Max Pictures masthead

(Frequently?) Asked Questions

The following aren’t actually questions that have been asked—they’re more like various and sundry facts about the commute shown in Train Life. If you have other questions about the film or commuting on the Capitol Corridor, e-mail them to—we’ll add the question and answer to this document. Newest FAQs are at the bottom of this page.

What is the Capitol Corridor?

The Capitol Corridor is an intercity commuter railway spanning 170 miles from Auburn (in California’s Central Valley) to San Jose (at the south end of the San Francisco Bay Area). 36 trains run daily between the 15 stops along the corridor: Auburn, Rocklin, Roseville, Sacramento, Davis, Suisun/Fairfield, Martinez, Richmond, Berkeley, Emeryville, Oakland, Hayward, Fremont/Centerville, Santa Clara/Great America, and San Jose. There’s also a connecting shuttle bus between Emeryville and San Francisco.

Who runs the Capitol Corridor?

The Capitol Corridor is:

  • managed/administered by Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART),
  • funded by Caltrans (state) and other (federal) sources,
  • scheduled by the Capitol Corridor Joint Powers Authority (CCJPA),
  • uses Amtrak crews, and
  • runs on Union Pacific Railroad (UPRR) track.

What’s the Capitol Corridor Joint Powers Authority?

The CCJPA is a 16-member board made up from 6 local transit agencies: Placer County Transportation Planning Agency, Sacramento Regional Transit District, San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit District, Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority, Solano Transportation Authority, and the Yolo County Transportation District.

How does it all work?

Most of the time, the Capitol Corridor runs pretty well. Other times…

How many people ride the Capitol Corridor?

In 2002, besides the 12 folks interviewed in Train Life, 1,080,000 passengers used the Capitol Corridor.

Why isn’t there more about the train in Train Life?

For me, the daily commuter, train life is about people sharing major portions of their days, weeks, and lives together commuting on the train.

Where are the conductors/crew in Train Life?

The conductors and crew fell outside the scope of this documentary. Maybe if there’s a Train Life 2: Bride of Train Life, the crew and conductors will receive their due.

How much do you ride the train?

A round-trip from Davis to Richmond is about 120 miles and takes the train about 2-1/2 hours (when it’s on time). I take the train an average of 20 days a month for a total of 2,400 miles and 50 hours. In a year that adds up to 28,800 miles and 600 hours. As of October 2005, I had been a Capitol Corridor commuter for 5 years: 1,200 round-trips, 144,000 miles, 3,000 hours (÷ 24 hours = 125 days).

Are you nuts?

Yes, but that has nothing to do with riding the train… I think.

Would you take a vacation by train?

Of course.

What cameras/equipment did you use to film Train Life?

Train Life was filmed on MiniDV, a consumer-accessible digital video format. All the interviews and exteriors were shot with a stock Canon Optura 100MC—no additional lights, lenses or (obviously) mics. Editing was performed (mainly on the train) with Apple Final Cut Pro (version 3) on an Apple PowerBook G4 (15" screen, 667MHz). Final editing took place on an Apple iMac G4 (17" screen, 1.25GHz).

Did you have any problems filming on the train?

Aside from the constant shaking train motion, no (travel on the Capitol Corridor is anything but smooth). And, for the most part, the train crews ignored me while I was filming. However, I recently (May 2004) panicked someone at the Richmond platform by taking pictures of the tracks, signboard, etc. After I boarded my homeward-bound train, one of the conductors asked to speak with me. He sheepishly explained that he’d been contacted by a “special agent” about a person fitting my description who had been taking pictures at the Richmond platform and would I please identify myself (I did). I guess my darker complexion makes me a suspicious character.

return to top