Bay Area Bids Adieu To Freedom Train


SAN FRANCISCO—Monday, January 19 marked the final day that Bay Area residents would have the opportunity to ride the Freedom Train.

A three-decade tradition in honor of slain civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr., the Bay Area Freedom Train made its final departure at 9:45 a.m. from San Jose’s Diridon Station, traveling nonstop to San Francisco’s Caltrain Station at Fourth and King Streets.

Freedom Train passengers gather for a final run.
Freedom Train passengers gather for a final run.

The route was America’s final Freedom Train in operation, chosen because the distance between San Jose and San Francisco is approximately the same as the distance traveled by MLK and fellow civil rights protestors who traveled from Selma, Alabama to Montgomery in March 1965.

The ride, costing passengers $10 per ticket, quickly sold-out to the tune of 1,600 total passengers.

Declining ticket sales and sponsorship issues were the main reasons thus Bay Area annual event made its final run, but King’s legacy in San Francisco lives on.

“What Martin Luther King really stands about is delivering on old promises,” said Mayor Edward M. Lee. “The promises of equality have been with us for decades and generations. The promises of having economic opportunity and being successful, they are not new promises.”