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Recent on-time data for Coast Starlight and Sunset Limited

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Where do I find recent on-time performance data for the CS and SL? On our return trip from Seattle to Arizona on 11 CS we have a connection to 2 SL departing Los Angeles at 10 PM after a 9PM arrival on 11 CS. It is listed as our connection on the ticket, but it seems like it could be a close call, especially if the Coast Starlight is late at all. If the SL departs without us, do we get a bus ride to our destination (Maricopa AZ) instead? And since we have a roomette, is there a refund for the difference in value between a bus ride and a sleeper car?

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The connection between 11 and 2 at LAX appears to be in your favor. A year's worth of data shows the connection was missed 11 out of 154 possible connections, or 7%. It also seems that if the connection is close, they are willing to hold 2 for a little while to make the connection.

That being said, they may offer alternative transportation to your stop or house you until the next train. Knowing the SL only runs three times a a week, I doubt they'd house until the next time the train operates.  If they know in advance, they may even remove you from 11 in advance of LAX to intercept 2. 

 

If your accommodations changed due to a missed connection, they would refund the difference.

Edited by Thirdrail7

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9 minutes ago, Thirdrail7 said:

The connection between 11 and 2 at LAX appears to be in your favor. A year's worth of data shows the connection was missed 11 out of 154 possible connections, or 7%. It also seems that if the connection is close, they are willing to hold 2 for a little while to make the connection.

That being said, they may offer alternative transportation to your stop or house you until the next train. Knowing the SL only runs three times a a week, I doubt they'd house until the next time the train operates.  If they know in advance, they may even remove you from 11 in advance of LAX to intercept 2. 

 

If your accommodations changed due to a missed connection, they would refund the difference.

One time while inbound on a late #11, connecting passengers were de-trained at Santa Barbara and bused to Palm Springs to meet #2.

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4 minutes ago, FrensicPic said:

One time while inbound on a late #11, connecting passengers were de-trained at Santa Barbara and bused to Palm Springs to meet #2.

I'd hope not to get stuck in LA traffic if that were the case, and miss the connection to № 2, LOL!

Actually our inspiration to try this - our first LD train trip - is because a huge percentage of our last (auto) road trip to the Los Angeles area was spent sitting in those long ribbon-like parking lots they call freeways. We decided then to try ditching the car the next time we went to (or in this case through) Cali on vacation. 

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Thanks for the link to the juckins.net tool. I used it to check our outgoing connection between 1 SL and 14 CS, and it shows a slightly worse chance of making the connection for what is supposed to be a layover of more than four hours - SL's scheduled arrival is 5:35AM and CS's departure is not until 10:10AM, but the stats show a 9% missed connection rate!

What is it about the Sunset Limited that seems to cause substantial delays?

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6 hours ago, Thirdrail7 said:

 A lot can happen to your schedule on a 2000 mile trip!

Very good point. The CS is still about 70% of the distance of SL, but has a connection window that is less than 25% the size of the opposite direction, yet still has a similar connection rate. That was what surprised me.

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Well, there's an inland route via Tehachapi which is somewhat better suited for freight traffic than the Coast Line which makes it less likely to encounter operational delays on that section of track. There is no such parallel route for the Sunset Route, and as I'm sure many will attest, after leaving Los Angeles it serves the freight traffic of the (top 30) fifth largest (Phoenix) city in the country, whereupon at El Paso (#22) it splits (at Sierra Blanca, FWIW); the northern branch runs to the #9 & #15 largest cities (Dallas & Fort Worth) while the southern branch serves #7 (San Antonio) and #4 (Houston). And there is limited connectivity for freight along any realistic alternative route to the Pacific Coast for any of those cities; the most competitive being the former California Special spur off of the BNSF Transcon.

Compare to the Coast Starlight; again, once you leave L.A. you don't encounter a top 30 city until you hit San Jose (#10) and San Francisco (#13)...and the inland San Joaquin Valley parallel route serves both those destinations and is more suitable for freight. North of San Francisco you're mostly back to a single freight line (although BNSF's Bieber Route is available in the background), but the only top 30 cities are Portland (#26) and Seattle (#18)...and most rail freight in that region is heading east-west, not north-south. Small wonder that the Coast Line has better OTP than the Sunset Route!

Edited by ehbowen

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1 hour ago, ehbowen said:

Small wonder that the Coast Line has better OTP than the Sunset Route!

I knew there had to be a reason. Makes perfect sense!

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