The Amtrak Station

450 Orange Street
Corner of Orange and West 5th
Please fill in hours
Payment Method
No Amtrak office here; Go online, call, or pay on the bus/train (generally at higher cost)

The Amtrak Station (formerly called the Southern Pacific Railroad Depot and the California & Oregon Railroad Depot) at Fifth and Orange is a train station and historic building in Chico which was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1987. A 550-foot concrete platform will be added to the station to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act. Amtrak will be funding the project with money from the federal stimulus program. Construction of the platform should be completed by July 2010.


Amtrak is one of several transportation methods in and out of Chico. The Coast Starlight train passes through Chico on its route between Seattle and Los Angeles. It first major stop southbound is Sacramento. Both trains arrive in the middle of the night, with the southbound arriving just before 4:00am and the northbound just before 2:00am. In addition to rail service, Chico is a stop for Amtrak's Thruway bus service. There are multiple Amtrak buses that serve Chico throughout the day. For schedule and reservation information, please see the Amtrak website or call 1-800-USA-RAIL. The railroad that passes the depot is now owned by Union Pacific Railroad.

There is a seating area inside with a public bathroom, water fountain, and vending.

Other Services

Greyhound has a ticket office in the building with limited hours and the Glenn Ride bus also stops at the station. In 2008, the B-Line began making stops for route 6.

The building is adjacent to the Chico Art Center, and Empire Coffee if you need to fill your coffee and tea needs.


It was originally a California and Oregon Railroad depot. The C&O Railroad laid the original track through Chico in 1870. However, the depot building was built in 1877.

Amtrak was not created until 1971 (ironically under then President Nixon). If you said or wrote "Amtrak" in 1952 no one would have known what you were talking about. It would have been referred to in 1952 as the Southern Pacific station or simply the "S.P. station" until the 1970s.

The City of Chico and the Chamber of Commerce saved the station from certain demolition with an agreement with Southern Pacific Railroad. In 1987, the Chico Heritage Association applied to list the station as a Historic Place. It was subsequently approved1.


  • In the film Magic Town, Jimmy Stewart stepped off the train into Chico at the station. This is the story of a pollster who discovers the perfect small town that reflects all of Americas trends. Eventually the town is spoiled by all of the media attention.2
  • During his 1952 Vice Presidential campaign, Richard Nixon was talking on the pay phone at the Chico Southern Pacific station when he got the news from the campaign headquarters that he would have to respond to the Checkers issue with a speech.
  • In 1996, the Olympic Torch arrived in Chico at the Amtrak station. The torch was carried through the closed streets with thousands of Chicoans celebrating along the path.


2009-04-03 16:13:21   The original railroad depot for Chico was built in 1870-71, and replaced by the current structure in 1892. Source, Chico Heritage Association. —

2009-07-15 15:48:00   The original ( first) railroad depot in Chico was built 1870, on the site of the current depot , which was built in 1892. —

2010-02-23 22:39:50   The Chico Heritage Association and the National Register nomination for the current structure states that it was built in 1892. —


2. Chico Chamber of Commerce - Chico Movie History