Pacific Surfliner
Pacific Surfliner in Santa Barbara, California, 2017
Overview
Service typeInter-city rail, higher-speed rail
LocaleSouthern California
PredecessorSan Diegan
First serviceJune 1, 2000; 23 years ago (2000-06-01)
Current operator(s)LOSSAN Rail Corridor Agency, in partnership with Amtrak and Caltrans
Annual ridership1,517,425 (FY23) Decrease -7.1%[a][1]
Websitepacificsurfliner.com
Route
TerminiSan Luis Obispo
San Diego
Stops25
Distance travelled350 miles (560 km)
Average journey time8 hours, 52 minutes[2]
Train number(s)562–595, 761–794
On-board services
Class(es)Coach Class, Business Class
Catering facilitiesCafé
Technical
Rolling stockSiemens Charger locomotive
Surfliner (railcar)
Track gauge4 ft 8+12 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge
Operating speed41 mph (66 km/h) (avg.)
90 mph (140 km/h) (top)
Route map
Map
0 mi
0 km
San Luis Obispo
12 mi
19 km
Grover Beach
25 mi
40 km
Guadalupe
51 mi
82 km
Lompoc–Surf
110 mi
177 km
Goleta
119 mi
192 km
Santa Barbara
129 mi
208 km
Carpinteria
145 mi
233 km
Ventura
155 mi
249 km
Oxnard
165 mi
266 km
Camarillo
175 mi
282 km
Moorpark
186 mi
299 km
Simi Valley
194 mi
312 km
Chatsworth
G Line 
Northridge
203 mi
327 km
Van Nuys
( 2030)
209 mi
336 km
Hollywood Burbank Airport Ontario International Airport
Downtown Burbank
216 mi
348 km
Glendale
A Line 
222 mi
357 km
Los Angeles J Line 
E Line 
248 mi
399 km
Fullerton
253 mi
407 km
Anaheim
256 mi
412 km
Orange
258 mi
415 km
Santa Ana
(OC Streetcar 2025)
268 mi
431 km
Irvine
Laguna Niguel/Mission Viejo
280 mi
451 km
San Juan Capistrano
288 mi
463 km
San Clemente Pier
309 mi
497 km
Oceanside
312 mi
502 km
Carlsbad Village
316 mi
509 km
Carlsbad Poinsettia
321 mi
517 km
Encinitas
325 mi
523 km
Solana Beach
Del Mar Fairgrounds
(planned, 2028[3])
332 mi
534 km
Sorrento Valley
347 mi
558 km
San Diego–Old Town
350 mi
563 km
San Diego

Handicapped/disabled access All stations are accessible

Parking Parking is available at all stations
except San Diego–Old Town
Key
Metrolink (California)
Track shared with Metrolink
Track shared with Metrolink & Coaster
Track shared with Coaster
Limited service, not all trains stop
Former station, no longer served

The Pacific Surfliner is a 350-mile (560 km) passenger train service serving the communities on the coast of Southern California between San Diego and San Luis Obispo.

The Pacific Surfliner is Amtrak's third-busiest service (exceeded in ridership only by the Northeast Regional and Acela), and the busiest outside the Northeast Corridor.[4]

Like all regional trains in California, the Pacific Surfliner is operated by a joint powers authority. The Los Angeles – San Diego – San Luis Obispo (LOSSAN) Rail Corridor Agency is governed by a board that includes eleven elected representatives from the six counties the train travels through. LOSSAN contracts with the Orange County Transportation Authority to provide day-to-day management of the service and with contracts with Amtrak to operate the service and maintain the rolling stock (locomotives and passenger cars). The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) provides the funding to operate the service and also owns all of the locomotives and some of the rolling stock; with Amtrak owning the rest.

Portions of the line in southern Orange County have been suspended four times between 2022 and 2024 due to coastal erosion.

