FAQs

About Us

What is the Pacific Surfliner?

The Amtrak Pacific Surfliner is a passenger train service administered by the LOSSAN Rail Corridor Agency. It travels 351 miles through San Diego, Orange, Los Angeles, Ventura, Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties, serving 29 cities and nearly 3 million people each year. Sections of the route hug the coastline, offering magnificent views of rolling hills and sparkling beaches. Riding the train also provides the added benefit of avoiding freeway traffic. The Pacific Surfliner offers onboard amenities that include spacious reclining seats, large picture windows, power outlets, free Wi-Fi, a Café Car, bicycle storage, and optional Business Class upgrades. 

The route is named with a nod to the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe (AT&SF) Railway’s Surf Line, which was the original name of the Los Angeles–San Diego portion of the route. The original train that served the route was named the San Diegan. 

When AT&SF ceased operating passenger trains on May 1, 1971, it conveyed its responsibilities to Amtrak. Amtrak continued to service the Surf Line route with trains named San Diegan, but in 1988, the route was extended to Santa Barbara, and in 1995, a daily trip to San Luis Obispo was added. Since the name San Diegan was no longer accurate, in 2000, the trains and the route were all renamed the Pacific Surfliner.

In July 2015, the LOSSAN Rail Corridor Agency assumed responsibility for the operation of the Pacific Surfliner service.

What is LOSSAN?

The Los Angeles–San Diego–San Luis Obispo (LOSSAN) Rail Corridor Agency is a joint powers authority comprised of rail owners, operators and planning agencies along the entire 351-mile LOSSAN rail corridor. The LOSSAN Agency is governed by an 11-member Board of Directors composed of elected officials representing the counties of San Diego, Orange, Los Angeles, Ventura, Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo. Management responsibility for the Pacific Surfliner service was assumed by the LOSSAN Agency in July 2015, following the execution of an interagency transfer agreement with the state of California. Amtrak is the contracted operator of the Pacific Surfliner service. The Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA) provides management and administrative support to the LOSSAN Agency.

Planning Your Trip

Can I stop at more than one station during my trip?

Yes, with a multi-city ticket, you can stop at as many stations as you like at no additional cost. You must plan your trip in advance, including stopovers. Remember, connections aren’t guaranteed, so make sure to build a trip that allows adequate time to make connecting trains.

How do I read a Pacific Surfliner timetable?

First, visit the online schedules page. Once there, decide which Pacific Surfliner schedule you need: northbound toward San Luis Obispo, or southbound toward San Diego. There are two pages for each.

Look at the left column, find your departure station and read across to the right to see all the departure times from that station. Be sure to check the top of each column to see if you’re looking at Daily (seven days a week), Mo-Fr (weekdays), or SaSuHo (weekends and holidays) departure times. Once you've found a departure time that works for you, follow the column down to find the arrival time at your destination station. The train number is located at the top of each column.

Some trains connect with Amtrak Thruway bus routes to provide more travel options. Bus connections are designated on the schedule with green shading. The legend at the bottom of the schedule provides more information on other transit connections and onboard amenities.

If you’re not sure you’re reading the schedule correctly, you can go to the tickets page on our website and enter your travel dates and departure and arrival stations to see a list of all the trains for that day. 

How do I plan a trip?

First, use our station locator to find the Amtrak station nearest to you. Then, check out our Destinations page for trip ideas and special promotions. Explore train departure and arrival times on our online trip planner, the full Pacific Surfliner timetable, or the Amtrak app (get it here). If you'd prefer to speak with an Amtrak representative, visit a staffed Amtrak station or call 1-800-USA-RAIL. Customers who are deaf or hard of hearing can access TTD/TTY service at 1-800-523-6590.

I’d like to make several trips over a period of time. Is there an option that works for me?

Yes, multi-ride tickets allow you to take multiple trips using one ticket within a set amount of time. There are two types of multi-ride tickets that can be used on Pacific Surfliner trains: Monthly and Ten-Ride.

Monthly Ticket: Monthly tickets are valid for unlimited travel between two stations you select and all stations in between for an entire calendar month. The distance between the two stations determines the price of your ticket.

Ten-Ride Ticket: Ten-Ride tickets are valid for 10 one-way trips between two stations you select within a 60-day period.

What classes of service are available?

Pacific Surfliner trains offer two types of tickets: Unreserved Coach and Business Class.

Unreserved Coach: Unreserved Coach tickets allow you to ride any Pacific Surfliner train from the origin station to the destination station listed on your ticket. This gives you the flexibility to take a different train than the one you selected in the booking process if your travel plans change, subject to certain restrictions. 

Business Class: Business Class tickets offer guaranteed seating and other perks. Learn more about Business Class in the questions below.

