Zipping around Northern California with the Capitol Corridor train

Living in Southeast Asia and traveling a good part of my life, I get from point A to point B in many ways. In fact, my transportation includes flights (and more flights, as I took 64 of them last year alone!), private island hopper flights, helicopters, hot air balloons, one ultralight flight, ferries, fast-craft boats, local inboard shuttle boats, canoes, buses, trikes, tuk-tuks, taxi cabs, motorcycle taxis, and probably a water buffalo or two.

Zipping around Northern California with the Capitol Corridor train

However, one mode of transportation that I don’t take often is a train. Today, I find myself on just that, although, to be fair, I’m back visiting the United States – not in my adopted home of the Philippines or Southeast Asia.

I flew from Manila to San Francisco on a direct flight (business class!) and spent a few blissful days in the company of one of my oldest friends from high school and his family. However, while I could get used to the just-sunny-enough afternoons, the dive bars, fantastic sushi, and amazing eats, it’s time for me, my liver, and my growing pot belly to move on to Sacramento.

Sacramento, the capital city of California, is where I lived for about nine years before moving abroad and opting for a life of travel, adventure, and low wages, but I still go back to visit once every year or two.

The problem is that getting from San Francisco to Sacramento – although it’s only about ninety miles – can be difficult or expensive, especially if you have luggage.

Luckily, I got turned on to the Capitol Corridor train, which is incredibly convenient as well as comfortable. It spans 18 stops between Auburn (in the foothills east of Sacramento) and the city of San Jose, including the East Bay (Berkerkely) and down through the Silicon Valley. Therefore, it’s popular for commuters, who usually come into the Bay Area for work and then head back to Sacramento at night, although some may go the opposite route.

I booked my ticket today online ($28) easily, and had the option of a train from Berkely (where my friend could easily drop me off) to Sactown about every two hours. The train itself has two levels, and, since I’m towing a huge bag, I looked for the car that’s marked with a blue suitcase to signal that they had a little luggage rack by the door, as well as several cars specifically for bicycle transport. You can find a seat downstairs or upstairs (just try to get one that goes in your direction so you won’t be traveling backward) and the seats are wide enough and surprisingly comfortable. They also have a café on board where you can get basic food, coffee, water, and snacks, or some beers and mixed drinks if memory serves (a lot of people take the train down to Raiders, 49ers, or Warriors games). Of course, they have bathrooms, and you can stow your possessions in an overhead bin like on an airplane or under your seat.

The best part is that they also have wi-fi that works pretty well most of the hour-and-a-half journey, so you can get work done along the way – like writing this review for!

If you’re traveling in or around northern California, give the Capitol Corridor train a try, and you’ll probably be happy with the ride and service.

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Norm Schriever is a blogger, Amazon best-sellling author, cultural mad scientist, and enemy of the comfort zone. His work appears in the Huffington Post,, Good Morning America, The Anderson Cooper Show on CNN, NBC, MSN, Yahoo,, and media all around the world.
Norm grew up in Connecticut and graduated from the University of Connecticut, where he was never accused of overstudying. After expatriating to Costa Rica in 2011, he started traveling the world and documenting what he saw. He now lives in Southeast Asia, writing his heart out and working with local charities.

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