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Kansas City to San Diego thru Fullerton rather than thru Los Angeles?


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#1 dcnbuchholz

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Posted 10 January 2018 - 08:43 AM

In a little less than a year I will be attending a conference in San Diego, departing from Kansas City. Having ridden the Southwest Chief many, many times (but never the Pacific Surfliner)...why would I want to go all the way into Los Angeles if the same train I would desire to take into San Diego comes right into Fullerton from Los Angeles?  The booking system doesn't allow for me to book Kansas City to Fullerton to San Diego...it always takes me into LAX for the connection.  I know that I can simply book each individual leg as a one way trip...which I will likely do...just curious as to why the system doesn't automatically connect thru Fullerton.

 

Connecting in Fullerton would really provide a nice cushion in case the SWC is running late. I plan to return the same way...thru Fullerton. Is there something I am not aware of?  Thanks for any help or information shared.



#2 brianpmcdonnell17

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Posted 10 January 2018 - 09:33 AM

Amtrak tends to route through major cities, but I would be surprised if they would not have someone get off in Fullerton if the connection would be made there but missed in Los Angeles due to lateness. Another case that is similar to this is between the Atlantic Coast trains and the Crescent/Cardinal, where transferring passengers are routed via Washington rather than Alexandria. I don't know why this occurs, but it may have to do with additional waiting areas and the presence of a sleeping car lounge. Also, if you decide to go via Fullerton, I would recommend buying a multi-city ticket, which may save money and/or create a guaranteed connection.
<p>Routes Travelled: CL WAS-CHI, Card. CHI-WAS, Caro. CLT-RGH, CS SEA-LAX, CZ CHI-RIC, Cre. BAL-ATL, EB SEA-CHI, ES NYG/NYP-NFL, LSL BOS/NYP-CHI, ML ALB-NYP, NER FBG-RVR+WAS-BOS, PS LAX-ANA, Pen. NYP-PGH, Pie. RGH-CLT, SM ORL-NYP, SS FTL-NYP

#3 ParanoidAndroid

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Posted 10 January 2018 - 09:48 AM

Amtrak tends to route through major cities, but I would be surprised if they would not have someone get off in Fullerton if the connection would be made there but missed in Los Angeles due to lateness. Another case that is similar to this is between the Atlantic Coast trains and the Crescent/Cardinal, where transferring passengers are routed via Washington rather than Alexandria. I don't know why this occurs, but it may have to do with additional waiting areas and the presence of a sleeping car lounge. Also, if you decide to go via Fullerton, I would recommend buying a multi-city ticket, which may save money and/or create a guaranteed connection.


Strange, because there's only 11 minutes between 50 and 19 at WAS, while there's almost an hour at ALX. I've also never heard of a multi-city ticket giving you a guaranteed connection. Luckily, the PacSurf coach class is unreserved, so you can take any train you want if you have a ticket for a train. So, for instance, if you want to be safe, you can take 777 or 579 instead of 583 (which is often late) to connect to train 4 (SWC) at FUL.

I have ridden Cascades #516 (SEA-STW), Coast Starlight #14 (LAX-SLO), Southwest Chief #4 (LAX-CHI), Cardinal #50 (CHI-NYP), Northeast Regional #85 (NYP-WAS), Capitol Limited #30 (HFY-WAS), Coast Starlight #14 (LAX-PDX), Coast Starlight #11 (SLO-LAX), and many Pacific Surfliners with Amtrak. I have observed, including the previous, California Zephyr #5 at SAC (lucky), what I guess to be Crescent #19 (at WAS) and Silver Meteor #97 (at WAS), Empire Builder #28 at PDX, and Sunset Limited #2/Texas Eagle #422 at LAX. I have also ridden the Hokutosei in Japan, Ueno - Sapporo (now discontinued).


#4 brianpmcdonnell17

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Posted 10 January 2018 - 10:07 AM

Amtrak tends to route through major cities, but I would be surprised if they would not have someone get off in Fullerton if the connection would be made there but missed in Los Angeles due to lateness. Another case that is similar to this is between the Atlantic Coast trains and the Crescent/Cardinal, where transferring passengers are routed via Washington rather than Alexandria. I don't know why this occurs, but it may have to do with additional waiting areas and the presence of a sleeping car lounge. Also, if you decide to go via Fullerton, I would recommend buying a multi-city ticket, which may save money and/or create a guaranteed connection.

