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Coast Starlight Roomette Numbers?

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VictoriaShe

Train Attendant
Joined
Jan 27, 2010
Messages
18
Location
Los Angeles
Hi all. Newbie here.

I am taking the bf on the Coast Starlight (Los Angeles to Santa Barbara) for his birthday (first real train experience for both of us, which is why I chose to reserve a Roomette even though it's just two and a half hours each way -- for the extra amenities), and I'm hoping to be on the ocean side of the train in both directions. I called Amtrak twice, but cannot get a definitive answer. Both people I spoke to said that the odd-numbered rooms are on the left side of the train, but...? Odd numbers might still be on the left side of the train coming back, unless they turn the train around.

I did find out that we will be on Train #14 going north, and returning on Train #11, if that makes any difference.

Can anyone confirm that I should get an odd-numbered room going north and an even-numbered room going south? Or do you know whether there is any way to guarantee that we can be on the ocean side?

Also, any other advice -- like maybe the Parlour Car is your favorite for enjoying the train, where we should plan on eating, etc. -- would all be appreciated.

Thanks much!

Victoria
 

MrFSS

Conductor
Honored Member
Joined
Mar 13, 2004
Messages
9,713
Location
Central Kentucky
Hi all. Newbie here.
I am taking the bf on the Coast Starlight (Los Angeles to Santa Barbara) for his birthday (first real train experience for both of us, which is why I chose to reserve a Roomette even though it's just two and a half hours each way -- for the extra amenities), and I'm hoping to be on the ocean side of the train in both directions. I called Amtrak twice, but cannot get a definitive answer. Both people I spoke to said that the odd-numbered rooms are on the left side of the train, but...? Odd numbers might still be on the left side of the train coming back, unless they turn the train around.

I did find out that we will be on Train #14 going north, and returning on Train #11, if that makes any difference.

Can anyone confirm that I should get an odd-numbered room going north and an even-numbered room going south? Or do you know whether there is any way to guarantee that we can be on the ocean side?

Also, any other advice -- like maybe the Parlor Car is your favorite for enjoying the train, where we should plan on eating, etc. -- would all be appreciated.

Thanks much!

Victoria
Sleeping cars can be positioned so that your room could be on either side of the train. You simply won't know until you board. Head to the PPC car or SSL and you can look out both sides easily.
 

the_traveler

Conductor
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Nov 14, 2007
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Whatever siding I'm sitting on!
Since you're splurging for a roomette, I would rather use the PPC! :cool: The seats are MUCH more comfortable and the Pacific Parlour Car is a perk that is used only by sleeping car passengers as a second lounge!
 

saxman

Conductor
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May 17, 2004
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New Orleans
Yeah there is no way of knowing which way the sleeping car will be oriented, so its luck of the draw. You'll find out when you board. But for the ocean views, hang out in the Parlour Car. You'll also get a included lunch in either the diner or the Parlour. There are some ocean view on your route, but next time I would suggest going all the way to San Luis Obispo. Between SBA and SLO, are absolutely the best views of the Pacific Ocean, IMO.
 

VictoriaShe

Train Attendant
Joined
Jan 27, 2010
Messages
18
Location
Los Angeles
Yeah there is no way of knowing which way the sleeping car will be oriented, so its luck of the draw. You'll find out when you board. But for the ocean views, hang out in the Parlour Car. You'll also get a included lunch in either the diner or the Parlour. There are some ocean view on your route, but next time I would suggest going all the way to San Luis Obispo. Between SBA and SLO, are absolutely the best views of the Pacific Ocean, IMO.
Thanks. I am considering changing the reservation to go to San Luis Obispo instead, since reading about the spectacular scenery between SB and SLO. It was only going to be a day trip, but maybe it's worth it to stay over a night.

And thank you, Traveler. I am getting the idea that the PPC is the place to be!
 
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VictoriaShe

Train Attendant
Joined
Jan 27, 2010
Messages
18
Location
Los Angeles
Another question: I think our room is on the upper level both ways. Is upper level just as good as lower level? I assume the rooms are the same, but in case we do get lucky and end up on the ocean side, would we rather be on the upper level or the lower?

Thank you!
 

