The prologue to the city’s purchase of the station came on the heels of strong public support for the station to remain as a passenger terminal. The railroad’s insistence on the movement of the mainline to the south of the shops brought strong public resistance, without land control, the city was not able to influence the operational demands of the railroad. The conditions of the relocated tracks and passenger platforms were negotiated by the railroad and the private developer prior to the city taking ownership of the 32 acre site in 2007.
Within a year of purchase, the City embarked on a long program of reinvestment in the building and site in a three-phase program.
The first phase resulted in passenger and freight railroad tracks being moved approximately 500 feet north. The northward move accommodates longer passenger trains, more efficient rail travel, a safer means of crossing the railroad tracks and connects the downtown with the Railyards property, which will be developed in Phase 3.
Station facilities provided in Phase 1 included passenger platforms and canopied walkways, electronic information systems, landscaping and other amenities. The $70 million construction project also included construction of three tunnels under the realigned tracks. The Central Passenger Tunnel and Service Tunnel provide grade-separated access for passengers and service vehicles to the passenger platforms. Serving pedestrians and bicyclists, the West Tunnel connects the Railyards and areas to the north with Old Sacramento and communities to the south of the rail corridor.