What is ACE Commuter?

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John Bobinyec

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I'm looking at trains in California in Amtrak's reservations system, and these two popped up:

3278 from San Jose to Stockton

3288 from San Jose to Stockton

What are these?

Thanks,

jb
 

BCL

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They have stops at several Amtrak stations, including Stockton, Fremont-Centerville, Great America, Santa Clara, and San Jose Diridon.

The equipment they use seems a bit odd. They're pulling Bombardier Bi-levels with the less than modern-looking EMDs

 

GG-1

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They have stops at several Amtrak stations, including Stockton, Fremont-Centerville, Great America, Santa Clara, and San Jose Diridon.

The equipment they use seems a bit odd. They're pulling Bombardier Bi-levels with the less than modern-looking EMDs

Aloha
Very nice picture
 

roadman3313

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They are a "Thruway" connection between San Jose and Stockton (SKT) to connect to the San Joaquin train. At the times when ACE is not running, a Thruway bus connection is in place instead. I believe that was the equipment they had funding for at the time. They currently have 4 trainsets in operation. Each set departs SKT in the morning heading towards SJC. The trains layover just south of the Caltrain Tamien Station (south of SJC) on some siding tracks. They then depart SJC in the afternoon heading back towards SKT. The ACE yard is in the Stockton area just south of SKT.

One round-trip per train set Monday-Friday excluding holidays. There were 4 trips, then it was reduced to 3, but as of last October (I believe) it has now gone back up to 4. All depends on the ridership and funding available. It started operation in October 1998 and is administered by the San Joaquin Regional Rail Commission (SJRRC). I believe this same Commission is looking into more oversight over the San Joaquin Amtrak route as well similar to how the Capitol Corridor has become more independant of Amtrak in administering its route.

Day to day operations and maintenance are provided by Herzog Transit Services (which also oversees Transit Services of America which is the current Caltrain contractor).
 

John Bobinyec

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I'm looking at trains in California in Amtrak's reservations system, and these two popped up:

3278 from San Jose to Stockton

3288 from San Jose to Stockton

What are these?

Thanks,

jb
It's interesting that you can book a ticket on these trains via the Amtrak reservations system, in combination with an Amtrak train.

Does ACE use electronic "tickets" the same way Amtrak does?

Thanks,j

jb
 

BCL

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It's interesting that you can book a ticket on these trains via the Amtrak reservations system, in combination with an Amtrak train.

Does ACE use electronic "tickets" the same way Amtrak does?

Thanks,j

jb
Not sure. They claim that the monthly passes need to be signed, and that any other tickets need to be "validated" before boarding the train.

http://www.acerail.c...ngace/faqs.aspx

I use the Great America station quite a bit, and I've seen the validator machines. I think a ticket is inserted and stamped with the date/time to prevent it from being used another day. I don't know how they would do it if Amtrak provides tickets. The slot seems a bit too narrow to accept an Amtrak ticket. Perhaps they have a special deal with Amtrak. For the most part I think they utilize a proof of payment system similar to Caltrain, with fare inspectors. I've never seen the ticket booth open. I have seen the station totally crowded when the last ACE train was late. I was wondering what was going on and then someone said it was ACE. When the train rolled in, it was the first time I'd actually seen one of their trains in person.

They have ton of free shuttle buses every morning and evening. I've seen them lined up waiting to pick up passengers.
 

Blackwolf

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The equipment they use seems a bit odd. They're pulling Bombardier Bi-levels with the less than modern-looking EMDs
I do believe that some, if not all, of their F40's are former Amtrak locomotives! I remember when ACE first started up services and distinctly remember that bit of knowledge being given out at the 'Open House' ceremonies for Pleasanton's station by a uniformed ACE staffer.
 

Texan Eagle

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The first time I saw Amtrak offers connection on ACE, I was surprised too. If they can do this with ACE, they should consider offering through connections from SJC to San Francisco on Caltrain too.

About the ACE itself- it seems to me like a terribly inefficient way of running business if you are going to use four trainsets for only one trip per day and keep all of them sitting in the sidings all day long. They do things like this and then say California is in so much debt :|

Could they not have managed to do some interlining agreement with Caltrain to mix and match Caltrain equipment, plus maybe one or two trainsets from ACE added to the inventory to mix and match and run the four ACE services using a common pool of equipment instead of purchasing four full sets and using them in super inefficient manner?
 

fairviewroad

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Couple of thoughts:

1. This, along with the NJT service between PHL and Atlantic City, would be the only two places Amtrak will sell you a ticket on another rail carrier. (Not counting

the Maple Leaf, which is a unique category of its own) Correct, or am I forgetting something?

2. Do people really commute daily between Stockton and SJC? Seems pretty brutal to spend more than 4 hours a day on a commuter train. That

4:20 AM departure out of Stockton must be for the true believers only.

3. This service has certainly lasted longer than the similarly-named ACES service between New York and Atlantic City!
 

Train2104

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2. Do people really commute daily between Stockton and SJC? Seems pretty brutal to spend more than 4 hours a day on a commuter train. That

4:20 AM departure out of Stockton must be for the true believers only.
There are people who commute from Port Jervis to NYC...first departure 3:52am which arrives in NYC (after transfer) at 6:19am
 

Karl1459

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Amtrak Surfliner tickets are honored on (LA) Metrolink between station pairs, also Metrolink monthly passes are honored on Surfliners.

