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Amtrak Pacific Surfliner Trip Report

We rode the Amtrak Pacific Surfliner between Los Angeles and San Diego on 26 June 2013. This was part of our cross-country trip on the Texas Eagle and Southwest Chief. We had originally planned to ride the Pacific Surfliner on the 27th, waking early in the morning to take Metrolink and the Coaster from LA to San Diego, then return via the Pacific Surfliner in the afternoon and connect to the Southwest Chief for our trip home. After arriving in Los Angeles the morning of the 26th and dropping our bags at the hotel, we decided the trip to San Diego would be a lot more enjoyable if we weren’t carrying luggage and didn’t need to worry about making the connection to the Southwest Chief, so we decided instead to head back to Union Station and make the trip to San Diego a day early. There were no Metrolink trains to Oceanside in the late morning so we headed over to the Amtrak ticket window, purchased coach seats on the Pacific Surfliner to Oceanside, and changed our Business Class reservations for the return trip to late afternoon that day. The train was boarding a few minutes after we had our tickets, so we settled in to our seats on the clean, mostly empty train. We enjoyed the views of the ocean as we made our way down the coast. We had hoped for a snack enroute, but unfortunately the café car was closed when we visited. In Oceanside we stopped for some lunch, bought our Coaster tickets for the remainder of the trip, and took a short walk along the beach while we waited for our train to San Diego. Our ride on the Coaster was equally enjoyable, although we encountered some delays on our journey and arrived in San Diego about 30 minutes late. While exiting in San Diego, my travel partner missed a step, twisting his ankle as he landed on the platform. The only good thing about this mishap was that he needed to spend about 15 minutes on a bench on the platform resting, and by the time he was ready to move our Amtrak train was boarding. Luckily the Pacific Surfliner was right across the platform from our arriving Coaster train, so as the huge line at the station started to approach we boarded. We found a couple of Business Class seats and settled in for the return trip. Business Class was pretty much full for this late afternoon trip. The collection of snacks and bottle of wine was a nice touch for the return trip though, and helped pass the time even though we arrived back into LA quite late.

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