Operations

A Pacific Surfliner entering San Clemente

The 350-mile (563 km) San Luis Obispo–San Diego trip (LOSSAN Corridor) takes approximately 9 hours with an average speed of 38.9 miles per hour (63 km/h);[2] maximum track speed is 79 to 90 miles per hour (127 to 145 km/h). Much of the Pacific Surfliner's scenic route follows the Pacific coast, with the tracks being less than 100 feet (30 m) from the ocean in some locations. However, trains travel inland through expansive farmlands in Ventura County and industrial backlots in the Los Angeles Basin, San Fernando Valley, and parts of Orange County.

As of October 2023, the Pacific Surfliner operates ten daily round trips between Los Angeles and San Diego. Five round trips continue north of Los Angeles: two run all the way to San Luis Obispo, and three run to Goleta (near Santa Barbara), with Amtrak Thruway motorcoach service over the rest of the route to San Luis Obispo.[2]

Thruway motorcoach connections are also available to San Pedro; to Palm Springs and Indio; and to San Jose or Oakland (with connections to Capitol Corridor trains) via Paso Robles.

Because the stations at the ends of the line do not have wyes to turn equipment, trains are operated in push-pull mode. The locomotive is at the rear of the train, pushing the train from Goleta, San Luis Obispo or San Diego to Los Angeles. At Los Angeles, the train reverses at the station, and the locomotive pulls the train to San Diego or Goleta/San Luis Obispo, respectively. Run-through tracks are under construction at Union Station in Los Angeles to ease congestion and reduce time spent waiting to enter or depart the station.[5][6] The ongoing North Coast Corridor project plans to increase rail capacity on the route of the Surfliner in North San Diego County.

LOSSAN Rail Corridor Agency

Local agencies along with the host railroads formed the Los Angeles–San Diego-San Luis Obispo Rail Corridor Agency (LOSSAN) in 1989.[7] The Pacific Surfliner is operated by Amtrak under the Amtrak California brand with funding provided by the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans). Serious discussions were held in 2009 regarding the local agencies administering the service rather than Caltrans.[8] California Senate Bill No. 1225, passed in 2014, allowed LOSSAN to amend the joint powers agreement and become the sponsor of state-supported intercity passenger rail service in the corridor.[9] In mid-2015, LOSSAN assumed oversight for the Surfliner.[10] They are also working with Caltrans to assess rail operations from Los Angeles to San Diego to develop better connections, close gaps in the schedule, and optimize the assets of the railroad.[11]

History

The San Diegan in 1985

The route is the successor of the San Diegan, a Los Angeles–San Diego service operated since 1938 by the Santa Fe Railway. It had been one of the Santa Fe's premier routes until Amtrak took over operations in 1971. Initially there were three daily trips, but the schedule was expanded to six round trips during the 1970s with funding from the state of California. In 1988 the service was extended to Santa Barbara to provide the Central Coast with an additional train to Los Angeles, followed in 1995 with one trip a day going all the way to San Luis Obispo.[12] To better reflect the route's extent, it was renamed the Pacific Surfliner in 2000.[13] The route is named after the Surf Line, which now comprises the route's busiest section from Los Angeles to San Diego.

A stop at Old Town Transit Center was added in 2004. Stops at Orange and Laguna Niguel/Mission Viejo were added in 2007 but dropped in 2012. On October 7, 2013, stops were added at Coaster stations at Carlsbad Village, Carlsbad Poinsettia, Encinitas and Sorrento Valley.[14] The Carlsbad Poinsettia and Encinitas stops were dropped on October 9, 2017, due to low ridership.[15] The Carlsbad Village and Sorrento Valley stops were dropped on October 8, 2018, due to changes with the cross-ticketing arrangement with Coaster.[16]

A 13th daily round trip was added on October 14, 2019.[17]

On September 30, 2022, all rail service between Irvine and Oceanside was suspended due to coastal erosion under the track in San Clemente.[18] Emergency repairs were expected to take at least 90 days.[19][20] Full Pacific Surfliner service resumed on April 17, 2023.[21] Service south of Irvine was again suspended on April 27 due to further erosion at Casa Romantica.[22] Service resumed on May 27, 2023.[23] Service was suspended again on June 5 due to continued erosion at Casa Romantica and resumed on July 19.[24][25] Service was suspended on January 25, 2024, due to a landslide at San Clemente.[26] The state declared an emergency on February 1, allowing the Orange County Transportation Authority to access emergency funding.[27]