Note: Advance reservations for all Pacific Surfliner trains may be required during holidays and special events. Certain promotions and discounts may also require advance purchase. Also be aware that some connecting bus routes require reservations, so make sure to purchase those tickets in advance. 

Am I guaranteed a seat if I buy an Unreserved Coach ticket?

Because Unreserved Coach seats are available to boarding passengers on a first-come, first-served basis, trains can occasionally become crowded, especially in the summer and during peak travel periods. On the busiest trains, it may become difficult to find a seat on certain sections of the route.

You might want to consider upgrading to Business Class, which offers a guaranteed seat and other perks.

Fridays and Sundays are typically the busiest travel days on the Pacific Surfliner. To stay updated on train status alerts, follow @PacSurfliners on Twitter.

Do I need a reservation for Business Class?

Yes, Business Class does require advanced reservations. When you travel in Business Class, you’re guaranteed a seat for the train listed on your ticket. The number of Business Class seats on each train is limited, so it’s best to book early before they sell out.

If your plans change and you need to ride an earlier or later train, you will need to modify your Business Class reservation in advance by visiting Amtrak.com or calling 1-800-USA-RAIL.

What are the benefits of Business Class?

Business Class provides an upgraded travel experience. You’ll have a guaranteed seat and extra space to stretch out, plus you’ll receive a complimentary snack and drink, priority boarding in San Diego, access to the Metropolitan Lounge at Los Angeles Union Station, and bonus Amtrak Guest Rewards points. Learn more on our blog.

Are there any discounts available for Pacific Surfliner travel?

California Everyday Discounts offer year-round savings on Pacific Surfliner travel for students, seniors, kids, and passengers with disabilities. Visit pacificsurfliner.com/discounts to learn more.

There are also often special promotions to specific destinations, and these promotions often include discounts at hotels and merchants. Promotions are always changing, so be sure to bookmark the web page and check back often.

Can I bring my pet?

The Pacific Surfliner is only able to allow service animals on board the trains. However, there are other routes available from Amtrak that accommodate pets. Click here to see which routes support pets.

What about my emotional support animal?

Service animals are animals that have been trained to perform a specific task for a person with a disability. These are the only animals that are allowed aboard the train. Animals that are strictly for emotional support or security are not considered service animals, and they are not permitted on board. However, some Amtrak routes do allow pets. Please click here to learn more.

Can I bring my bike?

Absolutely, but be sure to make a bike reservation when you book your ticket, as there is limited bike space. When you board, store your bike in the bike racks located on the lower level of most cars, or store it in the car designated for bike storage. These cars have a small decal of a bike on the outside of them, and are typically the car furthest from the locomotive. Learn more about bringing your bike along here.

Where can I buy my tickets?

You can buy tickets online, from the Amtrak app, from the station agents at staffed stations and from Quik-Trak machines. 

Buying online is the most convenient option, as it can be done at any time from your computer or mobile device. You can purchase all ticket types online, including roundtrips, ten-ride passes and monthly passes. Certain promotions and discounts can only be purchased online and require advance purchase, so online is the easiest and most convenient way.

Part of my trip on the Pacific Surfliner involves a bus. How does that work and where should I go?

You can book the bus portion of your trip at the same time as your train trip. The trip planner, schedule and app have bus information along with the train information. As always, you can call 1-800-USA-RAIL should you have any questions.

Do you sell group tickets?

Yes. Groups of 20 or more passengers traveling together are eligible for a group discount. To obtain the group rate, one person from your group must submit a Group Travel Request at least 21 days in advance. You can do that online, by phone, by fax or by email. All the information is on the Group Travel page

If there are fewer than 20 in your group, be sure to check the discounts and promotions pages for any potential savings.

Can my child ride without adult supervision?

Children 12 and under may not travel alone, and must be accompanied by an adult 18 or over.

Children 13, 14 and 15 years old may travel alone, provided they meet the conditions of Amtrak’s Unaccompanied Minor Policy. You can view that policy here.

Children 16 and older may travel unaccompanied without restriction, but each traveler must have valid photo ID when purchasing tickets, when on board the train, and when riding buses.

What if I cancel my trip?

One-way and round-trip coach tickets will be refunded minus a 10% service fee.

Business Class tickets are fully refundable if canceled prior to departure.

You can get more details on cancellation policies here.

Accessibility

I have trouble hearing. How can I get help planning my trip?

If you’re deaf or hard of hearing, you can access TTY service at 1-800-523-6590.

Does the train accommodate wheelchairs?

Yes, the train can accommodate standard manual or battery-powered wheelchairs. The dimensions may not exceed 30" wide by 48" long, and the passenger and wheelchair together may not weigh more than 600 lbs. Accessible bathrooms are located on the bottom floor of two-level cars. You can get all the details here.

