Located in San José, California, Diridon Station has become a major mass transportation hub for the Silicon Valley and the northern part of the state. Amtrak and commuter trains, local and regional bus lines and light rail all operate out of Diridon and if California’s high-speed rail line ever comes to fruition, it too will connect at Diridon. The station itself was built in 1935 and was originally known as the Cahill Depot due to the street it’s located on as well as the Southern Pacific Depot as it was predominantly served by that railroad company. It has faithfully served the San José area ever since. Diridon Station was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1993 due to its architecture and historical significance.
Backstory and Context
As San José and the Santa Clara Valley were gripped by the Great Depression, local leaders realized that the area was becoming an important connector for people traveling from Los Angles to San Francisco. As a result, they sought to divert rail traffic away from the busy downtown area that was served by the Fourth Street Station. They identified a former industrial site just to the southwest of the downtown area and then hired Southern Pacific Railroad architect John Christie to design a new station.
Christie designed a multi-level station in the Italian Renassiance Revival style. The three-story central section is flanked by two two-story wings and is one of only four depots in California so designed. Since its construction, the depot has grown both in size and importance as a public transportation center. Amtrak took over all long-distance passenger train service in 1971 and the station was fully renovated in 1994. That same year, its name was changed to Diridon Station to honor Santa Clara County Supervisor, Rod Diridon. It is still a stop for several “named” Southern Pacific lines to include the San Francisco to Los Angles “Coast Daylight,” the all first-class “Lark,” and the “Del Monte.” The Diridon also made an appearance in Alfred Hitchcock’s 1964 film, Marnie as Tippie Hedron waited on its platform for a train.
In 2005 a VTA light-rail platform was added, while in 2016 Greyhound began to operate from the station. Diridon has also become a planned stop in the future for the California high-speed rail line. There are also plans for a San José BART subway extension for the station as well. Recently, the city and tech corporations have been making plans to add urban villages around the Diridon Station to include Google which seeks to develop office and retail space, as well as housing in the area.
If all plans for the station are achieved, Diridon will offer connections between seven different rail and bus organizations: ACE (Altamont Corridor Express), Amtrak, BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit), Caltrain, CHSR (California High Speed Rail), VTA (Valley Transportation Authority) light-rail and Greyhound. Diridon Station has served Silicon Valley long before it was ever known as such and, given all the plans surrounding the station, it will do so for the foreseeable future.
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Walesh, Kim. "Set A Study Session if the City Council Regarding Diridon Station/Regional Rail Project (HSR, BART II, Caltrain)." Granicus. February 2, 2017. Accessed July 12, 2017. http://sanjose.granicus.com/MetaViewer.php?meta_id=615996