MikeM

OBS Chief
Joined
Jun 2, 2009
Messages
511
Location
Wichita Falls TX
Another question: I think our room is on the upper level both ways. Is upper level just as good as lower level? I assume the rooms are the same, but in case we do get lucky and end up on the ocean side, would we rather be on the upper level or the lower?
Thank you!
You'll have a better far out view from the upper cars, although if the train rocks you'll get more of an effect on the upper level. Lots of folks like upstairs for the view, although others prefer the lower level due to proximity to showers, luggage room, etc. For a day trip, I think you're fine upstairs. The other pro/con is that the lower level roomettes have less hall traffic, but upstairs you'll see more of your car attendant and be closer to drinks and such. I've done both levels, and really don't have a strong bias either way.
 

inspiration100

Lead Service Attendant
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Aug 17, 2007
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365
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Seattle, WA
I can tell your gonna have the train bug pretty fast VictoriaShe. I refuse to have a sleeper on the bottom floor, it must be on the top. I'm just picky like that though. I suggest the top esp. since you are on the train for the views.
 

GG-1

Conductor
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Aloha

I just looked at the Coast Starlight Schedule. Unless the cost is very low a sleeper may be throwing money away. The CS leaves LA at 10:15AM, Arrives SB at 12:48PM, Arrives SLO at 3:43PM, The return times are SLO at 3:20pm, SB at 6:17 and LA at 9:00PM. If the southbound is late you could catch it in SLO, you can check the status by cell phone in route. At best you will get one included meal each way with a sleeper.

That is all pretty country and the ocean view is great, but you will mostly only have the view going north as the sun may set too soon for the southbound portion.

A typical lunch for lunch tip included is about 15-20 so the room covers that. What is the coach fare on the same day?

If you go for the meal northbound you will want the first sitting, to even have time to eat.

If this were me I think I would go coach, spend the time in the regular lounge, have a nice dinner and lunch in SLO with the return the next day. Others who know that area better can recomend places to stay and eat ond other things to do there.
 
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Long Train Runnin'

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Jun 13, 2008
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3,242
Location
Central Jersey
Another question: I think our room is on the upper level both ways. Is upper level just as good as lower level? I assume the rooms are the same, but in case we do get lucky and end up on the ocean side, would we rather be on the upper level or the lower?
Thank you!
Do you have your room numbers handy?

This site has a layout of the sleeper car. You are in a superliner.

Rooms 1-10 are on the upper level while rooms 11-14 are downstairs.
 

DET63

Conductor
Joined
May 6, 2009
Messages
1,777
Another question: I think our room is on the upper level both ways. Is upper level just as good as lower level? I assume the rooms are the same, but in case we do get lucky and end up on the ocean side, would we rather be on the upper level or the lower?
Thank you!
Do you have your room numbers handy?

This site has a layout of the sleeper car. You are in a superliner.

Rooms 1-10 are on the upper level while rooms 11-14 are downstairs.
The layout doesn't tell which way the car will be pulled. If it's pulled to the right, the even numbers will be on the left and the odd on the right. If it's pulled to the left, the odd numbers will be on the left and the evens on the right.
 

Long Train Runnin'

Conductor
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Jun 13, 2008
Messages
3,242
Location
Central Jersey
Another question: I think our room is on the upper level both ways. Is upper level just as good as lower level? I assume the rooms are the same, but in case we do get lucky and end up on the ocean side, would we rather be on the upper level or the lower?
Thank you!
Do you have your room numbers handy?

This site has a layout of the sleeper car. You are in a superliner.

Rooms 1-10 are on the upper level while rooms 11-14 are downstairs.
The layout doesn't tell which way the car will be pulled. If it's pulled to the right, the even numbers will be on the left and the odd on the right. If it's pulled to the left, the odd numbers will be on the left and the evens on the right.
I understand that, the OP was asking if she had rooms upstairs or downstairs. I was just providing that information.
 

DET63

Conductor
Joined
May 6, 2009
Messages
1,777
Actually, the OP (which I was thinking of) was about how to be on the ocean side.

The best way to see the ocean is probably in the PPC or SSL, irrespective of where the roomette is.
 

AlanB

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Queens, New York
The best way to see the ocean is probably in the PPC or SSL, irrespective of where the roomette is.
No, the best way to see the ocean is to look out the window. :lol: :lol: :lol:
 
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WhoozOn1st

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Southern California
I am considering changing the reservation to go to San Luis Obispo instead, since reading about the spectacular scenery between SB and SLO. It was only going to be a day trip, but maybe it's worth it to stay over a night.
VictoriaShe, if you opt for a stayover trip don't stop at SLO. Ride the Starlight to Paso Robles to enjoy the horseshoe curve and Cuesta Grade both up and back north of SLO. Several hotels at Paso Robles offer rides from/to the station, and the town itself offers fine dining as well as activities such as wine tasting, historical walking tours, and - get this - municipal horseshoe pits.

