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Amtrak Coast Starlight - Photographs, travelogues, accommodations, and
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Amtrak Coast Starlight

Photographs, travelogues, accommodations, and other information about train travel on the Amtrak Coast Starlight route.

Coast Starlight

Amtrak's Route Guide - Train #11 & Train #14

Seattle * Tacoma * Portland * Eugene
Klamath Falls * Sacramento * Oakland
San Francisco * Santa Barbara
Los Angeles

Welcome Aboard!

You're traveling on board Amtrak's Superliner train-the Coast Starlight. On this route, you'll be traveling between the "Emerald City," Seattle and the "City of Angels," Los Angeles-along the Pacific coast through Portland, the "City of Roses," Eugene, Sacramento, Oakland and Santa Barbara.

While on board, you'll be experiencing the utmost in train travel, and some of our country's most breathtaking and fascinating sights: the King Dome, Puget Sound, the Columbia River, Mt. St. Helens, Diamond Peak and the Three Sisters Mountains. You'll pass waterfalls, timberlands, orchards, vineyards, orange groves and logging camps-not to mention Spanish missions, Vandenberg Air Force Base and the Pacific Ocean.

Amtrak and your crew are proud to host you on board. We'll do everything we can to ensure you enjoy your trip. If you have any questions please don't hesitate to ask your Attendant or On-Board Service Chief.

The Fun Starts Here!

The Coast Starlight features on-board activities the whole family will enjoy. Listen for announcements of the specific time and location of activities, and most of all-have fun!

Movies in the Sightseer Lounge Car. Video presentations, including features for children during summer months, will be shown.

Hospitality Hour.Join fellow passengers in the Lounge Car for drinks and complimentary snacks, and don't forget to ask about regional specialties.

Games are usually conducted in the Dining Car. Small prizes will be awarded. Listen for announcements for time and location.

Meet the Crew That Makes the Magic Happen!

The Conductor is in charge of all crew members and is responsible for the collection of tickets and the safe operation of the train. The Chief of On-Board Service" supervises the on-board service crew, and overseas the quality of service.

Enjoy On-Board Accommodations That Pamper and Please!

Roomy Coach Seats. Your Coach Attendant will see to your needs. Since your seat is assigned for the length of your journey, please do not change without first consulting a crew member.

Private Sleeping Compartments. Your Sleeping Car Attendant will prepare your room for daytime or nighttime use, provide wake-up calls and bring the morning paper and beverages. Individual speakers bring you recorded music on Channels 2 or 3, and train announcements on Channels 1 and 2. Simply turn the channel selector near the reading light. First Class passengers receive additional amenities including complimentary meals in the Dining Car.

Economy, Family, Special and Deluxe bedrooms are available. Special bedrooms have a private bathroom and Deluxe have private baths with shower. Sleeping accommodations may be purchased on board from the Conductor if space permits.

Dining Car Service. The Dining Car features complete meals in a comfortable setting. Major credit cards are accepted. Sorry, there is no smoking in the Dining Car. A crew member will contact you if dinner reservations are necessary.

Spectacular Sightseer Lounge Car Enjoy the magnificent scenery from our large picture windows, and don't forget the sandwiches, snacks and beverages available for purchase at the Cafe Bar. You can also purchase souvenir playing cards, post cards and blankets. Lounge Car hours are generally from 6 a.m. to 12 midnight.

Scenic Photo Tips

SCENIC SPOTS: Your train passes many beautiful and interesting sights. The "camera" symbol on your Route Guide Map marks the best spots, so have your camera ready!

OUTSIDE SHOTS: Medium-speed films (ASA 64 or higher) are recommended for shooting scenery through the train windows. If your shutter speed is adjustable and light conditions permit, set it at a higher speed (1/125 or 1/250 sec.) for the clearest results. Hold your lens close to the window to eliminate glare and reflections.

INSIDE SHOTS: Flash is recommended. To avoid glare and reflections, do not point the flash directly at the windows.

The Coast Starlight

From snowcapped mountain peaks
to Pacific Ocean vistas, discover the
spectacular scenery, history and
thriving cities that are uniquely the
American West Coast.

Welcome aboard! Amtrak's Superliner, the Coast Starlight, will be making a 1,390-mile trip from Seattle, Washington to Los Angeles, California. Along this route you will travel up steep mountain ranges, down into rolling, green valleys, and along the beautiful, sandy shores of the Pacific Ocean. The scenery is breathtaking and the history is fascinating. So sit back, read all about it and enjoy your Coast Starlight tour.

