San Jose Diridon (1993)
When San Francisco and San Jose were joined by rail in January 1864, San Jose’s terminal was located on San Pedro Street. As the city developed it became increasingly problematic to have trains traveling down congested city streets. Southern Pacific constructed the new Cahill Street station in 1928 on land that originally belonged to the Cahill family.
The beautiful $100,000 terminal that opened December 30, 1935 was designed by SP architect John H. Christie. The Italian Renaissance Revival style depot consists of a three-story central section flanked by two-story wings. Bronze doors open onto a magnificent waiting room with terrazzo floors and stone inlay. The massive roof beams are grained and stenciled with a floral pattern, and chandeliers provide a dramatic accent. The original marble ticket counter includes rippled glass, maple ticket files and lights supported by brass arches.
By 1987, the terminal was mostly in good or very good condition and Caltrans undertook a major effort to meet seismic safety standards and to restore the splendor of what was still a vital transportation center. Beginning in 1992, the structure was meticulously taken apart, strengthened and put back together. The ceiling and painted-over windows were cleaned during the restoration. A mural behind the ticket counter by John MacQuarrie portrays San Jose as it appeared in 1935, with the Lick Observatory and a train in the background also was cleaned and restored.
When the project was completed in 1994, the terminal was renamed the San Jose Diridon Station in honor of then-Santa Clara County Supervisor Rod Diridon, a charter member of the Peninsula Corridor Joint Powers Board. (Historic Caltrain Sites Link Here)
In addition to transporting commuters, when the depot opened in 1935 it served as a stop for the Lark, Coaster and Daylight (San Francisco to Los Angeles), Del Monte (San Francisco to Pacific Grove), and Sunset Limited (San Francisco to New Orleans). Today, Altamont Commuter Express, Capitol Corridor, and Coast Starlight trains all connect with Caltrain at San Jose Diridon station. In addition, passengers can transfer to the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority’s light rail system, as well as buses, shuttles and taxis.