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“Los Angeles to Portland”

Ranked #55 of 456 Transportation in California
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Owner description: This Amtrak route goes from Seattle, WA., to Los Angeles.
Reviewed October 10, 2012

We recently rode the Coast Starlight from LA to Portland and I have to say that we have no complaints. I was impressed on how efficiently they run these trains and to our surprise, the train arrived early to our destination.

We splurged a little bit and booked a roomette which is basically a closet sized room that fits two seats that turn into a bed and there is a bed that comes down from the ceiling. The room includes a coat hanging area, night lights, a small storage area, an AC hook up, and a fold out table. You have to use the communal bathrooms and there is one shower per car which is of good size with good water pressure. There are also larger bedrooms that sleeps more people that have a private bath and shower.

With the sleeper you get first class service. This includes a private parlor car with a bar, lounge and small dining area that is separate from the full service dining car. They also offer a complimentary wine tasting in the afternoon.

I have to give our car attendant Rene credit for doing a great job of taking car of everyone including keeping hot coffee on hand, clean bathrooms, and assisting in making up and down the rooms and most importantly the complimentary champagne. Also to Jose in the parlor car who also took care of us with his efficient service.

Food and prices are about what you'd expect. If you have a sleeper, your food is included in your fare. It's good, but not great. It's better than airline food by far and you have much more of a selection. The salads were good and I went with the Amtrak Signature for dinner which was a steak dinner. Overall, it kind of reminded me of what you get at the Soup Plantation. Although my wife did order the ribs which she thought were really good.

As for the route itself, the highlights are Oxnard to San Luis Obispo which traverses along the coast. In the morning you wake up to Mt. Shasta and later in the day you travel along a large valley and along Point Lookout Lake in Oregon.

I definitely would recommend trying this at least once, it's not meant for getting you somewhere fast, but for a leisurely trip where you can just sit back and relax.

5  Thank LBPurnell
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Amtrak O, Public Relations Manager at Amtrak Coast Starlight, responded to this reviewResponded October 25, 2012

Dear LBPurnell,
We're so happy to hear that you and your wife enjoyed your recent trip onboard the Coast Starlight. Your feedback is important to us, and we appreciate you taking the time to share more about your experience.

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Reviewed October 8, 2012

We'd tried to find reviews describing the Amtrak bus service using the Coast Starlight going northbound and couldn't find any recent info. We had concerns about available, affordable taxi service from Oakland or Emeryville. Loved the first 9 hours on the train but had to stop 7 times to make sure crossing gates were working correctly on Union Pacific tracks.With the train arriving more than an hour late into Oakland (10 PM?), the trip was dragging on a little too long. We just wanted to get to our hotel in San Francisco ASAP. Did not see any taxis outside the rather dark station and there was no signage how to find the Thruway bus from Oakland Station. We finally spotted the bus sitting in the lot beside the train- of course. Happy to say that we got efficient bus service into San Fran, well worth the additional few dollars fare. We did take a taxi the from the Financial District bus stop for the last 4 blocks of the journey, but the cost was minimal, we were tired and it was dark and cold. Hope this helps the next nervous travelers. Book the the Thruway bus!!

3  Thank Sharon K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Amtrak O, Public Relations Manager at Amtrak Coast Starlight, responded to this reviewResponded October 25, 2012

Dear Sharon K,
We're glad you enjoyed traveling with us via train and our thruway service. Thank you for sharing your experience with us, and we hope you choose to travel with us again in the future.

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Reviewed October 5, 2012

I recently completed a trip to Chemult, Oregon (just north of Klamath Falls, OR) on the Coast Sarlight from Los Angeles. Splurged and added the sleeper for comfort.

We ended up behind schedule after delays leaving LAX and a two hour sit in Sacramento waiting for connecting passengers on another train. I called my ride at Chemult ot say we were two and half hours behind, so no problems. I then heard over the train PA that there were passengers on board that were connecting with the Empire Builder out of Portland, OR. They were to be off-loaded in Eugene, OR and bussed to Portland to make their connectioin. So, there was some urgency to get to Eugene (further north than Chemult).