Strange, because there's only 11 minutes between 50 and 19 at WAS, while there's almost an hour at ALX. I've also never heard of a multi-city ticket giving you a guaranteed connection. Luckily, the PacSurf coach class is unreserved, so you can take any train you want if you have a ticket for a train. So, for instance, if you want to be safe, you can take 777 or 579 instead of 583 (which is often late) to connect to train 4 (SWC) at FUL.
I wasn't referring to connections between the Crescent and Cardinal, but between either train and the Atlantic Coast trains. As to guaranteed connections on a multi-city ticket, I was told by an agent that a transfer is guaranteed if the connection is long enough for it to be available via one booking. It is even possible to link multiple different reservations, such as was done for me last week when transitioning from a rail pass to a multi-city segment.
<p>Routes Travelled: CL WAS-CHI, Card. CHI-WAS, Caro. CLT-RGH, CS SEA-LAX, CZ CHI-RIC, Cre. BAL-ATL, EB SEA-CHI, ES NYG/NYP-NFL, LSL BOS/NYP-CHI, ML ALB-NYP, NER FBG-RVR+WAS-BOS, PS LAX-ANA, Pen. NYP-PGH, Pie. RGH-CLT, SM ORL-NYP, SS FTL-NYP

#5 KmH

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Posted 10 January 2018 - 10:33 AM

Connections on a multi-city ticket that are part of the same reservation are guaranteed, as long as the time between trains satisfies Amtrak's guaranteed connection policies.

So 1 hour between connections outside the NEC.


Edited by KmH, 10 January 2018 - 10:34 AM.

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#6 greatcats

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Posted 10 January 2018 - 11:33 AM

In 2016 returning from San Diego to Flagstaff, the system gave me the option to transfer at Fullerton, at a slightly cheaper fare.


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#7 Bob Dylan

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Posted 10 January 2018 - 12:17 PM

I've made the Surfliner-#3/#4 Connection in Fullerton several times when visiting San Diego, both by choice and by necessity ( late Trains).

But now that LAX has the nice Metro Lounge, I generally board/detrain there instead of in Fullerton if riding #3/#4 and they are on time. ( becoming rare lately!)
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#8 Anderson

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Posted 10 January 2018 - 03:06 PM

Remind me...does FUL do checked baggage?  Also, Amtrak probably presumes that pax would generally rather transfer at the "big station" than at more commuter-ish station.


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#9 VentureForth

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Posted 10 January 2018 - 03:16 PM

I've done it both ways. I like lounging around in Fullerton, but you could find yourself with TOO much time to spare, though there is a nice kiosk with kiosky foods in the main station. However you do it, be sure to actually do what you're ticketed to do. If you book to LAX and get off at FUL, your PACSURF portion may get cancelled if they found you've not boarded. Much more critical going the other way, particularly if you have a sleeper from LAX.

FUL has great railfanning potential with BNSF trains plying almost constantly. But the biggest thing for me is seating. If you're not in business class (really, the ONLY business class worth paying for outside of Acela on the Amtrak system), Californians tend to seat hog, regardless of what the conductor says. Last time I was on the PacSurf, there were as many people standing as seats taken up by legs, bags, laptops, etc.

Another plus at LAX are the shops on Olivera street. A really good place to get good grub.

Just my 2¢. I'd love to go back there. I'm on the wrong side of the country now.

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#10 DoB

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Posted 10 January 2018 - 07:09 PM

Since Pacific Surfliner tickets are unreserved, your reservation can't be cancelled just because you didn't board your train in LAX, since your ticket is valid on any train.

The only issue I don't know for sure is whether a ticket from LAX would be considered valid for a trip starting at a later point. That wouldn't be a terribly logical restriction, but Amtrak's ticketing system isn't 100% logical.

#11 Adrouault

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Posted 10 January 2018 - 07:13 PM

On this morning's arrival into FUL, it was announced "those of you with connections to the Surfliner towards San Diego, you may detrain here and get directly on the surflner. If you have baggage, however, you are unable to retrieve it here, and must be picked up at LAX."

