Sunday, February 7, 2016

Plan a Pacific Coastal trip with Amtrak: Tips and Reviews

It is important that you know your preference. What do you want to see? Do you want to see more of Northern California and preferably includes Washington? Or do you want use Amtrak only for southern California and drive the rest of the route?

courtesy of Amtrak

1. Coast Starlight

Route: Seattle - Portland - Los Angeles

courtesy of Amtrak

Train station served: 
Seattle, WA - King Street Station (SEA)
Tacoma, WA (TAC)
Lacey, WA - Olympia (OLW)
Centralia, WA (CTL)
Kelso, WA - Longview (KEL)
Vancouver, WA (VAN)
Portland, OR - Union Station (PDX)
Salem, OR (SLM)
Albany, OR (ALY)
Eugene, OR (EUG)
Chemult, OR (CMO)
Klamath Falls, OR (KFS)
Dunsmuir, CA (DUN)
Redding, CA (RDD)
Chico, CA (CIC)
Sacramento, CA (SAC)
Davis, CA (DAV)
Martinez, CA (MTZ)
Emeryville, CA (EMY)
Oakland, CA - Jack London Square (OKJ)
San Jose, CA (SJC)
Salinas, CA - Downtown (SNS)
Paso Robles, CA (PRB)
San Luis Obispo, CA (SLO)
Santa Barbara, CA (SBA)
Oxnard, CA (OXN)
Simi Valley, CA (SIM)
Van Nuys, CA (VNC)
Los Angeles, CA - Union Station (LAX)

Everyone travelling to the US should put this legendary train trip in their bucket list. Widely regarded as the most spectacular train routes of all, the scenery on the other side of the window is unsurpassed. So hope on broad to experience one of the most dramatic coastline from pristine remote beaches to graffiti art in urban areas to sunsets over vast greenery and mountain ranges.

Distance travelled:
1,377 mi (2,216 km)

Average journey time:
34 hours, 52 minutes

Seating options: 
as you can see, plenty of leg room.
The seats are big and comfortable enough for a few hours trip. If you overnight, bring an inflatable pillow. But if you plan on multiple day train-trip, I suggest you to book at least a seat in the sleeping car.
Sleeping car: 
Superliner Roomette (2 beds)
Family Bedroom (4 beds)
Superliner Bedroom (2 beds)
Superliner Bedroom Suite (4 beds)
Superliner Accessible Bedroom (2 beds)

1. Trails & Rails programs on board hosted by Juan Bautista De Anza National Historical Trail and Klondike Goldrush National Historical Park.
2. Savor the ever-changing landscape from the windows of the renowned Sightseer Lounge Car/ Observation car.
3, Movie and Wine tasting in Pacific Parlour Car.
4. Read a book.
5. Engage in conversations with travelers from all over the world.

Courtesy of

Coach passengers select from a limited daily menu featuring specially priced, freshly prepared lunch and dinner selections with the convenience of at-seat delivery.
For sleeping car passengers, all meals are included, available in the dining car.
**Business Class passengers receive two bottles of mineral water and a $6.00 coupon ( to purchase meal, snack or beverage). You may also reserve a wine tasting session in the Pacific Parlour Car.

Wifi- spotty, not for social-media addicts.
Bathroom- the most unpleasant part of the train. You are better off using the bathroom in one of the train stations.

According to reviews, this train is quite often late. However, my train was on time.

The staff:
They are really pleasant and helpful. There was a girl who kept checking on the passengers (especially the elderly) to remind them of their stops and attended to their every needs.

