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Palo Alto (Caltrain station)

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Title: Palo Alto (Caltrain station)  
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Subject: Sunnyvale (Caltrain station), List of Caltrain stations, Millbrae Intermodal Terminal, Caltrain Centralized Equipment Maintenance and Operations Facility, San Benito County Transit
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Palo Alto (Caltrain station)

Palo Alto Station
Commuter rail
The rear of the station.
Station statistics
Address 95 University Avenue
Palo Alto, CA 94301
Line(s) Caltrain
  Local service
  Limited-stop service
Connections VTA Bus Routes: 22, 35, 522
Dumbarton Express
Caltrain Shuttles: Embarcadero & Crosstown
Stanford University: Marguerite Shuttle
Samtrans KX, 280, 281, 297, 390, 397, 880
Platforms 2 side platforms
Tracks 2
Parking Available
Bicycle facilities Racks available
Other information
Opened October 1940
Accessible Handicapped/disabled access
Owned by Peninsula Corridor Joint Powers Board
Fare zone 3
Passengers (2014) 6,156 per weekday[1] Increase 12.6%
Preceding station   Caltrain   Following station
toward San Francisco
Local service
toward Tamien
Gilroy during peak hours
(game days only)
toward Tamien
Gilroy during peak hours
Limited-stop service
toward Tamien
Gilroy during peak hours
toward San Francisco
Limited-stop service
toward San Francisco
Baby Bullet
Peak, Pattern A
toward San Francisco
Baby Bullet
Peak, Pattern B
toward Tamien
toward San Francisco
Baby Bullet
Reverse Peak, Pattern A
toward San Francisco
Baby Bullet
Reverse Peak, Pattern B
Palo Alto Southern Pacific Railroad Depot
Palo Alto (Caltrain station) is located in California
Palo Alto (Caltrain station)
Location Palo Alto, California
Built 1931
Architect John H. Christie
Architectural style Streamline Moderne
Governing body Private
NRHP Reference # 96000425[2]
Added to NRHP April 18, 1996

Palo Alto Station is the main train station in Palo Alto, California. It is a regional transit center serving Santa Clara County and San Mateo County Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) transit bus passengers as well as Caltrain commuters. Palo Alto is also one of the busiest stations in the Caltrain system, second only to the 4th and King Street Station in downtown San Francisco.[3] It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places for its architectural significance.


The station building is across the tracks from Alma Street, with a car entrance to the parking lot at Alma Street and Lytton Avenue. Daily parking is $5. It is on the west side of Downtown Palo Alto and offers easy access to the downtown Palo Alto Area and the Stanford University campus. It is one of two stations in Palo Alto; the other is farther south at Alma and California Avenue. On December 11, 2009, Cafe Venetia opened inside the historic Palo Alto train station.


The station is in the Streamline Moderne style which has connections with American history and is not typically found in Palo Alto. During the 1920s and 1930s most significant buildings in town were designed by a local architect, Birge Clark, who usually worked in the Mission Revival or Spanish Colonial Revival styles. The other major buildings of that era, such as large commercial blocks and apartment buildings, the main Post Office, the Community Center and other civic buildings were Mission Revival or Spanish Colonial Revival styles.[4]

On October 22, 1940 the cornerstone was laid for the new railroad station designed by J.H. Christie, a full-time architect employed by the Southern Pacific Railroad. It replaced an 1897 station; it was part of the grade separation project that moved the tracks a few feet southwest from the straight line that had extended south from Redwood City. The building is 215 feet (65 m) long by 25 feet (7.6 m) wide with an arcade in front and a marquee at the rear including two buildings connected by an arcade. The interior has a ticket office, waiting room, rest rooms, baggage room and a passageway between the waiting room and baggage room.[4] The interior is not open to the public now; tickets are purchased from machines on the platform.

The interior has a mural by John McQuarrie depicting Leland Stanford's dream of a University influenced by a pageant of transportation. It shows facts and events in the development of California. This one-story streamlined Southern Pacific station personifies the tendency of the 1930s to style buildings like transportation machinery, in this case the Streamline train. The building has all the trademarks: porthole windows, horizontal parallel lines to indicate speed and glass blocks.[4]

The station was refurbished in the 1980s.

Platforms and tracks

Northbound Local service toward San Francisco (Menlo Park)
Limited-stop service toward San Francisco (Menlo Park or San Carlos)
Baby Bullet, Pattern A toward San Francisco (Hillsdale)
Baby Bullet, Peak Pattern B toward San Francisco (Redwood City)
Baby Bullet, Reverse Peak Pattern B toward San Francisco (Menlo Park)
Southbound Local service toward Gilroy (Stanford or California Ave)
Limited-stop service toward Tamien, Gilroy during peak hours (California Ave)
Baby Bullet toward San Jose Diridon (Mountain View)
Baby Bullet, Peak Pattern B toward Tamien (Sunnyvale)

Bike station

Due to the high number of bicyclists in Palo Alto, a bike station has been built inside the old Southern Pacific baggage room. There is now a small fee to leave a bike there, and the area is no longer supervised. Use of these facilities requires sign-up.

Station amenities

  • Caltrain ticket machines
  • 8-Ride ticket validators
  • Coffee Shop (Cafe Doge)


  1. ^ Caltrain. "February 2014 Caltrain Annual Passenger Counts". Retrieved 2014-07-11. 
  2. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places.  
  3. ^ "Palo Alto Stations Improvement Project". Retrieved 4 June 2011. 
  4. ^ a b c "Palo Alto Southern Pacific Railroad Depot". California's Historic Silicon Valley.  

External links

  • Media related to at Wikimedia Commons
  • The train depot at Palo Alto
  • Caltrain Palo Alto station page

 This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the National Park Service.

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