Pacific Surfliner and Coast Starlight FUL-SEA round trip

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Cal

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Jan 23, 2021
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More pictures!! Wow I probably take too many. Right now the coach attendant Renee is making the main announcement which is kind of surprising, I thought it was mainly the conductors job.
 

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Joined
Jan 26, 2020
Messages
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Oregon Coast
Have you had a crew on the NEC that did not let you sit in the Cafe when no seats were available? In my many dozen trips from Metropark, a place from where one often could not find a seat, I have never had that happen to me when I went too the cafe for a seat.

Of course when there are scads of seats in the train and someone tries to hog a seat in the cafe, they might frown upon that a bit.
Nope... never actually seen people standing on an Amtrak train... however seating is often forbidden in the cafe car unless eating food purchased from the cafe... strongly enforced on the TE and Cardinal. And that goes for sleeper car passengers as well who must remain in their rooms... have experienced this whenever traveling on those two trains.
 

jis

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Nope... never actually seen people standing on an Amtrak train... however seating is often forbidden in the cafe car unless eating food purchased from the cafe... strongly enforced on the TE and Cardinal. And that goes for sleeper car passengers as well who must remain in their rooms... have experienced this whenever traveling on those two trains.
I think @Bob Dylan and my point is that that is not the case on the NEC, specially on NERs. NER trains routinely get overbooked specially in rush hours and the overflow is routinely accommodated in the Cafe car.

I agree that in other parts of Amtrak what you describe is often the case. But it would be very unusual on the NEC. Of course with Amtrak as @Bob Dylan often says ... YMMV.
 
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Cal

Engineer
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Jan 23, 2021
Messages
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Socal
Nope... never actually seen people standing on an Amtrak train... however seating is often forbidden in the cafe car unless eating food purchased from the cafe... strongly enforced on the TE and Cardinal. And that goes for sleeper car passengers as well who must remain in their rooms... have experienced this whenever traveling on those two trains.
On this trip I’ve sat downstairs in the SSL without purchasing something a few times, no issues.
 

Cal

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Jan 23, 2021
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Socal
After San Jose I relaxed in the SSL for a while and scrolled through my phone, although I was a bit cramped due to the high amount of people in there. One thing that I’ve been forgetting to mention is the fact that the entire back row of business is blocked off “for the attendant.” Not sure why she needs all four seats. Anyways,!scenery was pleasant, but not anything that got my attention, and it would stay this way for most of the day. Eventually I went back to my seat and watched some things on my laptop. At Salinas I stepped off briefly and enjoyed watching the little dog traveling with us walk around. After that I went back and relaxed at my seat for a while. Eventually, while rolling through the Salinas Valley we went to the cafe for lunch. I got a cup of noodles which really hit the spot. From there I stayed in the bottom of the SSL, and as we descended Cuesta Pass I again admired the engineering and scenery. During this a few people came down to see if the cafe was open, and the attendant (Casey) was on break, although I think he took more than hour, not sure though. As we approached SLO I went back to the business class lower vestibule. We arrived on the outer track as 14 was on the inner track. I quickly got a picture of the engines and went back, again watching the cute little dog. While there I checked Wikipedia for a little info on the depot, and found out the foundation of a former SP round house was still visible south of the station, so as we departed I watched out the window and saw it. It’s amazing how many things we pass every day that have some great history and we never think about it. After that I returned to my seat and stayed there for a while. I went to the railfan window for a little while twice, and as we were approaching the ocean I stopped in the SSL the second time. As we started to parallel the ocean everyone went to take a picture of the picturesque sight of the sunset and sea, including me. I then returned to my seat on the other side of the SSL, and relaxed. Unfortunately the view didn’t last long as soon it was too dark to see much. When the announcement for Santa Barbara came on I headed back to the downstairs of the business car. I wanted to get one final picture of the engines before arrival into LA, but I wasn’t 100% sure if the train is allowed to leave early at this stop, so I ran to the front, took a picture, and jogged/speed walked back. Turns out the train can’t leave early at SBA so I was fine. We departed on time and I returned to my seat, which is where I am right now.
 

