The Coast Starlight

The Coast Starlight is an Amtrak route that runs 1,377 miles from Los Angeles Union Station up the Pacific coast to King Street Station in Seattle. The name is original to the route, which began operation with the founding of Amtrak in 1971. However, the name is based on Southern Pacific Daylight trains that once ran on almost the same route.

Despite the massive size of the station, when I visited in 2010, Amtrak's operations were clustered in a comparatively narrow corridor near the tunnel to the tracks. Unlike most other trains I've ridden where seating is either first-come-first-serve or seating assignments are made by assistant conductors at train entrances, seat assignments were made at a table in the middle of this corridor. Odd.

As the route continued past Santa Barbara and between the coast and the Santa Ynez Mountains, the dropoff to the coast side of the train is often quite steep. Deep cuts of erosion seemed to extend almost up to track itself, making the journey seem quite precarious. The steady rains of recent days seemed to be causing additional track difficulty and Union Pacific track crews were spotted at various locations.

12/20/2010 14:15:24
Amtrak waiting area in Union Station
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Departure board
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Ramp to platform
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Boarding
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Boarding
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Adjacent California Surfliner coach
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Los Angeles River
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Simi Valley
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Simi Valley
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Simi Valley
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Where salad comes from
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Oxnard, CA station
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Lemon trees
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First glimpse of the ocean north of Ventura
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The ocean viewed from the Coast Starlight (video)
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The ocean viewed from the Coast Starlight (video)
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The Coast Starlight
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The Coast Starlight
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Coastline
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Oil wells off the coast of Santa Barbara
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Service pier
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Santa Barbara, CA station
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The coast south of Santa Barbara (video)
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The Coast Starlight
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The Coast Starlight
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The Coast Starlight
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The Coast Starlight
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The Coast Starlight
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The Coast Starlight
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The Coast Starlight
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The Coast Starlight
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The Coast Starlight
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The Coast Starlight
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Cattle grazing near coast
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The Coast Starlight
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The Coast Starlight
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Lompoc-Surf Beach station - summer only?
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The Coast Starlight
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Vandenburg Air Base
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Foggy valley south of San Luis Obispo
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Foggy valley south of San Luis Obispo
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Foggy valley south of San Luis Obispo (video)
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San Luis Obispo station
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San Luis Obispo station
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San Luis Obispo station
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The Iron Road Pioneers by Elizabeth MacQueen
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The Iron Road Pioneers by Elizabeth MacQueen
12/21/2010 03:29:58
Oakland, CA
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Nice assistant conductor
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Emeryville, CA station
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Emeryville, CA station