highly developed commercial and suburban areas.

While the Southern Pacific Railroad owned and operated this service for most of its existence, the State of California took over responsibility for the service in 1980, but continued to rely on Southern Pacific to operate the service. In January 1992, the Peninsula Corridor Joint Powers Board purchased the right-of-way from San Francisco to San Jose from Southern Pacific. At this time, service was extended from San Jose to Gilroy, resulting in several new stations being constructed.

  • The San Francisco Peninsula Railroad Passenger Service — Past, Present, and Future, 16.5 MB, 119 pages

A well researched history of the beginnings of the Peninsula railroad is provided here:

  • History of the San Francisco & San Jose Railroad, By Louis Richard Miller, June 1941

A short history of the Peninsula commuter line was written shortly after Caltrans took over operation of the line:

  • The Peninsula Commute Story, by Steve Miller, October 7, 1987

Two interesting and intelligently presented discussions of the technical details of bringing HSR (High Speed Rail) to the Caltrain corridor (from San Francisco, CA to San Jose, CA). They discuss compatibility between HSR and Caltrain, integration issues, and the impact on adjoining communities:


A blog focused on the TransBay Terminal can be found at:


Regional Rail Links

Passenger rail service is provided by several organizations in the San Francisco Bay region. (Note: these links will leave this site.)

  • BART (Bay Area Rapid Tranist District)
  • Capitol Corridor
  • ACE (Altamont Commuter Express)
  • Caltrans Division of Rails, San Joaquin Corridor

Various San Francisco Bay counties are planning to provide rail passenger service in the future:

  • SMART (Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit) District
  • TAMC (Transportation Agency for Monterey County)
  • Santa Cruz County Regional Transportation Commission

Within the San Francisco Bay region are several railroad associations and museums:

  • Niles Canyon Railroad
  • Western Railway Museum
  • South Bay Historical Railroad Society
  • BayRail Alliance