Route

Map of Pacific Surfliner stations

The Pacific Surfliner runs on track owned by several private railroads and public agencies:

Stations

Station Location Miles (km) from San Luis Obispo[28][29] Connections
San Luis Obispo San Luis Obispo 0 (0) Amtrak Amtrak: Coast Starlight
Amtrak Amtrak Thruway to Santa Barbara, San Jose, San Francisco, Oakland
Bus transport SLO Transit,FlixBus
Grover Beach Grover Beach 12 (20) Amtrak Amtrak Thruway to Santa Barbara, San Jose, San Francisco, Oakland
Bus transport South County Transit, part of San Luis Obispo Regional Transit Authority (RTA)
Guadalupe Guadalupe 24 (39) Amtrak Amtrak Thruway to San Jose, San Francisco, Oakland
Bus transport Guadalupe Flyer,local and express for Santa Maria
Lompoc–Surf Surf 51 (81)
Goleta Goleta 109 (176) Bus transport MTD Santa Barbara
Santa Barbara Santa Barbara 119 (191) Amtrak Amtrak: Coast Starlight
Amtrak Amtrak Thruway to Los Angeles, UCSB, San Jose, San Francisco, Oakland
Bus transport MTD Santa Barbara
Carpinteria Carpinteria 129 (207) Amtrak Amtrak Thruway to Los Angeles, UCSB
Bus transport MTD Santa Barbara
Ventura Ventura 145 (234)
Oxnard Transit Center Oxnard 155 (250) Amtrak Amtrak: Coast Starlight
Amtrak Amtrak Thruway to Los Angeles, UCSB
Metrolink (California) Metrolink: Ventura County
Bus transport Gold Coast Transit
Camarillo Camarillo 164 (264) Amtrak Amtrak Thruway to UCSB
Metrolink (California) Metrolink: Ventura County
Bus transport VCTC Intercity
Moorpark Moorpark 175 (282) Amtrak Amtrak Thruway to UCSB
Metrolink (California) Metrolink: Ventura County
Bus transport Moorpark City Transit, VCTC Intercity
Simi Valley Simi Valley 186 (299) Amtrak Amtrak: Coast Starlight
Amtrak Amtrak Thruway to UCSB
Metrolink (California) Metrolink: Ventura County
Bus transport Simi Valley Transit
Chatsworth Los Angeles 193 (311) Amtrak Amtrak Thruway to UCSB
Metrolink (California) Metrolink: Ventura County
Metro:  G Line
Bus transport City of Santa Clarita Transit, LADOT Commuter Express, Los Angeles Metro Bus
Van Nuys 203 (326) Amtrak Amtrak: Coast Starlight
Amtrak Amtrak Thruway to UCSB
Metrolink (California) Metrolink: Ventura County
Bus transport LADOT DASH, Los Angeles Metro Bus
Hollywood Burbank Airport Burbank 208 (335) Amtrak Amtrak: Coast Starlight
Metrolink (California) Metrolink: Ventura County
Bus transport Los Angeles Metro Bus
Glendale Glendale 216 (348) Amtrak Amtrak Thruway to UCSB
Metrolink (California) Metrolink: Antelope Valley Ventura County
Greyhound Lines Greyhound Lines
Bus transport Glendale Beeline, Los Angeles Metro Bus
Union Station Los Angeles 222 (357) Amtrak Amtrak: Coast Starlight, Southwest Chief, Sunset Limited, Texas Eagle
Metrolink (California) Metrolink: 91/Perris Valley Antelope Valley Orange County Riverside San Bernardino Ventura County
Metro:  A Line, B Line,  D Line,  J Line
FlyAway (bus) FlyAway to LAX

Bus transportFlixBus,Los Angeles Metro Bus, LADOT Commuter Express,Big Blue Bus,Torrance Transit,Foothill Transit