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Cal

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Socal
Photos part 2

also depicted in some photos is the SpaceX launch site (again) and the cushion of a lounge chair kind of falling out
 

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Willbridge

50+ Year Amtrak Rider
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Denver
One thing I forgot to mention is that I saw a small waterfall across the Willamette River just south of Oregon city.
That waterfall is also the site of a dam, built by the predecessor of the Portland General Electric Co., connected to Portland by a 14-mile high-tension line and an interurban line. Both are considered to be firsts in their fields. As far as I know, there is a bronze tablet in downtown Portland marking the north end of the power line.

Amtrak trains pass the paper mill at Oregon City, south of the Oregon City station. It was a valuable source of freight traffic for both the SP and Portland Traction. In Portland PT Co. interchanged with all of the Class I railways.

This photo shows the interurban and the high-tension line.

Rynerson1957.jpg
 

Cal

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Socal
For the rest of the evening I stayed at my seat, scrolled through my phone, and just relaxed. At Oxnard another railfan friend of mine filmed the train and so I went down to attempt to see him, the engineer gave him a horn show which was nice. One thing to note is that the diner LSA came on the PA and told the crew if they wanted a drink they should get one at that time before he takes inventory, followed by the coach attendant responding and telling him she’d be there soon. As we continued to head into the LA metropolitan area, we became more and more early, arriving into LA about 35 minutes early. As we arrived I overheard the two women sitting close by who befriends each other over the trip talking about keeping in touch, which made me happy as that’s what train travel is about. Once on the platform we got a redcap into the station and then walked to the metropolitan lounge. The lady working it told us we’d have to sanitize our hands before getting anything from the counter and to not move much so she wouldn’t have to go around sanitizing things after us. She also seemed a bit too sensitive, if you know what I mean. Currently we’re waiting in the lounge for 594’s boarding. I believe a Good amount of people are transferring from 11 to 594 so I all surprised that more people aren’t here, there’s only five of us.
 

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Cal

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Socal
Final post!

After four days of traveling in coach, me and my partner were feeling weary, and relaxed in the lounge. Three other passengers from 14 joined us in the lounge not too long after I sent the previous post. One of them was the person sitting across the aisle from me, I had briefly spoken and interacted with them earlier in the morning. At around 9:45 the attendant said that 594 was arriving and we got our things and went to the door. While waiting I took a look af the things on display by the door, including some old China from Amtrak dining cars and old menus, I love that they keep them on display. Apparently all but one of the redcaps had gone home and so there was only one cart. Since it didn’t fit all of us one group of two decided to walk to the platform and the five remaining, including us, went outside and got on. As we went outside the lounge attendant (Selena I think?) told us not to forget to tip the redcap, which I found a bit odd as nobody had ever reminded us to tip anyone before. The cart was decorated for the holidays, which was cute, and the driver was nice. The ride was quick and easy, and he dropped us off by the business class coaches. However we were traveling in coach so we walked back a few. While waiting for the doors to open train 794 from SLO arrived on the other track. I wasn’t paying too much attention to the passenger loads of either train but they seemed decent, If not good. Right before the door opened I thought about the difference in height between the platform and door, I don’t know why they couldn’t have built the platform to match the door height in LAUS, as there’s no freight there. 20 minutes prior to departure time (which was 10:20) the doors opened and we quickly got our tickets scanned and boarded. Normally we take an upstairs seat as that’s where general seating is but because it was late and we were tired we took a downstairs seat. We left on time and the journey to Fullerton was speedy and easy. Once arrived we got off, along with about 7-15 other passengers and headed towards the elevator. Just as we got there the train departed and I waved to the passenger I knew from 11, we went across and met our ride. I took one last picture showing the serene station in the night. Now as I’m writing this I am back at home and ready to get sleep in my own bed, my dogs have me a very enthusiastic welcome.

