Sacramento Valley Station; Sacramento Valley Station;

Sacramento Valley Station, Sacramento, California

Transit centre renovation preserves history while looking towards the future

Built in 1926, the Sacramento Valley Station underwent a two-year renovation transforming it into a world-class transit centre. The project had three primary goals: maintaining the character-defining features of the historic building, enhancing the station and retail experience for passengers, and creating sustainability practices to support the City of Sacramento’s carbon reduction goals. In conjunction with ZGF Architects and Page & Turnbull, Arup crafted innovative engineering solutions for the historic renovation of the Sacramento Valley Station.

Completing Phase 2 of the Sacramento Valley Station

The newly-refurbished Sacramento Valley Station features approximately 60,000ft2 over three levels with 25,000ft2 dedicated to mixed-use leasable space for offices, food vendors, and retail. It is the region’s largest transportation centre as well as the nation’s third-busiest Amtrak-operated route, serving 42 trains and over 4,700 passengers daily. The rehabilitation includes new building systems, building exterior and interior restoration, and an enhanced station experience to support future tenants and Amtrak. 

Project Summary


60,000ft² station over 3 levels

LEEDPlatinumtarget

$33mconstruction cost

Sacramento Valley Station Sacramento Valley Station
The project had three primary goals: maintaining the character-defining features of the historic building, enhancing the station and retail experience for passengers, and creating sustainability practices to support the City of Sacramento’s carbon reduction goals. Photos courtesy of Tim Griffith photography.

Preserving history

A crucial aspect of the renovation was preserving the defining features of the station that was originally built in 1926. Arup worked with a historic preservationist to integrate modern MEP systems while restoring the original façade, roof, and grand waiting room. Of tantamount importance was restoring the historic John A. MacQuarrie mural depicting the celebration of the groundbreaking of the First Transcontinental Railroad. The large, textured amber glass windows were also named key features to be preserved during the work. Custom amber glass was crafted to replace broken panes, adding the glowing effect of diffused light into the historic waiting room. Arup created a unique mechanical solution for the waiting room that preserved the interior while creating indoor conditions to preserve the painting.

Our solution included a unique retrofit of radiant heating and cooling to the underside of the existing concrete floor slab, supplemented by new low-level displacement ventilation. Arup repurposed the ceiling rosettes in the waiting room as part of the ventilation system to vent excess heat in the summer and to recirculate and de-stratify the space in the winter to maintain comfortable conditions.

Tim Griffith photography

Instituting sustainable practices

The City of Sacramento is currently aiming to become the greenest municipality in the country as well as a hub for clean technology. They plan to achieve this by following a comprehensive set of steps laid out in their 2030 General Plan. A major part of this plan involves the Sacramento Valley Station and its environmental impact on the area. The renovation of the station was the first step in a broader effort to create a sustainable community around the rail yards. 

To reduce the historic building’s carbon footprint, Arup added numerous sustainable features, including radiant heating and cooling of the grand waiting room floor, heat pumps for heating and cooling, and solar thermal and PV panels on the roof. In addition to helping the environment, these changes have lowered site energy consumption by over 30% despite the barriers of its historic designation. After surpassing our LEED Gold target, our new aim is LEED Platinum certification.