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All Aboard! Riding the Amtrak Pacific Surfliner to San Diego

All Aboard! Riding the Amtrak Pacific Surfliner to San Diego

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Train Station passenger shuttle to platform
Train Station passenger shuttle to platform
Barely 30 miles from our starting point of Oxnard, California, my husband has already eaten 2 sweet rolls and drank 2 cups of coffee. We were on our way to San Diego, California by Amtrak Pacific Surfliner train. A plane would be faster but expensive. A car would have allowed us to stop along the way if we wanted to but traffic is an issue. The bus was economical but would stop at every city along the way. The train had 6 stops, was economical and allowed us to easily move around during the trip. As senior riders the discount made the business/leisure car very affordable. The train fare was about $50 less than renting a car and hundreds of dollars less than taking a plane. For families traveling with children the economy car would be the most affordable.

Sitting on the lower level of the business/leisure car afforded us an opportunity to relax and enjoy the scenery. The lower level is reserved for travelers that may have difficulty with stairs or are in wheelchairs. The business people sat in the upper level. Seating is limited on the lower level to approximately 15 seats. We took the last 2 seats available and were not able to sit with each other. As passengers departed we moved to available seats and after only 2 stops we were able to grab adjoining seats. If you decide to change seats remember to take your ticket with you. They check for tickets at each stop.
Passing Chatworth
Passing Chatworth
The train flew past the towns along the way. Stopping at only 2 towns to let passengers off and on the train before another short stop at the Bob Hope Airport in Burbank.
Passing Bob Hope Airport in Burbank
Passing Bob Hope Airport in Burbank

 

The train continues on its way to Los Angeles station.  There is a 20 minute layover in LA where most of the passengers depart the train. The train car is cleaned and the final leg of the trip begins. We continue on our way as the steward comes by with free snack packs which contain a bag of chips, trail mix, some cookies and candy. He follows that up with a choice of a free small bottle of water, pop or wine. Yes, that’s right – free wine.
Snacks provided by Amtrak
Snacks provided by Amtrak
As we rolled into Anaheim, the conductor whispered to me that the new Anaheim station being built would cost $310 million dollars. It’s a beautiful silver-toned dome and promises to be a very busy station with the Anaheim stadium and Mighty Ducks stadium located within walking distance.
New_Anaheim_Station-8118
Starting with 11 passengers in our car we are now down to just 3. At San Juan Capistrano our companion departed the train. She has taken the train out of San Francisco and had been on the train for 8 hours. Now we come to the ocean views as we ride past San Clemente, Oceanside, Solano Beach. As we reach Old Town station in San Diego we realize we have chosen the wrong stop. We should have chosen the Downtown Santa Fe Union Station. The conductor informs us that we can catch the trolley train to downtown. We are completely lost after getting off the train. Enter the nicest policeman in San Diego. He showed us the half-hidden ramp to get up to the tracks, met us at the the platform, helped us buy our tickets and saw us safely on the train to the Downtown station. While we had planned to walk the 5 blocks to the hotel, we grabbed the first taxi in our path.
Would I take the train again? You betcha! It was an adventure. There is lots of leg room. If you feel like getting up and moving about the car it can be done without disturbing your neighbor. The bathroom was large enough to accommodate wheelchairs or about a dozen people. The free fresh sweet rolls, snacks and beverages were so much better the airlines cookies or peanuts. FYI: Senior citizens get a discount for any ticket. Business/leisure class is the last car so be sure to stand at the far end of the platform. The scenery with it’s ever changing topography is beautiful. Best of all, you could sit back, enjoy the view and the company on the train.
Visit amtrak.com for tickets and route information. Amtrak states in it’s policy – no checked luggage. You can bring a carry on bag. They put the bags in a rack inside your train car. I noticed that many of the bags in the rack were larger than a normal carry on so they don’t get picky about size.
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2 Replies to “All Aboard! Riding the Amtrak Pacific Surfliner to San Diego”

  1. Karen, I took the Pacific Surfliner from Los Angeles Union Station to the writers conference in San Diego too…. maybe we were on the same train! It was just a short walk to the hotel. I love traveling by train… much more relaxing than traveling by car or plane. And the senior citizen discount…. woo hoo… makes me glad to be old!!!!

    1. Did you arrive in San Diego on the 9th? We rode on Sept. 9th in the lower level of the business/leisure car on the 9th. We may decide to take some other train rides around the country and maybe even Canada. Really enjoyed it.

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