This guide is written from north to south, noting how many minutes past the previous Amtrak station you can expect to see a particular sight, and whether you should look right or left. The first time reference tells you how far that point is from the next Amtrak station to the north, and the second time, how far it is to the next Amtrak stop to the south. If you are traveling north, just begin at Los Angeles, or your point of origin, and read the entries in reverse order. Remember to look left when we've indicated to look right, and right when we've indicated to look left.

Note that all AMTRAK STATIONS are in capital letters to set them apart from towns and regions through which the Coast Starlight travels but makes no stop. Use this guide along with an Amtrak timetable to determine station times. All times in this guide are approximate.

* Seattle *

SEATTLE King Street Station is only blocks away from the busy harbor and piers which make Seattle a gateway to the Orient and Alaska. The Seattle Needle, built for the 1962 World's Fair, is north of downtown and can be seen as the train leaves the city. Adjacent to the station is the King Dome, home of the Seattle Seahawks and Mariners.

Boeing Field (7 Min./42 Min.) On the right is the home of the famous family of Boing jetliners. This historic airport is still used for private aircraft and for Boeing test flights. The original red-bricked Boeing plant is now the Museum of Flight.

Kent (16 Min./33 Min.) Long Acres Racetrack is on the left near Kent.

Puyallup (40 Min./12 Min.) The town, pronounced "Pew-OWL-up" is named for an area Indian tribe. The train crosses the Puyallup Indian Reservation along the Puyallup River.

* Tacoma *

TACOMA was called the "City of Destiny" because of the sawmills and lumber all along McCarver Street. Today, Tacoma remains a major seaport city. The large blue round building on the left is the Tacoma Dome, a convention center.

Puget Sound Beyond the city, the train follows Commencement Bay in Puget Sound, to the right. The Olympic Mountains rise from the far side of the Puget Sound and the Tacoma Narrows.

Steilacoom (24 Min./17 Min.) A Pierce County Ferry terminal is on the right. It serves Anderson Island and McNeil Island also to the right, across Henderson Bay.

OLYMPIA-LACEY Just outside of town, the train crosses the Nisqually River. Olympia is the capital of Washington State.

CENTRALIA was founded by a former slave from Virginia in 1875. The Skookumchuck River crosses through Centralia. As the train passes through the outskirts of Centralia, look beyond the ball fields on the left toward the mountains to view Mt. St. Helens. Its 1980 volcanic eruption sent ash in this direction. The greyish ash can still be seen in the countryside.

Winlock (19 Min./28 Min.) WInlock claims to be the "Egg Capital of the World." On the right side of the train, the town proudly displays a huge "egg" as a monument to its egg production.

Castle Rock (35 Min./10 Min.) As the train crosses the Toutle River outside of Castle Rock, it also passes the distance reached by the devastating mudslide from the Mt. St. Helens eruption. The volcanic slide reached the Cowlitz River, on the right, nearly 40 miles away from the mountain.

KELSO-LONGVIEW is the "Smelt Capital of the World" because each year, during January and February, thousands of the tiny silver fish swim up the Cowlitz River to spawn. From here to Vancouver, the train follows the Columbia River, on the right. Oregon is on the opposite shore. Until the War of 1812, the Columbia was the border between the U.S. and Canada.

The Trojan Nuclear Power Plant (7 Min./28 Min.) is on the right, across the Columbia River on the Oregon side.

Lake Vancouver (33 Min./5 Min.) The marshy bottom lands on the right side of the train are part of the banks of Lake Vancouver.

VANCOUVER The Hudson Bay Company built Ft. Vancouver in 1824 as a trading post. Locals like to refer to their city as "Vancouver USA" to distinguish it from the Canadian city of the same name. This is the oldest continuous settlement in the Pacific Northwest. The train crosses two arms of the Columbia River and then crosses over the Willamette River which it then follows into Portland. Here the train crosses between Washington and Oregon. Look upriver to the left for a view of Mt. Hood.

* Portland *

PORTLAND, the beautiful "City of Roses" is Oregon's largest metropolitan area. Known for its parks, fountains, gardens, jazz festivals, and, of course, the Portland Rose Festival. East of Portland Station, the train crosses over the Willamette River via the Steel Bridge. As we leave Portland and enter the suburb of Milwaukie, we see Mt. St. Helens and Mt. Hood on the left. At Portland, we change railroads. The train follows the Burlington Northern route from Seattle to Portland. We travel all the way from Portland to Los Angeles.

