The North Valley Rail Project will bring passenger rail service northward from the Natomas area in Sacramento to the City of Chico in Butte County, with stops in Plumas Lake, Marysville-Yuba City, and Gridley.

Bus connections will link Oroville with the proposed Gridley station, and the Natomas station with the Sacramento International Airport. Coordination with public transit service providers will ensure local transit system schedules align with the proposed passenger rail schedules.

What is the North Valley Rail?

Currently, the North Valley region is only served by the once-daily Coast Starlight train between Seattle and Los Angeles. Without a dedicated passenger service, the region relies primarily on Thruway buses for transit connections to the rest of California. North Valley Rail will extend Altimont Corridor Express and Amtrak San Joaquins trains north of Sacramento to better integrate the region into the statewide rail network, including the future high-speed rail system.

Who is the lead agency?

The Butte County Association of Governments (BCAG) is a Joint Powers Agency of the County of Butte; the cities of Biggs, Chico, Gridley, and Oroville; and the Town of Paradise. Its primary responsibility is to prepare state and federally mandated plans and programs to secure transportation funding for the county. For North Valley Rail, BCAG is working closely with San Joaquin Regional Rail Commission, San Joaquin JPA, Caltrans, local governments, and other stakeholders along the corridor.

What has been completed to date?

Work on a strategic plan to guide the development, design, and implementation of the project began in early 2022. Initial service planning—including identifying preferred station locations, assessing key ridership markets, and developing a conceptual timetable—has already been completed. A draft strategic plan will be completed summer 2023 and finalized in fall 2023.

The Plan

Proposed Service Levels

  • 4 round trips a day with potential to expand in the future

Estimated Start of Service

  • 2028 (potential initial service, 2 roundtrips a day)
  • 2030 (4 roundtrips a day)

Proposed Stations

  • Chico
  • Gridley*
  • Marysville‒Yuba City
  • Plumas Lake

*Note: Shuttle buses will provide timed connections to and from Oroville via Gridley, and link the Natomas station with the Sacramento International Airport.

Regional and Intercity Connections

  • Greater Sacramento
  • San Francisco Bay Area
  • San Joaquin Valley
  • Southern California

Order- of-Magnitude Cost

  • Approximately $500 million (2022 dollars)

Project Benefits

Provides rail service connectivity from North Valley to Sacramento, Bay Area, and San Joaquin Valley destinations

Provides train service tailored to the North Valley’s needs, including commute options into Sacramento

Supports transit-oriented development and furthers California’s climate goals by reducing greenhouse gas emissions

Creates new local transit hubs centered at train stations along the corridor

Provides service for Chico State University students, faculty, staff, and visitors

Provides direct link to California’s High-Speed Rail System

Improves equity by providing access to jobs and educational opportunities for disadvantaged populations

Over the next several years, the larger Valley Rail program will bring Altamont Corridor Express (ACE) and San Joaquin trains along a new route north of Stockton via Midtown Sacramento and Natomas. North Valley Rail will build off these improvements to extend service north of Natomas. BCAG is working in close coordination with the San Joaquin Regional Rail Commission (SJRRC) and the San Joaquin Joint Powers Authority (SJJPA), the managing agencies for both of these train services.

Project Timeline

The project fact sheet offers an overview of the North Valley Rail project and timeline.

The project 8-page booklet provides more in-depth information on the North Valley Rail project and benefits.

Get in Touch

Chris Devine
Planning Director
Butte County Association of Governments
(530) 809-4616

Dan Leavitt
Manager of Planning Initiatives
San Joaquin Regional Rail Commission
San Joaquin Joint Powers Authority
(209) 944-6266