Arrival and Boarding

Will short- and long-term parking be available at the station?

Parking varies by station and is often run by the local municipality. LOSSAN has no control over types of parking available or any fees that may be charged. For parking information specific to your location, please visit the website, click on your station, and view the parking information.

How much luggage can I bring?

For the most part, you may bring up to six pieces on board without being charged. These six pieces consist of:

• Two personal items: For example, large purses, briefcases, computer backpacks.

• Two carry-on bags: These bags can measure up to 28" x 22" x 11" each, and weigh up to 50 lbs. each.

• Two checked bags (not available at all stations, please check in advance): These bags can measure up to 75 linear inches. That’s L+W+H, so for example, a 28" x 22" x 11" bag would be 61 linear inches.

You may bring more and larger bags, but you may be charged for them.

Baby gear such as strollers, diaper bags and car seats do not count toward this limit, and you will not be charged extra for bringing any of these items.

How do I check my bags?

Check in advance to make sure your station offers checked baggage. Then when you arrive, just bring it up to the ticket counter.

What do I do with my carry-on luggage?

There are overhead racks you can use, and there is storage space on the lower level of most cars. There is also storage space on the upper level at the ends of each car. If you have trouble finding a spot, your conductor would be happy to help.

Is there anything that’s prohibited from bringing on board?

Yes, there are a few prohibited items, for obvious safety reasons. The following items are prohibited by law from bringing aboard the train: non-service animals, firearms and ammunition, hover boards, corrosive or dangerous chemicals and materials, incendiaries, martial arts and self-defense items, archery equipment, devices containing propellants, sharp objects like spears and swords, and more. See a complete and detailed list of prohibited items here.

How do I know which cars are Business Class and which are Unreserved Coach?

The train is typically configured like this: Locomotive, Business Class car, Café car, Unreserved Coach cars, and the last car has space for bike storage. Sometimes there will be variations, but since the cars are all connected, you can always board any car, then ask your conductor for help.

How do I bring my bike on board?

You can store your bike in the bike racks located on the lower level of most cars, or store it in the car designated for bike storage. These cars have a small decal of a bike on the outside of them, and are typically the car furthest from the locomotive. Occasionally there will be a locomotive on both ends of the train. In those cases, the bike storage car can be located right next to one of the locomotives. If you have any questions, feel free to ask your conductor. You can read more about bringing your bike aboard here.

What if my train is delayed?

If your train is delayed, please be patient and listen for conductor or station announcements. Delays will be updated on electronic station signage and/or by on-board announcement. You can also follow Pacific Surfliner on Twitter or Facebook to get the most recent announcements, and you can check the Service Alerts page, as well.

Anything else to keep in mind?

First and foremost, make sure you’re taking the right train. Be sure you know your train number and make sure you’re boarding the correct train.

Also try and anticipate which car you’re going to board and line up accordingly. If you’re not quite sure, just board the train, and the conductor will be happy to help you find your seat.

On Board

Is there Wi-Fi on board?

Yes, and it’s free. Look for AmtrakConnect in your device’s list of available hot spots. Keep in mind the Wi-Fi does not support high-bandwidth activities such as streaming movies and music, playing online games or downloading large files. You can get all the details here.

Can I buy food and drinks on board?

Yes, our onboard Café car offers a variety of snacks, sweets, light meals and beverages, including wine and craft beers. Many products are locally sourced from along the Pacific Surfliner route. You can read more about our Café car here, and view a menu here.

Can I bring my own food and drinks?

Yes, you can bring your own food and drink and eat and drink it at your seat, but you cannot bring your own food and drink into the Café car. You also cannot drink any alcohol that you bring on board, either at your seat or in the Café car. However, you can drink alcoholic beverages in the Café car that are purchased in the Café car. 

What if I lose any of my possessions?

If your destination is staffed, be sure to check with them first. If not, remember your train number and date you traveled, and call 1-800-USA-RAIL.

Arrival

My final destination isn’t within walking distance of the train. What are my options?

You have several options. If you’re staying in a hotel, they may have a shuttle. If you’re staying with a friend, they may be able to pick you up. If you want to plan ahead, you can catch a bus. And once you arrive, you can call a taxi or a ridesharing service like Lyft. 

Can I bring my bike on the bus?

Most connecting buses can accommodate a limited number of bikes on a first-come, first-serve basis. You must load and unload your own bike, as on the train. For more information, read these bike tips from Orange County Transit Authority.


Amtrak, Surfliner, and Pacific Surfliner are registered service marks of the National Railroad Passengers Corporation and used with permission.
Fares, routes, schedules and services subject to change without notice.
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