Willamette Valley We are now traveling through the Willamette Valley which continues for 145 miles to Eugene. The Cascade Mountains are on the left and the Coast Range is on the right.

Oregon City (29 Min./36 Min.) Founded in 1842, Oregon City was the "End of the Oregon Trail" and the original capital of Oregon Territory. Keep your eyes open for the natural waterfalls as we ride through Oregon City. The huge Crown Zellerbach pulp plant and log rafts along the river are dramatic evidence of Oregon's lumber country.

Aurora (46 Min./24 Min.) We cross the Pudding River and enter Aurora. Aurora, the first commune in the U.S., was settled by Germans in the 1850s. Just south of Aurora, we pass through a region known for the variety of berries grown here.

Woodburn (53 Min./17 Min.) has attracted both Hispanic and Russian settlers.

Willamette University (1:08 Min./1 Min.) Just before we arrive in Salem you see Willamette University, on the right, founded in 1842 by Jason Lee. It is the oldest university in the west.


Llama Farm (17 Min./12 Min.)


Tangent (10 Min./25 Min.)

Three Sisters Mountains (25 Min./10 Min.)

* Eugene *


Springfield (6 Min./2:50 Min.)

Lookout Point Reservoir (30 Min./2:15 Min.)

Westfir (55 Min./2:05 Min.)

Oakridge (60 Min./2:00 Min.)

Salt Creek Canyon (1:20 Min./55 Min.)

Willamette Pass (2:05 Min./40 Min.)

Cascade Summit (2:20 Min./30 Min.)


Diamond Lake (5 Min./1:10 Min.)

Klamath Marsh

Williamson River (30 Min./45 Min.)

Upper Klamath Lake (60 Min./10 Min.)

* Klamath Falls *


Oregon/California State Line (16 Min./2:40 Min.)

Mt. Shasta





* Sacramento *



The "Mothball Fleet" (3 Min./7 Min.)

Suisun Bay


San Pablo Bay and the Carquinez Strait (5 Min./10 Min.)





Jack London Square & Village (9 Min./60 Min.)

Oakland Coliseum (19 Min./51 Min.)

Moffett Airfield (45 Min./20 Min.)

Santa Clara (1:30 Min./5 Min.)


Santa Clara Valley

Gilroy (48 Min./50 Min.)

Pajaro Gap (60 Min./30 Min.)

Watsonville Junction (1:10 Min./25 Min.)

Castroville (1:25 Min./10 Min.)


Salinas Valley

Soledad (30 Min./2:27 Min)

crop duster base and airfield (50 Min./2:07 Min)

King City (45 Min./1:10 Min.)

San Miguel (1:41 Min./79 Min.)

Cuesta Pass (2:24 Min./10 Min.)

Horseshoe Curves (2:46 Min./10 Min.)


Pismo Beach (25 Min./1:50 Min.)

Pacific Ocean (50 Min./1:25 Min.)

Vandenburg Air Force Base (50 Min./56 Min.)

Purisma Point (55 Min./1:20 Min.)

Surf (1:02 Min./1:13 Min.)

Space Shuttle Launch Pad (1:08 Min./1:07 Min.)

Point Arguello (1:09 Min./1:06 Min.)

Point Conception (1:24 Min./51 Min.)

Santa Ynez Mountains

Gaviota (90 Min./36 Min.)

Tajiguas Creek Trestle (1:43 Min./32 Min.)

Ellwood Oil Field (2:03 Min./15 Min.)

* Santa Barbara *


Andree Clark Bird Refuge (4 Min./40 Min.)

Bates Beach (20 Min./21 Min.)

The Channel Islands

Ventura River (30 Min./14 Min.)

Ventura (35 Min./10 Min.)



Santa Susanna Mountains (36 Min./42 Min.)

San Fernando Valley

Van Nuys (51 Min./18 Min.)

Hollywood-Burbank Airport (60 Min./10 Min.)

Burbank (1:05 Min./5 Min.)


Los Angeles River (12 Min./4 Min.)

* Los Angeles *


...More To Come...

Please select one of the following:
Coast Starlight Page / Amtrak Route Index / Passenger Rail Travel Page

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  visits to TrainWeb since Aug. 01, 1998. Last updated: 12/04/2005  Web Author: Steve Grande

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