New Train Line Gets Central Valley Commuters to Sacramento Earlier

SACRAMENTO -- It pulled into the station 10 minutes ahead of schedule, but people have been waiting on that train for years.

"This is a long time coming," Fresno Economic Development Corporation President Lee Ann Eager said. "This is perfect for all of in the Central Valley."

People like Eager regularly make the trip up to Sacramento but, until now, it hasn't been easy.

"But now with this train, I can tell folks, 'You can! You can get to your meetings in Sacramento. You can get there on time. And you can turn around and come back to Fresno or Madera or Tulare and get home in time for dinner with your children,'" Eager said.

Eager was one of about a hundred officials from California's Central Valley who took Amtrak's inaugural Morning Express train from Turlock to Sacramento on Monday.

Previously, the first train from San Joaquin County didn't get to the Capital City until about 11:30 a.m. Now, commuters can arrive just before 8 a.m.

"Anywhere between Fresno and Sacramento, I think this is going to be the choice if you're a regular business traveler," San Joaquin Joint Powers Authority Chair Vito Chiesa said.

Not only is the new line a help to commuters, local leaders say the goal is to cut down on pollution in the region and could possibly help alleviate the housing crisis.

"Commuters, as they push further and further away to find housing affordability, need to be able to have reliable ways to get to work," Sacramento Vice Mayor Steve Hansen said.

Many see it as a jumping off point for more investment in public transportation and more trains in the region.

"This is going to be important that we make this a success and then we're going to start other morning express trains," Chiesa said. "Maybe one to Oakland next year and then more service up to Sacramento."