Fullerton Fullerton 247 (398) Amtrak Amtrak: Southwest Chief
Amtrak Amtrak Thruway to Cabazon, Palm Springs, Indio
Metrolink (California) Metrolink: 91/Perris Valley Orange County
Bus transport OC Bus
Anaheim Anaheim 253 (407) Metrolink (California) Metrolink: Orange County
Greyhound Lines Greyhound Lines
Bus transport Anaheim Resort Transportation, Flixbus, OC Bus
Santa Ana Santa Ana 258 (415) Metrolink (California) Metrolink: Inland Empire-Orange County Orange County
Greyhound Lines Greyhound Lines
Bus transport OC Bus
Irvine Irvine 267 (430) Metrolink (California) Metrolink: Inland Empire-Orange County Orange County
Bus transport iShuttle, OC Bus
San Juan Capistrano San Juan Capistrano 280 (450) Metrolink (California) Metrolink: Inland Empire-Orange County Orange County
San Clemente Pier San Clemente 287 (462) Limited service, not all trains stop at this station
Metrolink (California) Metrolink: Inland Empire-Orange County Orange County
Oceanside Oceanside 309 (497) Coaster
Sprinter
Metrolink (California) Metrolink: Inland Empire-Orange County Orange County
Greyhound Lines Greyhound Lines
Bus transport NCTD Breeze, Riverside Transit Agency
Solana Beach Solana Beach 324 (521) Coaster
Bus transport NCTD Breeze
Old Town Transit Center San Diego 346 (557) Coaster
San Diego Trolley:  Blue Line,  Green Line
Bus transport Metropolitan Transit System, San Diego International Airport San Diego Flyer shuttle, University of San Diego shuttle
Santa Fe Depot 350 (563) Coaster
San Diego Trolley:  Blue Line,  Green Line
Bus transport Metropolitan Transit System

Carlsbad Poinsettia, Carlsbad Village, Encinitas and Sorrento Valley stations were previously served under the "Rail 2 Rail" reciprocal pass program with Coaster, while Laguna Niguel/Mission Viejo and Orange were served under a similar program with Metrolink.

Rolling stock

Coach/baggage/cab car #6908 on the Pacific Surfliner in Santa Barbara in 2018

The Pacific Surfliner uses push-pull trainsets with a diesel locomotive at one end and a cab car at the other. The COVID pandemic saw a reduction in service from 10 trainsets with 27 daily trains to 7 trainsets with 20 daily trains. Trainsets used for regular service are composed from a fleet of 49 bilevel Surfliner coaches (39 owned by Amtrak and 10 by Caltrans), plus nine leased Amtrak Superliner long-distance coaches modified for push-pull operation. A typical six-car set has a business class car; one Superliner flex car for additional business class or coach seating; two coach cars; a coach/café car with food sales on the lower level; and a coach/baggage/cab car equipped with coach seating, a checked baggage space on the lower level, and engineer's operating cab.[30] Historically, additional trainsets consisted of leased Amtrak equipment: Horizon or Amfleet passenger cars plus a Non-Powered Control Unit.[30] LOSSAN has expressed interest in acquiring bi-level cars from a variety of sources, such as purchasing Surfliner and Superliner cars from Amtrak, as well as receiving bi-level cars from other Amtrak California services made redundant by Siemens Venture coaches acquired as part of the failed Next Generation Bi-Level Passenger Rail Car initiative.[31][30] In 2018, LOSSAN began negotiating with the Great Lakes Central Railroad to lease bilevel railcars previously refurbished for a never-opened commuter railroad in Michigan.[30]

The Surfliner cars were introduced in 2000–02, and were designed specifically to handle the demands of the nation's third-busiest rail line.[32] They replaced the California Cars which had been introduced on the then-San Diegan in 1996, and had been fraught with problems in the latter part of the 1990s.[33]