Riding from L.A. you'd want an early lunch in the dining car. That would allow you to finish eating around Oxnard. Your first views of the coast will be just outside Ventura, and they'll continue intermittently into Santa Barbara. North of Santa Barbara you'll run a bit inland for a time to Goleta, then back on coastal cliffs and bluffs to Gaviota, where 101 turns inland but the rail line continues along the coast for truly spectacular sightseeing.

After passing through Vandenberg AFB and its missile launching pads you'll head back inland, skirting the Santa Maria Valley, before riding through semi-coastal areas on the way to SLO.

VictoriaShe, I live in the area, the Coast Starlight is my main train ride to points north, and I'm certain you and the bf will love the trip.

One thing: If you ride as far as Paso Robles, you must get your round trip tickets in hand before departure. No ticketing at Paso Robles.
 

Green Maned Lion

Conductor
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Dec 27, 2007
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NJ
When I rode it the two sleepers were A-to-A so you'd be on oppisite sides of the train depending on which car you were in for a given room number.
 

VictoriaShe

Train Attendant
Joined
Jan 27, 2010
Messages
18
Location
Los Angeles
"upstairs you'll... be closer to drinks and such." Well, I like that! :)

We're in room 5 northbound and 2 southbound. The Amtrak lady told me they are both upstairs, but I wasn't sure if it was better to be upstairs or downstairs. I like the proximity to drinks, so I'll stick with the upstairs rooms. My original question was about what room numbers are on the ocean side of the train -- and now I know that there is no guarantee that any given room number will be on one side of the train or the other.

Would love to go as far as Paso Robles. But then it goes from a $200 round-trip day trip (if we just go to Santa Barbara and back the same day) to around $500. The round-trip train fare (with roomette both ways) is about $100 more, and a hotel is around $150. And we wouldn't be able to see the area, since we'd arrive around 9 p.m. and have to leave at 1-something the following afternoon. It would be pretty much the same if we were to go to San Luis Obispo. I might do that when I am inclined to spend more and can stay two nights.

At the soonest opportunity I will take a longer trip -- but for now I think the original plan will have to do. So can any of you recommend a place not too far from the train station for birthday cake and cocktails to kill an afternoon in Santa Barbara?? :cool:

Thanks, everybody!
 

VictoriaShe

Train Attendant
Joined
Jan 27, 2010
Messages
18
Location
Los Angeles
Aloha
I just looked at the Coast Starlight Schedule. Unless the cost is very low a sleeper may be throwing money away. The CS leaves LA at 10:15AM, Arrives SB at 12:48PM, Arrives SLO at 3:43PM, The return times are SLO at 3:20pm, SB at 6:17 and LA at 9:00PM. If the southbound is late you could catch it in SLO, you can check the status by cell phone in route. At best you will get one included meal each way with a sleeper.

That is all pretty country and the ocean view is great, but you will mostly only have the view going north as the sun may set too soon for the southbound portion.

A typical lunch for lunch tip included is about 15-20 so the room covers that. What is the coach fare on the same day?

If you go for the meal northbound you will want the first sitting, to even have time to eat.

If this were me I think I would go coach, spend the time in the regular lounge, have a nice dinner and lunch in SLO with the return the next day. Others who know that area better can recomend places to stay and eat ond other things to do there.
GG-1: Given we might only be doing the day trip between L.A. and Santa Barbara, I think your post makes sense. I called Amtrak (again!), and the guy said, "You'll be lucky if you get lunch." It is an extra $66 beyond the coach ticket price each way for a roomette. Might be nice to spend that time in the Parlour Car, but I wonder if it would be better to go coach northbound, have a great lunch in Santa Barbara, and only get the roomette for the trip back (just for the experience and the Parlour Car access and because we would definitely get dinner).
 
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GG-1

Conductor
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Feb 1, 2004
Messages
7,080
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Las Vegas, NV
Aloha
I just looked at the Coast Starlight Schedule. Unless the cost is very low a sleeper may be throwing money away. The CS leaves LA at 10:15AM, Arrives SB at 12:48PM, Arrives SLO at 3:43PM, The return times are SLO at 3:20pm, SB at 6:17 and LA at 9:00PM. If the southbound is late you could catch it in SLO, you can check the status by cell phone in route. At best you will get one included meal each way with a sleeper.