Thank you for reading, I hope y’all enjoyed reading. I know it’s not as well laid out as @Seaboard92’s amazing reports but I do my best. Have a great night/day and happy holidays!

One thing I didn’t mention is that the diner accepts cash for payment (the LSA said it’s preferred due to the high amount of credit cards to scan). And the cafe is also accepting cash AFAIK (I didn’t ask or try to use cash but it appeared to be accepting cash).
 

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Joined
Feb 27, 2019
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Somewhere in Southern Ontario
Hey @Cal it was a great report. Between the pics and your descriptive text it was almost like being along for the ride, especially for those of us familiar with the route. When you're rested up and again in front of your keyboard, take a few minutes to summarize what you thought of the actual train portion of the journey. Obviously you felt Business was a worthwhile upgrade over coach, but would you do it again vs. your sleeper experience or save up more for a compartment next time? How did you feel about Amtrak's Covid precautions and enforcement? Fortunately you didn't have to share your personal space with a stranger in these troubled times, but would you have felt different in coach/Business if you had? I'd be interested to hear your thoughts.
 
Joined
Jan 26, 2020
Messages
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Location
Oregon Coast
For the rest of the evening I stayed at my seat, scrolled through my phone, and just relaxed. At Oxnard another railfan friend of mine filmed the train and so I went down to attempt to see him, the engineer gave him a horn show which was nice. One thing to note is that the diner LSA came on the PA and told the crew if they wanted a drink they should get one at that time before he takes inventory, followed by the coach attendant responding and telling him she’d be there soon. As we continued to head into the LA metropolitan area, we became more and more early, arriving into LA about 35 minutes early. As we arrived I overheard the two women sitting close by who befriends each other over the trip talking about keeping in touch, which made me happy as that’s what train travel is about. Once on the platform we got a redcap into the station and then walked to the metropolitan lounge. The lady working it told us we’d have to sanitize our hands before getting anything from the counter and to not move much so she wouldn’t have to go around sanitizing things after us. She also seemed a bit too sensitive, if you know what I mean. Currently we’re waiting in the lounge for 594’s boarding. I believe a Good amount of people are transferring from 11 to 594 so I all surprised that more people aren’t here, there’s only five of us.
LAX is a beautiful historic station within a short walk to 'Little Mexico' where one can get a quick bite. Of note... the Amtrak lounge is known for those gourmet chocolate chip cookies!
 

Barb Stout

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Mar 13, 2019
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Albuquerque, NM
With regard to the Pacific Surfliner stops, when going south from LA, if one has booked a trip to get off at the San Diego Old Town stop, but then decides at the last minute to get off instead at the Downtown stop, is there any particular reason why one couldn't or shouldn't as the Downtown stop is the end of the line?
 
Joined
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@Cal

So far only read to your arrival in Seattle, very much enjoyed your writing style and the many photos.

I have a question. How comfortable were the two of you re travelling in these current Covid times. Of course we all have varying tolerance limits but noticed you commented twice re mask wearing (so far to Seattle).
What happened to those passengers on your train who refuse to wear a mask?

We travel in about 6 weeks to the US for our own Amtrak journeys, trying to get an up to date on how the latest variant is affecting Amtrak and their passengers.

If you are not comfortable answering please don't worry, don't wish to stir up a hornets nest of debate. But you and your journey are a perfect opportunity to ask as you are on the spot.

Thank you
 

Bob Dylan

50+ Year Amtrak Rider
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Messages
24,615
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Austin Texas
With regard to the Pacific Surfliner stops, when going south from LA, if one has booked a trip to get off at the San Diego Old Town stop, but then decides at the last minute to get off instead at the Downtown stop, is there any particular reason why one couldn't or shouldn't as the Downtown stop is the end of the line?
Not a problem, just let the Conductor know you're going to the Santa Fe Station downtown, the Fare is the same.( if you're in Biz Class tell the Attendant when you board)
 

Cal

Engineer
Joined
Jan 23, 2021
Messages
3,950
Location
Socal
@Cal

So far only read to your arrival in Seattle, very much enjoyed your writing style and the many photos.

