16th Street Station (Oakland)
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16th Street Station Oakland
Oakland 16th Street Station, main entrance, December 2007
Location1601 Wood Street, Oakland, California[1]
United States
Coordinates37°48?56.1?N 122°17?48.3?W / 37.815583°N 122.296750°W / 37.815583; -122.296750Coordinates: 37°48?56.1?N 122°17?48.3?W / 37.815583°N 122.296750°W / 37.815583; -122.296750
Owned byBUILD
Other information
Station codeOAK
ClosedAugust 21, 1994
Former services
Reference no.81

16th Street station (Oakland Central) is an abandoned Southern Pacific Railroad station in the Prescott neighborhood of Oakland, California, United States. The Beaux-Arts building was designed by architect Jarvis Hunt, a preeminent railroad station architect, and opened in 1912. The station has not been served by trains since 1994.


Southern Pacific

The original station in 1910

The original 16th Street depot was a smaller wood structure, built when the tracks were on the shoreline of San Francisco Bay. Later the shoreline was filled and now lies nearly a mile west. It was replaced in 1912 by a Beaux-Arts building designed by architect Jarvis Hunt.

For decades the 16th Street station was the main Oakland station for Southern Pacific (SP) through trains, almost entirely replacing the 7th Street station. It was a companion (or "city station") for Oakland Pier, two miles away, where passengers could board ferries to San Francisco. (After 1958, the ferries were replaced by buses from 16th Street station to the SP's Third and Townsend Depot). The elevated platforms were used for the SP-owned East Bay Electric Lines commuter service (renamed Interurban Electric Railway or IER in 1938).

IER trains from Berkeley no longer stopped at 16th Street when railroad service over the Bay Bridge opened in January 15, 1939, as the junction from those lines to the bridge was north of the station. When the IER folded in July 1941, portions of some lines were sold to the competing Key System for use by their transbay trains; however, the Key System only served the station with a surface streetcar line on 16th Street, and did not use the elevated platforms.

Major long distance trains from the station included the Oakland Lark (night train to Los Angeles) and the City of San Francisco (to Chicago).[2]

Amtrak and replacement

Amtrak trains at 16th Street station in 1980

The station also served as the main rail link for points north and east of the Bay Area. San Francisco-area passengers boarded ferries to Oakland Pier, and after 1958 boarded buses to 16th Street. Amtrak took over intercity passenger rail services in 1971, and decided to consolidate most Bay Area service in Oakland, leaving San Francisco as one of the largest cities without direct intercity rail service.

The station was severely damaged in the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake, but continued serving trains at an adjacent building.[3] Capitols and San Joaquins trains were shifted to the new Emeryville station on August 13, 1993, but long-distance trains continued to use Oakland Central while track work was completed at Emeryville.[4] The Coast Starlight and California Zephyr began stopping at Emeryville on August 5, 1994; they last stopped at Oakland 16th St. on August 21.[3][5] This left Emeryville as the only Oakland-area stop for Amtrak until the new Oakland - Jack London Square station opened on May 22, 1995.[6]

Emeryville largely replaced 16th Street station as the connection point for Amtrak Thruway Motorcoach across the bay in San Francisco (for passengers heading northbound towards Seattle or eastbound towards Chicago, or passengers arriving from the north and east), as Emeryville is closer to the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge than Oakland-Jack London Square. However, Jack London Square serves as the San Francisco connection for the Coast Starlight,(for southbound passengers from San Francisco and northbound passengers heading to San Francisco).[7][8]

In the mid 1990s, the adjacent railroad tracks were moved west during the construction of Interstate 880 (to replace the earthquake-destroyed Cypress Street Viaduct), which isolated the station from the tracks. The station buildings are largely intact, including the interlocking tower and ironwork elevated platforms. The station was purchased in 2005 by BUILD, an affiliate of BRIDGE Housing, and is being restored as part of a local redevelopment project.[9][10] In 2015, the station was used to stage a local opera company's production of Lulu.[11] As of 2021, the station is being used as a rented space for private events.[12]

In media

The station was used in films including Chu Chu and the Philly Flash,[13] Funny Lady (as Cleveland station),[14] RENT,[15] and Hemingway & Gellhorn (as a stand-in for the Hotel Florida).[16][17] Mumford & Sons filmed their music video for "Babel" in the station.[18]


  1. ^ "Amtrak National Timetable Revised Edition: Fall/Winter 1993/1994". Amtrak. February 14, 1994. p. 8 – via The Museum of Railway Timetables.
  2. ^ Southern Pacific timetable 1954, Tables 60, 61, 95, 96 https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/7/7e/Southern_Pacific_Railroad_1954_timetable.pdf
  3. ^ a b Sanders, Craig (2006). Amtrak in the Heartland. Bloomington, Indiana: Indiana University Press. p. 153. ISBN 978-0-253-34705-3.
  4. ^ "Amtrak opens new station in Emeryville". San Francisco Examiner. August 10, 1993. p. A6 – via Newspapers.com.
  5. ^ "Emeryville/16th Street saga finally ends". Pacific Rail News. No. 371. October 1994. p. 4.
  6. ^ Vurek, Matthew Gerald (2016). Images of Modern America: California's Capitol Corridor. Arcadia Publishing. pp. 33, 43, 50. ISBN 9781467124171.
  7. ^ "Amtrak Coast Starlight Timetable" (PDF). Amtrak. October 12, 2020. Retrieved 2020.
  8. ^ "Amtrak California Zephyr Timetable" (PDF). Amtrak. October 5, 2020. Retrieved 2020.
  9. ^ Burt, Cecily (28 December 2008). "Shuttered but not forgotten: 16th Street depot ready for rebirth". Oakland Tribune. San Jose, California: MediaNews Group. Retrieved 2014.
  10. ^ "16th Street Station Reuse Planning Process". Archived from the original on October 14, 2012. Retrieved 2019.
  11. ^ Geberen, Janos (April 8, 2015). "Will Lulu Do a Karenina at West Edge Opera?". San Francisco Classical Voice.
  12. ^ "Renting the Station". Retrieved 2019.
  13. ^ Glover, Malcolm (October 16, 1980). "Ferry commuters set their sights on a motion picture's mirage". San Francisco Examiner. p. D2 – via Newspapers.com. open access
  14. ^ Pollock, Christopher (2013). Reel San Francisco Stories: An Annotated Filmography of the Bay Area. Lulu. p. 88. ISBN 9780578130422 – via Google Books.
  15. ^ Paiva, Troy (2013). Night Vision: The Art of Urban Exploration. Chronicle Books. p. 61. ISBN 9780811875783 – via Google Books.
  16. ^ Mendelson, Aaron; Rancaño, Vanessa (October 1, 2012). "Oakland's historic 16th Street station celebrates centennial, new role in community". Oakland North.
  17. ^ Whitlock, Cathy (December 31, 2011). "The Sets of Hemingway & Gellhorn". Architectural Digest.
  18. ^ "Where should Treasure Island Music Festival 2017 relocate?". San Francisco Chronicle. October 7, 2016.

External links

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



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