2. Pacific Surfliner

Route:  San Luis Obispo - Santa Barbara - Los Angeles - San Diego

courtesy of Amtrak
Train station served: 
San Luis Obispo, CA (SLO)
Grover Beach, CA (GVB)
Guadalupe, CA - Santa Maria (GUA)
Surf, CA (LPS)
Goleta, CA (GTA)
Santa Barbara, CA (SBA)
Carpinteria, CA (CPN)
Ventura, CA (VEC)
Oxnard, CA (OXN)
Camarillo, CA (CML)
Moorpark, CA (MPK)
Simi Valley, CA (SIM)
Chatsworth, CA (CWT)
Van Nuys, CA (VNC)
Burbank, CA - Airport (BUR)
Glendale, CA (GDL)
Los Angeles, CA - Union Station (LAX)
Fullerton, CA (FUL)
Anaheim, CA (ANA)
Santa Ana, CA (SNA)
Irvine, CA (IRV)
San Juan Capistrano, CA (SNC)
San Clemente, CA - Pier (SNP)
Oceanside, CA (OSD)
Carlsbad, CA - Village (CBV)
Carlsbad, CA - Poinsettia (POI)
Encinitas, CA (ENC)
Solana Beach, CA (SOL)
San Diego, CA - Sorrento Valley (SRB)
San Diego, CA - Old Town (OLT)
San Diego, CA (SAN)

Embark on a train travel adventure along the Southern California Coast, from San Luis Obispo, ending in San Diego (or other way around/ any station in between). The Pacific Surfliner offers a unique vantage on the rugged seascape in Southern California.
Distance travelled:
350 miles (563 km)

Average journey time:
8 hours 15 minutes

Business class: reserved seats with complimentary snacks and drinks including wine.
Coach Class: unreserved seats (seating is not guaranteed, sometimes during high times you won't be able to get a seat. )

Seaview Café Car
Note that hot food equals to microwaved food here. The Cafe offers affordable sandwiches, fresh salads, snacks, and beverages.

Wi-Fi- spotty. 
Power outlets
Bicycle racks and surf-board racks.

Frequent Trains (12 daily round-trip services) with easy connections

Thank You for Reading! 
This post is based on my honest opinion and personal experience. 
Feel free to share your Amtrak experiences with me by commenting below!


ROBERT LEE said...

Thank you for posting this. I am sure travellers in your area will appreciate the information you provided. :)

A Busy Bees Life said...

I love travelling by train and recently wrote a post about it. This looks like a fun adventure! Thanks for sharing

Unknown said...

All I can say is wooooow! I don't have idea what to do in us if I have a chance to visit. Now you gave me an idea!!! This sooo awesome

melissaungco said...

Wow! How I wish we had trains like these in the Philippines. If not, then I should just go there. Huhu. Awesome photos and enjoy your trip :)

Marjorie said...

You've pretty much planned it all out for us hahaha.. It is quite informative, definitely useful for us who may go there someday. :)

Unknown said...

I love train travel, especially the cars with glass walls to see! Luckily there's lots of options in Europe, but didn't realise how well connected Amtrak was on the west coast!

Marianne @ Mum on the Move said...

These look like beautiful train journeys :)

Tiana said...

We were just talking about doing this! Looks so fun!

Anonymous said...

I have always dream of travelling via train. It looks classy and fun. Beautiful coast as well!

Unknown said...

Wow1 Looks like a fun way to travel around US.. I love train rides. thanks for sharing this. :)

Unknown said...

Maybe we'll try this when we explore the Us one day! :)

Unknown said...

I hope good train rides and connections exist not only in the US but everywhere in the world. Sadly, not all places are sturdy enough to hols rails. I have traveled in many places in Europe by train and it's quite an experience! Would love to try the routes you shared someday. Keep traveling!

Yami said...

Oh! I will do one of this when I retire. It looks fun and relaxing. Thanks for sharing.

Bluedreamer27 said...

wow, if we only have such trains in our country, i wouldn't mind spending most of my time using this kind of transportation..
What I really want to try is to ride those old trains similar to those what I usually see on TV.. it must be a great experience!

Dorothy Mae C. Torretijo said...

Wow! All photos are amazing!! Maybe we will visit this one soon! Thank you for sharing xx

Sam said...

I'm not from this place but I can see that their transpo system really makes it easy for travelers to go places. Awesome :)