Please help support this website by becoming a patron for just $5 per month. Click here for more info.

Altamont Commuter Express (ACE)

Photos, information and resources relating to the Altamont Commuter Express (ACE) train. ACE service began in October, 1998, and serves Silicon Valley commuters from Stockton to San Jose, CA. It utilizes the Union Pacific rail route over the Altamont Pass, which once played host to Western Pacific's famed California Zephyr. As more ACE equipment arrives, and as UP continues with their track improvement program, more ACE frequencies will be added.

    Please select one of the following ACE items:
  • Photos from Matt Melzer's 08/21/01 trip on ACE:

The Altamont Commuter Express (ACE) equipment was placed on public display on Saturday, February 28, 1998, in Tracy and Livermore, and on Tuesday, March 3, 1998 in San Jose, California. The photos on this page were taken at the display in San Jose. The Altamont Commuter Express was expected to go into service on October 19, 1998.

Click On Any Image Below For A Full-Size Photo

The 2 Altamont Commuter Express (ACE) Locomotives

  • Side angle view of lead locomotive 3101
  • Front view of lead locomotive 3101
  • Locomotive 3101
  • Locomotive 3102

ACE Passenger Car Exteriors

ACE Train Set & San Jose Display Photos

  • 2 locomotive and 4 passenger cars in San Jose
  • Displays set up in front of passenger cars
  • Stations along the Altamont Commuter Express route

ACE Passenger Car Interiors

  • Upper aisle
  • Upper level seating
  • Mid-level seating
  • Mid-level seating
  • Lower level seating
  • Restroom

ACE Passenger Car Interior Features

  • Seats fold up for bicycles
  • Wheelchair lockdown
  • I think this is to store folded wheelchairs, but not sure

Cab Control End of the ACE Train

  • Cab Control End
  • San Jose platform on the right
  • San Jose Station on the left

Cab Controls

ACE Train With Amtrak Capitols California Cars In The Background

  • View from the head ends
  • View from the ACE Cab Control end
  • View from the ACE Cab Control end

Speakers at the ACE San Jose Presentation

Notebook Computer In ACE Passenger Car

  • Ron Carpenter getting his notebook computer set up
  • Ron Carperter at his notebook computer
  • Me, Steve Grande, at Ron's notebook computer

View Of The ACE Train From Inside The Amtrak Capitols California Car

  • Ron Carpenter & Ray Burns at an Amtrak California Car table
  • Someone peeking into the ACE Locomotive Cab
  • People on the San Jose platform looking at the new ACE equipment

The above photos were provided courtesy of Ron Carpenter. The first two photos show the locomotives of the Altamont Commuter Express (ACE) train. The third photo is of me, Steve Grande, sitting at a table in an ACE passenger car helping install the digital camera software onto Ron's notebook computer. The above 3 photos were downloaded and displayed on his computer right while we sat in the train! We had a Ricochet wireless modem with us but didn't have time to connect and upload to the internet from the train. We had a train to cath at 12:45 PM to head home.

Service is expected to start on the Altamont Commuter Express (ACE) in late Spring of 1998. Stations are still in the process of being built and could be delayed if rains continue.

There is also a support organization called The Altamont PASSengers Coalition. You can reach them at 24774 E. Ullery Ave., Escalon, California 95320 -- (209)838-6870. The Altamont PASSengers Coalition is a volunteer transit consumer group working for safe, environmentally sound and fiscally responsible transportation.

The following information was provided by the Altamont Commuter Express (ACE) in an information sheet made available at the debut of the new equipment in San Jose on March 3, 1998:


In May 1997, the San Joaquin Regional Rail Commission (SJRRC), The Alameda Congestion Management Agency (ACCMA), the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) executed a Joint Powers Authority Agreement to create the Altamont Commuter Express (ACE) Joint Powers Authority (JPA). The Agreement which governs the initial 36 month of ACE service, stipulates the JPA membership and powers, specifies financial commitments of each member agency, and details other administrative procedures. Three members represent each agency.


The Agreement stipulates that SJRRC will be the managing agency for the ACE service during the 36-month term of the Agreement, overseeing the day-to-day management, planning and supoort services necessary to operate the service. SJRRC is expected to issue a contract(s) for operations and maintenance of equipment in April 1998.


Revenue from the operation and management of the ACE service will be provided from fares, San Joaquin County Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality (CMAQ) federal grant funds, and operating subsides from the three member agencies. Each member agency's annual subsidy is based on the percentage of total ACE daily boardings and alightings that occur in each member county. The estimated total ACE operating and project management cost is $4,486,000 for the first year of operation, $4,616,000 for the second year and $4,643,000 for the third year.

Cost sharing for capital projects, excluding stations, during the initial 36 months of service will be determined by the ACE Authority on a case by case basis and approval by each of the member agencies. Station improvements will be the responsibility of the member agency for the county in which the station is located.

Although the ACE Joint Powers Agreement addresses only the first 36 months of service, the member agencies will begin planning for the continuation or expansion of ACE service beyond this Agreement in 1998. In addition to identifying potential sources of capital and operating funds, the member agencies will define the methods for allocating future costs and the shares of future capital improvement contributions from the member agencies. Upon continuation of ACE service beyond the inital 24 months of service, Union Pacific Railroad will require additional track improvements, not to exceed $10.6 million, in order to continue service during the additional three years of the trackage rights agreement.

A future agreement among SJRRC, ACCMA and VTA will establish the cost sharing for these improvements. In recognition of SJRRC's previous contribution of approximately $46 million toward start-up costs associated with ACE service, the ACE Joint Powers Agreement stipulates that SJRRC shall not be required to pay for additional capital projects, other than subsequent station improvements in San Joaquin County., if ACE service is continued beyond the initial 36 month period. The estimated $10.6 million for future track improvements, therefore, would be shared by VTA and ACCMA. When the ACE Board determines that ACCMA and VTA have contributed a reasonable share of capital improvements, SJRRC will then be required to share in the future capital costs, if any.

Click below for pages in the directory of TrainWeb sties:
0-9 A B C D E

ad pos61 ad pos63
ad pos62 ad pos64

Please help support this website by becoming a patron for just $5 per month. Click here for more info.