Pacific Surfliner/SWC trip

Discussion in 'Guest Forum for Amtrak Questions' started by Nembird, Jan 31, 2019.

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  1. Jan 31, 2019 #1

    Nembird

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    Nembird

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    Planning a second LD trip and hoping you all might be able to help me with a few questions.  We are going from San Diego to Kansas City.  Have the tickets booked (roomette on the SWC) but considering making changes on the Surfliner if anyone advises strongly one way or another on my questions. Here goes:

    Santa Fe Depot is five minutes further away then Old Town station according to my mapping programs.  We're going to have to Uber or Lyft a ride.  Between 8ish and 5ish miles depending on my choice of stations.   Right now we're on the 1:35 which gets us into LA  an hour and a half before the SWC leaves. 

    1.  Is anyone familiar enough with the stations and give me a recommendation about which station to depart from?  I don't really care too much unless we get there early and want to wander or get a good cup of coffee (I am obsessed).  Don't need to check bags, we're traveling fairly light. Although a place to leave bags if we got to the station several hours early if the place was worth the wander would be great.  I will have a backpack, my adult kid will have a duffle and a backpack.

    2. Any reason to be concerned with the 1 1/2 hour break in LA?   Or a reason to build more time in LA?  I know the Surfliner has a lot of trains during the day.

    BTW - you gave some great advice and stories responding a question asked about a year back.  We took a great trip on the CZ.   Enjoyed the scenery and the crew was super.   
     
  2. Jan 31, 2019 #2

    FrensicPic

    FrensicPic

    FrensicPic

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    Old Town just has open platforms for the trains (no shelter); the historic Santa Fe Depot you can get inside and coffee and other snacks should be available. I don't recall what (if any) food vendors are available at Old Town. Old Town does not have baggage storage, not sure about San Diego.

    At Los Angeles, since you are a sleeper passenger on the Chief, you will be able to make use of the Metropolitan Lounge. If you were to take an earlier Surfliner you would have more time to explore around LA Union Station if you'd like. You can leave you baggage in the Metropolitan Lounge.

    If you have not yet booked the trip, you could take the Surfliner to Fullerton and connect with the Chief there (that is the Chief's first stop out of LA). Doing that you would miss LA Union Station though.
     
  3. Jan 31, 2019 #3

    seat38a

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    seat38a

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    If you book your ticket SAN - MCI on one reservation, you will be fine since at that point its a guaranteed connection. Now if you buy each segment separately then you are taking a risk.

    Your train, 579 stops at both stations and unless you really want to get first dibs on seats, I guess you can board at Old Town. Not really sure there are good coffee around Santa Fe Depot. There is a Starbucks across the street but I'm guessing thats not what your meaning.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 31, 2019
  4. Jan 31, 2019 #4

    Bob Dylan

    Bob Dylan

    Bob Dylan

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    If your Surfliner is running Late let the Conductor know, you can catch the Chief in Fullerton if it leaves LAX before your Train gets there!

    I've had this happen several times,no problem!

    As for choice of Stations to catch your Train, I'd go with the Downtown Santa Fe Station. Lots to see and fo around there if you are waiting awhile!( the Light Rail stops right beside the Station!)
     
  5. Jan 31, 2019 #5

    Rasputin

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    Rasputin

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    That is great information and I agree with those recommendations.

    I wish I had understood the Fullerton connection better when I was going in the opposite direction - arriving at LAX on No. 3 and transferring to a Pacific Surfliner train for San Diego.  We were booked to arrive on No. 3 and leave LAX on No. 768 at 9:55 a.m.  As No. 3 was approaching Fullerton, the conductor made some announcement about detraining there and catching a train to San Diego.  I didn't fully understand the gist of the announcement so I did nothing.  I realized too late that we could have detrained at Fullerton and caught No. 564 at 7:23 a.m. We went all the way to LAX as planned but soon after arrival we did a cross platform transfer to No. 566 departing at 8:33 a.m. so we got to San Diego an hour or so before we were initially scheduled to get there.  Had we been smart and caught 564 at Fullerton we would have arrived in San Diego a couple hours earlier. 
     
  6. Jan 31, 2019 #6

    trainman74

    trainman74

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    There are a few full-service restaurants within a few blocks, but nothing right at the Old Town transit center.
     
  7. Feb 2, 2019 #7

    Nembird

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    Nembird

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    Thanks all for the feedback, especially about Fullerton.   We may be making this trip more than once (or from the other direction).  That is a great tip if I need or want to use it in the future.  Santa Fe Depot it'll be. 

    And  Seat28a - you nailed it, I'm more for independent coffee houses and local diners. Part of the fun of traveling for me.   
     
  8. Feb 2, 2019 #8

    Rasputin

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    Rasputin

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    That sounds like a great plan. The Santa Fe depot is a true historical and architectural gem.  Not to be missed.  

    I am not sure what happens if you board #4 at Fullerton instead of LA Union Station.  Does the failure to board at LAX when your reservation is to board there mean that your reservation is cancelled?  I have been told that it might and that you need to notify Amtrak that you intend to make this change.  Hopefully someone knows for sure.
     
  9. Feb 2, 2019 #9

    cpotisch

    cpotisch

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    It likely will be cancelled if you board later and they don't know, so DEFINITELY call and either have them modify your ticket or put a note in saying that's where you'll be boarding.
     
  10. Feb 6, 2019 #10

    Rasputin

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    Rasputin

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    If for instance you have a reservation to board No. 4 at LA Union Station and you notify Amtrak that you wish to board at Fullerton instead, will this be considered a cancellation of your existing reservation or a modification that will incur a fee? 
     
  11. Feb 6, 2019 #11

    cpotisch

    cpotisch

    cpotisch

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    Amtrak doesn't have a change fee, so there shouldn't be a fee by having them modify it.
     
  12. Feb 10, 2019 #12

    seat38a

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    seat38a

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    Actually, if you used a discount(Not sure any exists anymore) which required advance purchase, they will charge you the difference. Had this happen in the days of the AAA discounts.
     

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