#12 Rumpled

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Posted 22 January 2018 - 06:24 PM

This is what Amtrak says about baggage at FUL - it's confusing.

https://www.amtrak.c...ations/ful.html

 

  • Checked baggage service available
  • No baggage assistance


#13 MikefromCrete

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Posted 22 January 2018 - 06:50 PM

 

This is what Amtrak says about baggage at FUL - it's confusing.

https://www.amtrak.c...ations/ful.html

 

  • Checked baggage service available
  • No baggage assistance

 

"No baggage assistance" probably means there is no Red Cap service. 



#14 Chas

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Posted 22 January 2018 - 08:41 PM

In a little less than a year I will be attending a conference in San Diego, departing from Kansas City. Having ridden the Southwest Chief many, many times (but never the Pacific Surfliner)...why would I want to go all the way into Los Angeles if the same train I would desire to take into San Diego comes right into Fullerton from Los Angeles?

Years ago, when I was booked Los Angeles > San Diego, a sleeping car attendant told me to just get off in Fullerton -- that I would save time in catching the next regional train south. And I did.
 
Now when booking a round trip, I book to from home to Los Angeles, but get off in Fullerton westbound. For the return trip, I go from San Diego into Los Angeles and board there. I just eat the price different to get the convenience. (I do this trip about every three years.)

Edited by the_traveler, 23 January 2018 - 09:19 AM.
Corrected quoting


#15 dcnbuchholz

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Posted 26 March 2018 - 03:57 PM

So let me clarify this...If I purchase the #3 KCY to FUL (scheduled to arrive in Fullerton at 6:44 AM).........and if I purchase the #564 FUL to SAN (departs Fullerton at 7:56 AM)..........but I miss the connection due to a late arrival into Fullerton, I can simply board the NEXT Pacific Surfliner(s)? The #566? The #768? Any train that travels south to San Diego on that day?

 

Living, working, and taking trains out of Kansas City...where the next train is always tomorrow (River Runner exception)...this sounds foreign to me.  Pacific Surfliner coach tickets are unreserved? What does that mean?  More riders than seats possible?


Edited by dcnbuchholz, 26 March 2018 - 03:58 PM.


#16 trainman74

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Posted 26 March 2018 - 04:49 PM

So let me clarify this...If I purchase the #3 KCY to FUL (scheduled to arrive in Fullerton at 6:44 AM).........and if I purchase the #564 FUL to SAN (departs Fullerton at 7:56 AM)..........but I miss the connection due to a late arrival into Fullerton, I can simply board the NEXT Pacific Surfliner(s)? The #566? The #768? Any train that travels south to San Diego on that day?


Yes, this is correct (assuming you have a coach ticket, not a business class ticket).

Living, working, and taking trains out of Kansas City...where the next train is always tomorrow (River Runner exception)...this sounds foreign to me.  Pacific Surfliner coach tickets are unreserved? What does that mean?  More riders than seats possible?


Correct, it is possible that there may be more people than coach seats on the train, although that's usually not an issue.

#17 calwatch

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Posted 27 March 2018 - 01:31 AM

Unless you go during Del Mar opening weekend, Comic-Con, or the Thanksgiving holiday, when the Surfliner is reserved, but those dates are usually announced well in advance. 



#18 seat38a

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Posted 27 March 2018 - 02:04 AM

So let me clarify this...If I purchase the #3 KCY to FUL (scheduled to arrive in Fullerton at 6:44 AM).........and if I purchase the #564 FUL to SAN (departs Fullerton at 7:56 AM)..........but I miss the connection due to a late arrival into Fullerton, I can simply board the NEXT Pacific Surfliner(s)? The #566? The #768? Any train that travels south to San Diego on that day?

 

Living, working, and taking trains out of Kansas City...where the next train is always tomorrow (River Runner exception)...this sounds foreign to me.  Pacific Surfliner coach tickets are unreserved? What does that mean?  More riders than seats possible?

Yes you can. Its one of the beauty of the Surfliner. If your traveling in Business Class you will need to call Amtrak and rebook since business class is reserved. With the addition of the second business class car, I'm not 100% sure if they are fully enforcing the rebooking but I've had conductors just let me board and lift the ticket from the later train or they just tell you to call Amtrak and have them change your reservation while your on the train. Worst case scenario you will have to sit in coach if business class is 100% full.

 

Conductors telling passengers on the SWC they can disembark at FUL if they are going to San Diego and the intermediate stations seems to be a common thing as other have pointed out above. Our conductor on train 3 made the same announcement.


Edited by seat38a, 27 March 2018 - 02:07 AM.





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