That is all pretty country and the ocean view is great, but you will mostly only have the view going north as the sun may set too soon for the southbound portion.

A typical lunch for lunch tip included is about 15-20 so the room covers that. What is the coach fare on the same day?

If you go for the meal northbound you will want the first sitting, to even have time to eat.

If this were me I think I would go coach, spend the time in the regular lounge, have a nice dinner and lunch in SLO with the return the next day. Others who know that area better can recomend places to stay and eat ond other things to do there.
GG-1: Given we might only be doing the day trip between L.A. and Santa Barbara, I think your post makes sense. I called Amtrak (again!), and the guy said, "You'll be lucky if you get lunch." It is an extra $66 beyond the coach ticket price each way for a roomette. Might be nice to spend that time in the Parlour Car, but I wonder if it would be better to go coach northbound, have a great lunch in Santa Barbara, and only get the roomette for the trip back (just for the experience and the Parlour Car access and because we would definitely get dinner).
Aloha

Would have trimmed my original post but some of it is still needed.

Since you can count on an hour for lunch in SB and another post suggested a cake there, you may find a place like Denney's LA that let me arrange for a cake decorated for my Granddaughters Birthday. We as far as she knew we just stopped for lunch and at the end the staff brought out the cake and Sang "Happy Birthday" I think she stills wonders how they knew. :)

Somebody here should know a place that would do the same for you.
 

CNW

Service Attendant
Joined
Jan 12, 2010
Messages
219
I just last week rode the CS and had a room oceanside both times. It would be a bit disappointing to not be on the oceanside and in my opionion not really worth taking the trip, especially if you like viewing mostly from your room. I sat in the parlour car but found that the windows were not as big and good for viewing as the windows in the regular sight seeing car, so I rode there awhile. We were treated to a wonderful morning delight through the Mt Shasta area mainly because we lost 2 hours in Sacramento. It was snowing and an experience to remember forever. Ordinarily it may be dark if the train is on time. Coming back the moon was out and quite dark but also memorable coming through Mt Shasta area. Going up I had room # 13 which some had guessed would be on the "mountainside" -that is what the car attendant called the right hand and less desirable side. In all the other sleepers that was true but through some twist of fate mine was turned around! It was disappointing to all the bedrooms in my particular sleeping car because they did not get to see the oceanside at least not from the room, also people who thought they were oceanside before they boarded were not. Not everyone cared and some were able to switch but all in all I found the whole right and left thing a bit stressful and too bad but unavoidable on the CS.
 

ColdRain&Snow

Lead Service Attendant
Joined
Jul 14, 2009
Messages
445
Location
Playa Del Rey, CA
I took #11 from Seattle to LA a few weeks ago and ended up on the inward side. As GML and others point out, there is simply no way to know at the time of booking what direction your car will be facing. I went so far as to study consists of the CS on youtube footage for trips during January of last year to look for patterns. I never could discern a reliable pattern one way or the other to help me choose my roomette and car number.

Having said this, I think it's important not to overstate concerns about oceansided-ness on the Starlight. Just after Tacoma, the Tacoma Narrows on the Puget Sound emerge and the train follows the coastline for about 10-15 minutes before turning inland toward Olympia. The next morning, the train travels along San Pablo Bay for about 10-15 minutes before pulling into Emeryville.

No doubt that it is the stunningly beautiful, unspoiled coastline from Vandenberg AFB to Ventura that draws the most concern about which side of the train our rooms will be on. On an earlier CS trip northbound, my room was on the west side and indeed it was nice. On my recent trip, I just planned ahead to spend those few hours in the PPC which has many more viewing perspectives than any one room. In the case of Vandenberg, it was nice to be able to view both the coastline as well as the launchpad superstructures to the east. The PPC visit worked out perfectly and even afforded me some unexpected and delightful conversations with other pax.

The Starlight travels along the coastline for about a total of 4+ hours (depending on season) on what is a 35 hour trip from Seattle to LA. If, when I get on the platform, I can see that my roomette is on the inward side, I simply take a look at the timetable and plan out a few visits to the PPC for the oceanside segments. The trip is neither disappointing nor stressful, and I've just created some new excuses to spend time in the Parlour Car. :rolleyes:
 
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