Amtrak Coast Starlight: 15 Things You Need To Know Before Riding
The Amtrak Coast Starlight is one of the premiere train routes in the United States. It travels from Los Angeles, CA to Seattle, WA and offers some of the most stunning views of the California Coast and Pacific Ocean you’ll find. There are some unique features to the Coast Starlight that make it stand out from other Amtrak Trains.
How Much Does It Cost To Ride The Coast Starlight
The base prices of tickets on the Coast Starlight are:
- Coach $101
- Business $158
- Sleeper $432
These prices are for one passenger. If two passengers are riding, you can just double the price for Coach and Business, but the price of the Sleeper Room will be less than double for two people.
As Amtrak trains fill up, the price goes up. The first person to buy a ticket on a particular route will pay much less than the last person to buy a ticket. The best time to buy an Amtrak ticket to get the cheapest price is as soon as you know you’ll be taking the trip.
Can You Get On and Off the Coast Starlight
You can get on and off the Coast Starlight at fresh air break stops. There will be a fresh air break stop about every 4 hours while riding the train. These stops are longer than usual and last for 7-15 minutes and allow passengers to walk around and get fresh air.
On a quick passenger pick up stop, which only lasts 3 minutes, you will not be allowed to get off the train.
Amtrak trains are also not hop on hop off trains. You cannot get off at one stop and get back on another train later in the day. The Coast Starlight only runs once a day so you’d need to wait until the next day and buy another ticket for that day if you want to get off to spend the day.
How Long Does The Coast Starlight Take
The Coast Starlight takes 33 hours and 46 minutes to travel from Los Angeles, CA to Seattle, WA and 35 hours and 15 minutes to travel from Seattle, WA to Los Angeles, CA.
What are the Stops on the Coast Starlight
- Seattle, WA – King Street Station (SEA)
- Tacoma, WA (TAC)
- Olympia-Lacey, WA (OLW)
- Centralia, WA (CTL)
- Kelso-Longview, WA (KEL)
- Vancouver, WA (VAN)
- Portland, OR – Union Station (PDX)
- Salem, OR (SLM)
- Albany, OR (ALY)
- Eugene, OR – Amtrak Station (EUG)
- Chemult, OR (CMO)
- Klamath Falls, OR (KFS)
- Dunsmuir, CA (DUN)
- Redding, CA – Amtrak Station (RDD)
- Chico, CA (CIC)
- Sacramento, CA – Sacramento Valley Station (SAC)
- Davis, CA (DAV)
- Martinez, CA (MTZ)
- Emeryville, CA (EMY)
- Oakland, CA – Jack London Square Station (OKJ)
- San Jose, CA – Diridon Station (SJC)
- Salinas, CA – Amtrak Station (SNS)
- Paso Robles, CA (PRB)
- San Luis Obispo, CA – Amtrak Station (SLO)
- Santa Barbara, CA (SBA)
- Oxnard, CA (OXN)
- Simi Valley, CA (SIM)
- Van Nuys, CA (VNC)
- Los Angeles, CA – Union Station (LAX)
Is the Coast Starlight or the Pacific Surfliner Better
The Coast Starlight is better than the Pacific Surfliner for seeing the California Coast and the Pacific Ocean. The Coast Starlight offers observation cars, a dining room, and sleeper cars if needed.
What are the Differences Between the Coast Starlight and Pacific Surfliner
The Pacific Surfliner travels south of Los Angeles, while the Coast Starlight does not. If you want to reach Disneyland or San Diego, you’ll need to ride the Pacific Surfliner. The Coast Starlight goes north out of California into Oregon and up to Seattle, WA.
The Coast Starlight is a full service overnight train, where the Pacific Surfliner is a day train. It does not have the same amenities as the Coast Starlight.
The Coast Starlight only runs once per day, but the Pacific Surfliner runs multiple times per day.
Does the Coast Starlight Have Business Class
The Coast Starlight has the best Business Class in the Amtrak system. On the Coast Starlight the Business Class is separated from the rest of the train and it has it’s own observation car. There are times though when this car is not hooked up, and it is unpredictable as to when that will happen.
How Fast Does The Coast Starlight Go
The Coast Starlight has a top speed of 79mph and an average speed of 40mph.
Does The Coast Starlight Have an Observation Car
The Coast Starlight has an observation car in the middle of the train, which can be used by all passengers. There is often also another observation car at the end of the train reserved for business class passengers.
What Is The Most Scenic Section of the Coast Starlight
The best section of the Coast Starlight is on the Pacific Ocean in California from Oxnard, CA to San Luis Obispo, CA. From here you’ll get the best views of the Pacific Ocean.
What Sleeper Car Rooms Are Available on the Coast Starlight
There are 4 types of sleeper car rooms on the Coast Starlight.
- Superliner Roomette
- Superliner Bedroom
- Superliner Family Bedroom
- Superliner Accessible Bedroom
How Often is the Coast Starlight Late
While the on time record of the Coast Starlight has improved in recent years, it is still late or delayed often. This route used to be nicknamed the “Coast Starlate” due to its bad on time record. It is also the most likely route on Amtrak to be canceled due to wildfire activity along the coast.
Does The Coast Starlight Have WiFi
The Coast Starlight does not have WiFi. You will have cell service for much of your trip though.
Does The Coast Starlight Stop in San Francisco
The Coast Starlight does not stop directly in San Francisco. It stops in nearby Emeryville, CA, from which you can take a connecting bus to San Francisco. You can book a trip directly to San Francisco that includes the bus.
Is the Coast Starlight Worth It
As one of Amtrak’s best routes, the Coast Starlight is worth the cost to ride. With some of the best views in the country and great amenities on the train, we rank the Coast Starlight in our top 3 routes in the United States.