A dedicated fleet of 14 Caltrans-owned Siemens Charger locomotives began pre-revenue testing in October 2018 and entered revenue service later that year.[34][35] The Chargers replaced a fleet of 15 Amtrak-owned EMD F59PHI locomotives (built in 1998), which were sold to Metra on March 2, 2019.[36][37][30][38] Amtrak-owned GE P42DC locomotives (which are also used at other times) were temporarily used as motive power until the Chargers were ready for service. The Surfliner cars and Charger locomotives (and previously the F59PHI locomotives) are painted in a blue and silver livery that is unique to the Pacific Surfliner.[39][40]

Additional Amtrak-owned cars are added (up to 12-car consists) during periods of high demand, including the San Diego Comic-Con, the San Diego County Fair, events at the Del Mar racetrack, and after the 2018 Southern California mudflows closed Highway 101.[41][42] Amtrak Great Dome car Ocean View was occasionally used as an additional business class car prior to its retirement in 2019.[43][44]

References

  1. ^ "Amtrak Fiscal Year 2023 Ridership" (PDF). Amtrak. November 27, 2023. Retrieved November 30, 2023.
  2. ^ a b c "Pacific Surfliner Timetable" (PDF). Amtrak. October 23, 2023.
  3. ^ "Transit and Intercity Rail Capital Program Sixth Round Selected Projects – Project Detail Summary" (PDF). California State Transportation Agency. April 24, 2023. p. 11. Retrieved October 11, 2023.
  4. ^ "Amtrak FY16 Ridership and Revenue Fact Sheet" (PDF). Amtrak. April 17, 2017. Retrieved February 21, 2018.
  5. ^ Sharp, Stephen (May 31, 2022). "$2.3B Union Station makeover takes another step forward". Urbanize LA. Archived from the original on May 31, 2022. Retrieved June 1, 2022.
  6. ^ "Link Union Station (Link US)". Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority. Archived from the original on January 7, 2017. Retrieved October 26, 2023.
  7. ^ "LOSSAN Corridorwide Strategic Implementation Plan, Final Report (April 2012)" (PDF). San Luis Obispo Council of Governments. Retrieved April 24, 2018.
  8. ^ "LOSSAN Board discusses JPA and the Future Governance of Passenger Rail in Southern California". Rail Passenger Association of California & Nevada. July 7, 2009. Retrieved December 6, 2009.
  9. ^ "Senate Bill No. 1225" California Secretary of State (September 29, 2012)
  10. ^ Sheehan, Tim (June 26, 2015). "Valley agency takes control of Amtrak San Joaquin trains". Fresno Bee. Retrieved February 11, 2016.
  11. ^ Weikel, Dan (January 27, 2015) "Little-known agency keeps commuter rail network on track" Los Angeles Times
  12. ^ Schmidt, Brian (November 30, 2022). "Amtrak San Diego service through the years". Trains. Retrieved December 4, 2022.
  13. ^ Gabbard, Dana (September 24, 2012). "History of the Surfliner, LOSSAN and a Look at Pending Legislation". StreetsBlog LA. OpenPlans. Retrieved April 11, 2014.
  14. ^ "Amtrak Pacific Surfliner Adds Four New stops" (Press release). Amtrak. September 18, 2013.
  15. ^ Diehl, Phil (September 21, 2017). "Amtrak to discontinue two stops, add one". San Diego Union Tribune.
  16. ^ "October 8, 2018 Schedule Change" (Press release). Amtrak. Archived from the original on November 26, 2018.
  17. ^ "AMTRAK PACIFIC SURFLINER INTRODUCES 13TH ROUNDTRIP" (Press release). Amtrak. October 10, 2019.
  18. ^ "Pacific Surfliner, Metrolink halt operations in South Orange County". Trains. September 30, 2022. Retrieved October 2, 2022.
  19. ^ "Pacific Surfliner, Metrolink facing 60-day service outage to Oceanside, San Diego official says". Trains. October 1, 2022. Retrieved October 2, 2022.
  20. ^ "News - Emergency Track Stabilization Work Set to Begin Next Week in South Orange County".
