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Amtrak Coast Starlight Route Guide - From Pacific Ocean vistas to snowcapped
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Seattle * Tacoma * Olympia * Portland * Salem * Eugene * Klamath Falls * Redding * Chico * Sacramento * Davis * Martinez * Oakland * San Francisco * San Jose * Salinas * San Luis Obispo * Santa Barbara * Los Angeles

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

This guide is the perfect companion for a trip aboard the Coast Starlight. Written from north to south, it alerts you to the fantastic and breathtaking sights to be seen as our train travels south along the route up the Pacific Coast. Points of interest, local history, flora and fauna, and particular sights to be observed are all listed, frequently with notations to look either to the right or left. Note that all AMTRAK STOPS are in bold capital letters to set them apart from towns and points of interest through which the Coast Starlight travels but does not stop. Use this guide, along with an Amtrak timetable to determine station times.

We hope you will find your trip aboard the Coast Starlight enjoyable and this guide helpful. Thank you for choosing Amtrak.

Welcome Aboard!

You're traveling on the Coast Starlight -- Amtrak's hottest train with the coolest scenery. Linking Los Angeles and Seattle, the three-state, 1389-mile route of the Coast Starlight offers some of the most spectacular scenery in the west while serving key cities along the Pacific coast including Santa Barbara, San Francisco / Oakland and Sacramento, California; Eugene and Portland, Oregon and Tacoma, Washington.

While on board, you'll be experiencing the utmost in train travel -- a veritable land cruise -- featuring spacious new Superliner II bi-level equipment. Menus in the dining car have been designed with a distinct local flavor, which includes assorted wines, salads, beers, entrees and desserts from along the route of the Coast Starlight. First-class passengers will delight in numerous service enhancements including our Pacific Parlor Car -- exclusive to the Coast Starlight.


Of all Amtrak's western long-distance trains, none can compare with the Coast Starlight with a tradition of excellence harkening back to the glory days of the "Streamline Era" of the late 1940s. Indeed, the name Starlight first emblazoned the sides of a premier Southern Pacific night train operating along the California coast.

In those days, to travel over this route between Los Angeles and Seattle, the journey involved three separate trains over two different railroads. The Southern Pacific Railroad provided rail service along the California coast with trains like the famous Daylight, the Starlight and the all-Pullman Lark. Between the San Francisco Bay Area and Portland, SP also provided service with such trains as the Shasta Daylight and the Cascade. Beyond Portland, one had a choice of several connecting trains to Seattle operated over the "Joint Line" by Union Pacific, Great Northern and Northern Pacific.

In 1971, when Amtrak assumed the operation of the nation's rail passenger service, it became possible to take a single tri-weekly train from Seattle through to Los Angeles and by June 1973, the Coast Starlight began operating daily between these two cities. In 1981, Amtrak introduced its double-deck Superliner fleet inaugurating a new era of travel luxury on the Coast Starlight.

Meet the Crew That Makes the Magic Happen

Amtrak and your crew are proud to host you on board. Coast Starlight crew members are specially trained to provide superior service and it is our goal to do everything possible we can to ensure you enjoy your trip with us. The Conductor is in charge of all crew members and together with the Engineer operating the locomotive, is responsible for the safe operation of the train. Assistant Conductors aid in collecting tickets, assisting passengers and carrying out various operating duties. The Chief of On-Board Service supervises the on-board service crew, and ensures that superior service is maintained in all aspects of the train's activities including the Chef and the kitchen staff, the Steward and the dining car crew and the coach and sleeping car Attendants. If you have any questions, don't hesitate to ask any member of the crew.

The Fun Starts Here!

The Coast Starlight features on-board activities the whole family can 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 Sightseer Lounge Car for a drink and complimentary snacks and don't forget to ask about regional specialties.
Games Listen for announcements. Games are usually conducted in the Sightseer Lounge Car and small prizes will be awarded.

Enjoy On-Board Accommodations
That Pamper and Please!

Roomy Coach Seats Sink back in your seat and snooze or enjoy the scenery from the upper deck of our modern coaches. Seats on our Superliner II coaches are equipped with both adjustable back and leg rests. Your Coach Attendant will see to your needs.

Pillows are provided. Since your seat is assigned for the length of your journey, please do not change without first consulting a crew member.

Dining Car Service Our dining car offers complete meals for breakfast, lunch and dinner in an elegant and comfortable setting. A distinct new menu features both hearty fare and lean cuisine as well as foods and beverages indigenous to the route of the Coast Starlight. Major credit cards are accepted. A crew member will contact you if reservations are necessary.

Spectacular Sightseer Lounge Car Large picture windows afford magnificent views of the passing scene. Comfortable seating invites conversation and don't forget the Cafe Bar which offers assorted wines, salads, beers, snacks and desserts from California, Oregon and Washington. Souvenirs are also available for sale as well as playing cards, post cards and blankets. Lounge Car hours are generally from 6am to midnight.

First-Class Amenities Add a
Touch of Class and Sophistication

Private Sleeping Compartments Your Sleeing Car Attendant will prepare your room for daytime or night time use, provide wake-up calls and bring the morning paper and beverages. Personal audio systems bring you recorded music on Channels 2 or 3, and train announcements on Channel 1 and 2. Simply turn the channel selector near the reading light. Standard (economy), Family, Special and Deluxe bedrooms are available. Special bedrooms are designed for passengers with disabilities and have a private bathroom and Deluxe rooms have private baths with a shower. Sleeping accommodations may be purchased on board from the Conductor if space is available.

Pacific Parlor Car A special lounge for sleeping car customers, the Pacific Parlor Car, is exclusive to the Coast Starlight and offers a relaxed atmosphere from which to enjoy the beautiful panoramic views of the west coast countryside. The Pacific Parlor Car features a reading library, play area for children, games for kids and adults, feature-length films and complimentary continental breakfast with fresh-baked pastries. An afternoon hospitality hour features wines or champagne from vineyards along the route of the Coast Starlight enhanced with hor d'houvers.

Special Amenities First-class passengers will find improved in-room amenities such as fresh flowers, upgraded toiletries and embossed stationery. Complimentary meals are provided in the dining car or may be brought to your room and each sleeping car guest will be presented with a special appreciation gift emblazoned with the special Coast Starlight logo before departing the train.

Scenic Photo Tips

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) for the clearest results. Hold your lens close to the windows to eliminate glare and reflections. For inside shots, flash is recommended. To avoid glare and reflections, do not point the flash directly at the windows.

For the Technically Inclined

Genesis Locomotives Award-winning, light weight and aero-dynamically designed, these locomotives are built by General Electric in Erie, Pennsylvania. Capable of achieving 103 mph, they feature on-board diagnostics, computer controlled systems and a revolutionary head-end power system. Each locomotive costs $2.3 million.

Superliner II Cars The high-level rail passenger car, originally conceived by the Santa Fe Railway in the 1950s, was improved upon by Amtrak when the first series of new Superliner cars were placed in service in 1974-76. Gleaming new Superliner II series of cars recently placed in service on the Coast Starlight are built by the Bombardier Corporation and incorporate the latest in rail car comfort, convenience and technology.

020626-100M-June 1996
Please select one of the following:
Coast Starlight Page / Amtrak Route Index / TrainWeb 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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