I have a question. How comfortable were the two of you re travelling in these current Covid times. Of course we all have varying tolerance limits but noticed you commented twice re mask wearing (so far to Seattle).
What happened to those passengers on your train who refuse to wear a mask?

We travel in about 6 weeks to the US for our own Amtrak journeys, trying to get an up to date on how the latest variant is affecting Amtrak and their passengers.

If you are not comfortable answering please don't worry, don't wish to stir up a hornets nest of debate. But you and your journey are a perfect opportunity to ask as you are on the spot.

Thank you
We were comfortable enough to travel, both of us are fully vaccinated and my partner is boosted. The crew enforced masks very well overall although they don’t have eyes everywhere, a handful of people fell through the cracks and I don’t know of any time someone was kicked off for lack of compliance.
 
Joined
Dec 4, 2012
Messages
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We were comfortable enough to travel, both of us are fully vaccinated and my partner is boosted. The crew enforced masks very well overall although they don’t have eyes everywhere, a handful of people fell through the cracks and I don’t know of any time someone was kicked off for lack of compliance.

Thanks Cal
 
Joined
Jan 26, 2020
Messages
2,148
Location
Oregon Coast
Final post!

After four days of traveling in coach, me and my partner were feeling weary, and relaxed in the lounge. Three other passengers from 14 joined us in the lounge not too long after I sent the previous post. One of them was the person sitting across the aisle from me, I had briefly spoken and interacted with them earlier in the morning. At around 9:45 the attendant said that 594 was arriving and we got our things and went to the door. While waiting I took a look af the things on display by the door, including some old China from Amtrak dining cars and old menus, I love that they keep them on display. Apparently all but one of the redcaps had gone home and so there was only one cart. Since it didn’t fit all of us one group of two decided to walk to the platform and the five remaining, including us, went outside and got on. As we went outside the lounge attendant (Selena I think?) told us not to forget to tip the redcap, which I found a bit odd as nobody had ever reminded us to tip anyone before. The cart was decorated for the holidays, which was cute, and the driver was nice. The ride was quick and easy, and he dropped us off by the business class coaches. However we were traveling in coach so we walked back a few. While waiting for the doors to open train 794 from SLO arrived on the other track. I wasn’t paying too much attention to the passenger loads of either train but they seemed decent, If not good. Right before the door opened I thought about the difference in height between the platform and door, I don’t know why they couldn’t have built the platform to match the door height in LAUS, as there’s no freight there. 20 minutes prior to departure time (which was 10:20) the doors opened and we quickly got our tickets scanned and boarded. Normally we take an upstairs seat as that’s where general seating is but because it was late and we were tired we took a downstairs seat. We left on time and the journey to Fullerton was speedy and easy. Once arrived we got off, along with about 7-15 other passengers and headed towards the elevator. Just as we got there the train departed and I waved to the passenger I knew from 11, we went across and met our ride. I took one last picture showing the serene station in the night. Now as I’m writing this I am back at home and ready to get sleep in my own bed, my dogs have me a very enthusiastic welcome.

Thank you for reading, I hope y’all enjoyed reading. I know it’s not as well laid out as @Seaboard92’s amazing reports but I do my best. Have a great night/day and happy holidays!

One thing I didn’t mention is that the diner accepts cash for payment (the LSA said it’s preferred due to the high amount of credit cards to scan). And the cafe is also accepting cash AFAIK (I didn’t ask or try to use cash but it appeared to be accepting cash).
Really great trip report... and liked your pics! But I'll bet it was good to get back home and into your own bed!
 
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