Housing prices in San Jose-San Francisco are insane, Stockton-Sacramento-Modesto merely outrageous. The 580 freeway across Altimont Pass is 5 or 6 lanes each way and often choked morning and late afternoon (don't even think of the 580/680 interchange in Pleasanton! Perfect conditions for a viable commuter rail.

An interesting thought for me is to reroute the Coast Starlight via ...SAC-Stockton-Pleasanton/Livermore-SanJose... which by shortening the route slightly and cutting a lot of station work could cut at least 1-1/2 hours off the schedule. Station work between SanJose and Sacramento could be handled by Capitol Corridor trains.
 

calwatch

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Metrolink stopped cross honoring Amtrak tickets, with the exception of Amtrak monthly passes and trips from Burbank Airport to Los Angeles only, plus the special 761/768 train (first Surfliner of the morning) from Oxnard to LA as that takes a Metrolink slot. I don't believe ACE is e-ticketable. You have to pick up the tickets at the Quick Trak machine, which has the date printed on it for conductor checks. Hypothetically you could board ACE, not board the Amtrak rail segment, and then have the ticket automatically cancel and rebook again with the e-Voucher, as the conductor never physically collects the ticket. (That doomed Metrolink cross honoring since Amtrak tickets could be reused, and no punching was done to make the ticket void.) But that seems like a lot of trouble of standing in line.

And why would you cut the Starlight out of Oakland and San Francisco? While it might take some time that misses a huge trip generator, plus the Bay running which is nice.
 

MikefromCrete

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Couple of thoughts:

1. This, along with the NJT service between PHL and Atlantic City, would be the only two places Amtrak will sell you a ticket on another rail carrier. (Not counting

the Maple Leaf, which is a unique category of its own) Correct, or am I forgetting something?

2. Do people really commute daily between Stockton and SJC? Seems pretty brutal to spend more than 4 hours a day on a commuter train. That

4:20 AM departure out of Stockton must be for the true believers only.

3. This service has certainly lasted longer than the similarly-named ACES service between New York and Atlantic City!
This has to do with the high cost of housing in the Bay area. A lot of people find they can get a bigger bang for their housing dollar in places like Stockton and endure the long commute in exchange for spending a lot less on homes.
 

MikefromCrete

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They have stops at several Amtrak stations, including Stockton, Fremont-Centerville, Great America, Santa Clara, and San Jose Diridon.

The equipment they use seems a bit odd. They're pulling Bombardier Bi-levels with the less than modern-looking EMDs

What's so odd about F-40's and Bombardier coaches? They are two mainstays of North American commuting.
 

Texan Eagle

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What I find odd about this is, this ACE train with a daily ridership of 3,700, divided among eight runs per day so ~450 passengers per train, runs with six bi-level cars. Each of these cars can accommodate 140 passengers so this train has capacity of around 840... so, basically the train runs 50% empty! On the other hand, Caltrain with daily ridership of 48,000 runs with 5 Bombarider bi-level cars. :(

Would it not be a better use of resources if two cars from each of the 4 ACE trains are removed and given to add 1 car to the 5 Caltrain Baby Bullet sets (and keep 3 as spares)? But alas, if only so much thinking and co-operation went into things, the state would not be crying hoarse about it being bankrupt.
 
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BCL

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They have stops at several Amtrak stations, including Stockton, Fremont-Centerville, Great America, Santa Clara, and San Jose Diridon.

The equipment they use seems a bit odd. They're pulling Bombardier Bi-levels with the less than modern-looking EMDs

What's so odd about F-40's and Bombardier coaches? They are two mainstays of North American commuting.
I'm used to seeing them attached to sleek-looking locomotives and not wide-nose ones.

 

Swadian Hardcore

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I think that a four-hour commuter is far too long. That's definately hit the sprawl wall. People probably take leter runs and more of the pax are probably not commuters, unless they are desperate.
 
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C

chakk

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I'm looking at trains in California in Amtrak's reservations system, and these two popped up:

3278 from San Jose to Stockton

3288 from San Jose to Stockton

What are these?

Thanks,

jb
It's interesting that you can book a ticket on these trains via the Amtrak reservations system, in combination with an Amtrak train.

Does ACE use electronic "tickets" the same way Amtrak does?

Thanks,j

jb
You can not book tickets on the ACE trains from the Amtrak system. The 4-digit transportation you are seeing from San Jose to Stockton on the Amtrak website are Amtrak California buses.
 

roadman3313

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3204 and 3218 can be booked as well. Those are indeed ACE Train to San Joaquin connections via SKT. You can book them through Amtrak as long as it is a day that ACE runs. If it is a day that ACE does not run then the connection on those trips will be made via Thruway Bus.
 

johnny.menhennet

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The ridership figure of 3,700 Texan Eagle is citing was taken liekly before October, when the service was increased back to four round trips per day. I would say that for a long time, they hovered just around <4,000 and that was on just 6 runs. I think they actually have many more riders per train set than many other commuter rail systems, especially in the west.
 
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