  21. ^ Connelly, Laylan (April 10, 2023). "Metrolink, Amtrak to resume full passenger train service through San Clemente". Orange County Register. Retrieved April 13, 2023.
  22. ^ Jennewein, Chris (April 28, 2023). "Amtrak, Metrolink Service to San Diego Still Unavailable Friday After Landslide in San Clemente". Times of San Diego. Retrieved May 1, 2023.
  23. ^ Lester, David C. (May 30, 2023). "Rail Service, Including Metrolink, Pacific Surfliner, Cleared to Resume Through San Clemente". Railway Track and Structures. Retrieved June 1, 2023.
  24. ^ Rendon, Karla (June 6, 2023). "Landslide in San Clemente Rail service out of North County again". NBC 7 San Diego. Retrieved June 7, 2023.
  25. ^ "Travel Advisories". LOSSAN Rail Corridor Agency. July 11, 2023. Archived from the original on July 12, 2023.
  26. ^ Rendon, Karla (January 25, 2024). "Landslide in San Clemente damages bridge and halts train service". NBC Los Angeles. Retrieved January 25, 2024.
  27. ^ "San Clemente Rail Closure Daily Update: Thursday, Feb. 1 State Emergency Declared" (Press release). Orange County Transportation Authority. February 1, 2024.
  28. ^ "Pacific Surfliner" (PDF). Amtrak. April 8, 2019. Archived from the original (PDF) on April 4, 2019.
  29. ^ SMA Rail Consulting (April 2016). "California Passenger Rail Network Schematics" (PDF). California Department of Transportation. pp. 15–18, 22, 25–26.
  30. ^ a b c d e "Chapter 9: Equipment". LOSSAN Rail Corridor Agency Business Plan: FY 2018-19 to FY 2019-20 (PDF). Los Angeles – San Diego – San Luis Obispo Rail Corridor Agency. April 2018. pp. 41–47.
  31. ^ "LOSSAN Rail Corridor Agency BUSINESS PLAN FY 2022-23 / FY 2023-24" (PDF).
  32. ^ Alstom. "The Pacific Surfliner, Riding the California Coast" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on April 7, 2014. Retrieved April 2, 2014.
  33. ^ "STATE RAILROAD CARS PLAGUED WITH DEFECTS". Daily News. Los Angeles, CA. Associated Press. April 13, 1998. Retrieved December 30, 2019.
  34. ^ "New, Cleaner Locomotives Coming Soon to the Amtrak Pacific Surfliner Service". Pacific Surfliner Blog. October 5, 2018. Retrieved November 29, 2018.
  35. ^ "Charger Locomotive Deployment: ' The California Experience'" (PDF). Next Generation Equipment Committee - 2019 Annual Meeting. American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials. February 22, 2019.
  36. ^ "Cleaner Locomotive Fleet Powers Up: 22 New Units Ordered for State-Supported Amtrak Corridors" (PDF). The Mile Marker. Caltrans. December 2016. pp. 31–32.
  37. ^ Young, Allen (November 6, 2015). "Siemens Sacramento nabs $240M multistate contract". Sacramento Business Journal.
  38. ^ "Metra moves to buy newer engines" (Press release). Metra. February 21, 2018.
  39. ^ "Official Paint Scheme and Logo Branding Guide" (PDF). Amtrak. August 17, 2018. Archived (PDF) from the original on September 18, 2018.
  40. ^ Solomon, Brian (2004). Amtrak. Saint Paul, Minnesota: MBI. pp. 114, 138. ISBN 978-0-7603-1765-5.
  41. ^ "EXTRA PACIFIC SURFLINER SERVICE AND CAPACITY ADDED FOR COMIC-CON". Pacific Surfliner Blog. Amtrak. July 11, 2018.
  42. ^ "Amtrak boosts Pacific Surfliner capacity in response to mudslides". Progressive Railroading. January 16, 2018.
  43. ^ "PANORAMIC VIEWS OF the CALIFORNIA COAST FROM THE GREAT DOME". Pacific Surfliner Blog. Amtrak. July 14, 2017.
  44. ^ "Amtrak's 'Great Dome' car has been retired". Times Union. August 30, 2019. Retrieved September 4, 2019.

Notes

  1. ^ Amtrak's Fiscal Year (FY) runs from October 1 of the prior year to September 30 of the named year.
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