As we entered Chemult, we seemed to be traveling fairly quickly. By the time the engineer stopped the train, the sleeper cars were passed the small loading dock at Chemult. . My sleeper car attendant opened the door, looked out at the large rocks covering the railroad emankment and said "The conductor will have to move the train back to the platform so you can get off." She waved out the door at the conductor who, I believe, was outside at the end of the train. She then called using the lock-box phone to try to contact the conductor, but no luck. She then waved out the door opening again and yelled. She then turned to me and said that they may take off and I may have to go to Eugene. She tried calling again, but still no contact with the conductor. At that point she said "You have to get off here" and dropped a small stool out onto the rocks below. I jumped down the 2 to three feet to the stool and the attendant helpled me haul my suitcase out of the door and down the rock covered embankment to the dirt service road below. She said as she climbed the embankment, picked up her stool and pulled herself back in the door, "You should complain to Amtrak about this."

Offloading passengers in a fairly unsafe area, I am over 65 but not feeble, is certainly an issue. However, of more concern is the safety aspect of the conductor not having direct communication with attendants who are off-loading passengers. I found out later from the person picking me up that he was standing on the Chemult loading platform next to the conductor and heard him say that he was going to move the train back to the platform to let the sleeper car passengers off that were getting off. He then saw my sleeper attendant and me jumping out of the door.

I've written Amtrak regarding my concerns. Will see what happens. Other than that, I still really enjoy train travel.

4  Thank Jeff S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Amtrak O, Public Relations Manager at Amtrak Coast Starlight, responded to this reviewResponded October 15, 2012

Dear Jeff S,
Thank you for sharing your experience with us. We apologize for any inconvenience, and we greatly appreciate your feedback. We look forward to seeing you onboard again in the future.

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Reviewed September 30, 2012

My mother and I took the Coast Starlight from LA to Sacramento. Due to the length of the trip, and knowing it's often late, we got a roomette. This was a great choice. We had a separate seating area in LA, with red cap service to our precise train car. Our attendant, Sandy, was great. We ate both meals (lunch & dinner) in the Parlour car, having discovered that it was more spacious and relaxed than the dining car, although the menu was limited.

Having the roomette was great -- while it is a small space, it does provide privacy, and we got in a short nap before our middle of the night arrival in Sacramento. It also includes the meals, and various other amenities -- welcome champagne or sparkling apple juice, toiletries, coffee & juice, and the wonderfully helpful attendant. Our only disappointment was not being on the coast side of the train, so missing some of the lovely scenery (would love to know how to pick your side when reserving, if you're reading this Amtrak!). We mitigated that by having lunch in the Parlour car while going along part of the coast.

Will have to try it again, the rest of the way up to Seattle.

1  Thank Chris S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Amtrak O, Public Relations Manager at Amtrak Coast Starlight, responded to this reviewResponded October 4, 2012

Dear Chris S,
We're so happy to hear you and your mother had a great trip on the Coast Starlight. It sounds like you really enjoyed the views from the Parlour Car. Thank you for writing a review, and we can't wait to see you onboard again.

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Reviewed September 27, 2012

When planning our trip to Seattle to see a football game we thought about the Seattle traffic and parking and decided that since we had always wanted to take a train trip across the country that this would be a good way to try the train on a shorter route.
We all know that flying has become such a nightmare and taking the train was the exact opposite.
We were greated in Eugene Oregon by truly nice employees. Nobody treated us like potential criminals, no body searches, no charge for luggage. Wow, I am liking this already.
Taking the train isn't the fastest way to travel but it is probably the most stress free. The gentle chug chug chug was pretty soothing and really relaxing.
We took the Cascade to Seattle and it has wifi and we came back on the Coast Starlight and it had no wifi. That was kind of dissapointing.
The Coast Starlight was a much bigger train with sleeper cars, dining car and an observation deck. There is so much leg room and the seat has an ottoman of sorts so you can get pretty cozy.
I have heard that the train is never on time that it can be running hours late and that there can be a lot of delays but we got lucky I guess because we just clipped along and made every stop right on time.
The only clitch. There was an announcement that the hostess would come through the cars and take lunch reservations. We never saw her. Maybe we were in the bathroom, I don't know. We really wanted to eat in the dining car but settled for a microwaved burger that wasn't too bad, but I wanted to have the dining car experience.
I thought the train was comfortable, the employes very nice and it was so easy at all points. Traveling by train in our experience was a wonderful stress free way to travel.
Do I still want to go across the country by train? With a sleeper car definetly. It is not a fast way to travel but you actually get to see the country as you pass through it.

2  Thank cozette
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Amtrak O, Public Relations Manager at Amtrak Coast Starlight, responded to this reviewResponded October 1, 2012

Dear cozette,
We're so glad you enjoyed your recent Amtrak experience. We appreciate you sharing your experience with us, and we look forward to having you onboard in the future for a cross-country trip.

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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