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Coast Starlight Annulment (due to mudslidesJan 2018)?

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As I write sitting two blocks from the Santa Barbara station, I can hear the train horns.


I was booked for yesterday on 11 (9) from Sacramento to SBA. The day before my departure, I began noticing that train status was saying service disruption, although I never received any communication from Amtrak. I called the 800 number and was told it was sold out, which was what Amtrak.com was saying. No, I didn't say great; I already have my ticket! knowing that Amtrak doesn't always know the difference between canceled and sold out. When I suggested this, the agent was adamant that it was sold out.


Remembering it was an AGR reward trip, I called them. The agent agreed to check and came back with the report that a decision would be made later at 5:00PM. At this point the best option seemed to be a San Joaquin to Bakersfield and Ambus to SBA.


When I called back after five, the decision to truncate at Oakland had been made; and the SJ-bus option was now sold out. I didn't for a minute believe it was actually sold out. But my only choice was a Capitol Corridor to San Jose and a much longer bus ride.


Later, out of curiosity I checked availability for the SJ-bus option for the next day and day after. It is now listed as canceled, implying to me that the road from Bakersfield to SBA is also closed. Checking the schedule, I see that it calls at Oxnard, Ventura, and Carpenteria before reaching SBA. In other words it back tracks on the 101 (as Califorios would say). Ad an aside, Google maps shows the Bakersfield to Santa Barbara route to approach it from the north. Why not take the shorter route during the emergency?


Incidentally, the 101 is now projected to be opened Tuesday, five days after the rail line opened. The UP must run a lot of freight over the line. Or a more likely explanation is that the highway, which is inland and above the tracks acted as a damn, protecting them from the muck.

Highway 101 is sunk below grade, so it got the brunt of the muck (there's a reason they call it "The Bathtub" over there), thus lessening the rail line's exposure a lot.

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