Southern Pacific, Caltrans & Caltrain
Tickets from the 1980's

SP Index

In 1980, the State of California began subsidizing the Southern Pacific's commute service (war story). This had little initial effect on us operating employees, and changes came slowly. The "new" operation wasn't even called Caltrain, since that name was then used for a short-lived, state-sponsored operation north out of Los Angeles.

The ticket stock reflected the gradual change. Southern Pacific stock was depleted before nearly identical stock , bearing the "Cal Trans Southern Pacific" label, was issued. The commutes didn't come to be called Caltrain until 1984, if I recall correctly, when Caltrans painted-up a Geep 9 and three Galleries in an awful two-tone ultramarine blue experimental paint scheme (picture,: when I find it).

If you're interested, here's another war story re tickets.

Since the 1950's (if my memory serves correct), commute tickets have been sold between zones, not individual stations. The practice continues today, with two additional zones for stations between San Jose and Gilroy, which were added in 1992. In the 1980's, you'll note that there were seven zones - Zones 1-6, plus the San Francisco Zone.

Above, left and bottom left are all tickets issued at stations. Note on the three 'strip' tickets below that the two left ones are station tickets, while the right one is slightly different and was sold on-board by a conductor.

Although the ticket on the left is a standard conductor's round trip strip ticket, it was pre-punched by a station agent for some reason, or another, probably a special event. Note that the "San Francisco" is missing in the zone box above Zone 1. Also note that the left ticket is Caltrans, the right SP, circa 1980.

1884 one way ticket, SanFrancisco to San Jose: $1.75
1977 one way ticket San Francisco to San Jose: $3.20

Any questions about why SP lost money on the commute runs?