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Old 07-04-2010, 09:53 AM   #1
wideeyes
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Train?

I am planning a trip with no car, I am from the UK. Excuse me if I come across as clueless.

Is there a train network that goes down the coast of San Francisco to LA? I recall that there is a train from San Diego, to LA but can't remember what it is called, does the same train go to the north?
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Old 07-04-2010, 11:53 AM   #2
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Yes, Amtrak does offer service from SF to LA. Actually they have buses that pick up at various points around the city (e.g. Pier 39) and take you across the bay to Emeryville where you board the trains. The most direct route is the Coast Starlight, which takes all day - 8am to 9pm - to get to LA, but has some very scenic segments. Route guides and timestables here: http://www.amtrak.com

Just a couple of weeks ago I took the Pacific Surfliner from Goleta to Anaheim, and would highly recommend the views from the train overlooking the coastline from Santa Barbara to Ventura before it cuts inland. Be sure to get a seat on the right side of the southbound train for that. The Starlight runs the same route, but goes from Seattle to LA, while the Surfliner goes from San Luis Obispo (or Goleta) to San Diego.

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Old 07-04-2010, 02:05 PM   #3
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It's really key that you book one that goes through San Louis Obismo and Santa Barbara. Just booking a ticket from SF to LA does not ensure that it will follow the coast or that it will be a train. Many segment are done by bus.

That is all done by Amtrak.

In LA there is also the Metrolink and in San Diego the Coaster. You can tranfer from one to the other to add flexibility to your schedule they use the same track.

Also I assume you are going to San Francisco as part of you trip. There is a local above/below ground light rail called BART. You can use this to get to a Amtrak Station or to and from the bay area airports.
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Old 07-05-2010, 06:54 AM   #4
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Thank you for your replies. They were very helpful
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Old 07-05-2010, 09:48 AM   #5
wideeyes
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I have checked the routes and for my dates for the Coast Starlight it says a bus to Oakland first. Is that correct? The train seems to stop at Emeryville which seems nearer though by bus

Thank you for any help.
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Old 07-05-2010, 10:11 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wideeyes View Post
I have checked the routes and for my dates for the Coast Starlight it says a bus to Oakland first. Is that correct? The train seems to stop at Emeryville which seems nearer though by bus
That seems right - looks like they drop off at the Oakland station for the southbound Starlight, and at Emeryville for the northbound. Sorry if I misled.
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Old 07-05-2010, 10:36 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jlmarr View Post
That seems right - looks like they drop off at the Oakland station for the southbound Starlight, and at Emeryville for the northbound. Sorry if I misled.
Okay thanks, Think I have it figured out now.
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Old 07-05-2010, 01:44 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wideeyes View Post
I have checked the routes and for my dates for the Coast Starlight it says a bus to Oakland first. Is that correct? The train seems to stop at Emeryville which seems nearer though by bus

Thank you for any help.
Yes there is no train service to San Fransisco. This is why I mention you can take a Bart train from SF to an Amtrak station. I think Jack London Square has a dual station. Maybe the Colloseum too. Otherwise you can take the Bart to the East bay and a cab several blocks.
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Old 07-07-2010, 11:46 PM   #9
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If you decide on the Coast Starlight, I would highly recommend booking a roomette in one of the sleeper cars. The Sleeper Car passengers have access to a special lounge car called the Pacific Parlour Car. We did a day trip from LA to San Jose but still booked a sleeper car room and it really made the trip amazing!!
It will cost quite a bit more than coach, but it does make it an experience, as opposed to just traveling from one place to another.
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Old 07-21-2010, 06:35 PM   #10
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Just to add a comment about the sleeper car on the Coast Starlight; it includes all meals and wine tasting in the afternoon. For me it was well worth it.

Also, this train is NEVER on time, so don't schedule anything important on the other end!

I've done this trip many times from LA to Portland and I love it.
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