Pinole, California, a quiet suburb on the shores of San Pablo Bay, is probably not the first name that comes to mind when thinking of railroading hot spots. There are no yards here, no junctions. Still, with the BNSF Stockton Subdivision hugging the hills overlooking the bay, and Union Pacific's Martinez Subdivision on the shore, there is never too long a wait for the next train.
Amtrak California keeps the UP line's rails shiny on weekdays with 32 daily Capitol Corridor trains and 8 San Joaquins. Our cameras caught 16 of the Capitols and 5 San Joaquins on this video!
In addition, two of Amtrak's premier long-distance trains use this line, the California Zephyr and the Coast Starlight. We filmed the eastbound and westbound Zephyrs during our time trackside in Pinole.
UP's double-track Martinez Subdivision, part of the old Southern Pacific Cal-P line, also sees plenty of freight. The BNSF Stockton Subdivision carries only freight in this area, a vital link between BNSF's yard in Richmond and the UP crossing in Stockton.
Each train is shown in its entirety, just as if you were there with us at trackside. We had to hike quite a distance out on the line to get the classic trains-along-the-water shot that Pinole is known for, then spent quite a long time waiting in the bright sun between trains, all to condense a full day of railroading action into a fast-paced 65-minute DVD!