Amtrak Coast Starlight title card
Amtrak Coast Starlight

The Amtrak Coast Starlight: A new passenger’s guide

The Amtrak Coast Starlight is a daily Amtrak long-distance train from Los Angeles, CA, to Seattle, WA, with many intermediate stops, including Portland, the San Fransico Bay Area, and Sacramento.

A quick view of the Coast Starlight

  • The train travels 1377 miles from end to end, taking under 37 hours (you do not need to book from end to end).
  • This train offers two different accommodation styles.
  • This train also has two food cars
    • The cafe car is open to all passengers.
    • The Coast Starlight offers a “traditional” dining car.
      • This car is prioritized for sleeping passengers, but some reservations are open for coach passengers.
  • This train does not have Wi-fi.
  • Smoking and vaping is not permitted on this or any Amtrak trains.

My favorite part of this train route is the southern section, where you can see the beauty of the Pacific Ocean as you travel.

What can you as traveling on the Amtrak Coast Starlight

The Amtrak Coast Starlight tasks you along the West Coast and offers you a marvelous Amtrak adventure!

Traveling on this train between Los Angeles and Seattle, you pass through Santa Barbara, the San Francisco Bay Area, Sacramento, and Portland. The Coast Starlight offers views from the snow-covered Cascade Range and Mount Shasta peaks to lush forests, fertile valleys, and long stretches of the Pacific Ocean shoreline.

A little something for everyone: if you take this train from start to finish, each day offers you something different.

Who owns the tracks Coast Starlights uses?

Since Amtrak does not own most of the tracks it runs on, it relies on other railroads to host these trains. Here is a list of who owns the tracks used by the Coast Starlight.

The Coast Starlight on-time performance.

Things can happen to any form of transportation that can cause delays, such as acts of God. Sometimes delays are caused by Amtrak, but delays to on-time performance are often due to the host railroads.

  • From January 2023-2024, the average “at station” on-time performance was 53.1%.
    • Late trains can make up some time along the route.
  • The major causes of delays due to host railroads include.
    • BNSF: freight and passenger train interference
    • UP: Signal delays and freight train interference
    • Metrolink: passenger train interference and signal delays
    • Sounder: passenger train interference

Information in the section comes from the Amtrak Host Railroad Report – January 2024.

Accommodations for the Coast Starlight

Find out what train accommodation works best for you; this train offers coach seating and sleeping accommodations.

Coach Class

  • Coach seating or class is an economical way to ride on this train for a few hours or overnight.
  • The seats in these cars feature comfortable and recline
  • Ample legroom
  • A fold-down tray
  • Individual reading lights
  • 120v grounded (three-prong) electric outlets.
  • There is also a foot and leg rests.
  • There is also luggage storage above your seat and a lower-level luggage rack.

Coach Starlight Coach Car Layout

Sleeper accommodations (Rooms)

What you get with your room

  • Fresh linens and towels
  • Showers
  • Traditional Dining
  • Station Lounge access in Portland, OR, and Los Angeles
  • Dedicated car attendant
  • Meals are included with your reservations
  • Coffee and juice station in the middle of the car’s upper level.
  • One upper restroom, with at least three on the lower level.
  • Curtains for privacy and block out light.
  • At least one outlet in the room
  • And more

Types of rooms you can get on the Coast Starlight

  • Roomettes
    • Smallest of the rooms
    • Rooms 1-10 are on the upper and 11-14 on the lower.
  • Bedroom
    • In-room bathroom and sink
    • Only found on the upper level
  • Accessible room
    • A room for people with mobility issues
    • Located on the lower level.
  • Family Bedroom
    • On the lower level
    • This room accommodates two adults and two small children.

Coast Starlight sleeping car layout

This is a typical sleeping car layout, but there is a chance, if you have a roomette, that you could have a room in a transitional dorm, aka a transdorm.

Trip add on’s

There are a few things you can add to this trip.

Bikes

  • Space is available for standard, full-size bicycles
    • Up to 50 lbs, 70 inches x 41 inches x 8.5 inches.
  • Amtrak stores bikes in designated bike racks/areas inside the baggage car (if available).

Pets and service animals on Amtrak

  • Amtrak allows dogs and cats up to 20 pounds.
    • The combined weight of the pet and carrier.
  • For trips up to seven hours.
  • You need paperwork to travel with your pet that needs to be filled out before boarding the train.
  • Get the latest info and the needed paperwork on the button below.

If you have a service or comfort animal, read Amtrak’s service animal policy for rules and booking instructions.

Luggage on the Coast Starlight

This train allows you to check or carry on your luggage. Checked baggage service may not be available at all station pairs.

Checked bags

  • Your first and last stations must offer checked bags for you to check them.
  • Each passenger can check two bags and allow two bags up to 50 lbs—75 linear inches.
  • Charges apply for additional and oversized luggage.
  • Limit of four checked bags per passenger.

Carry on luggage

Each passenger may carry on:

  • One personal item, 25 lbs. (12 kg) and 14 x 11 x 7 inches, and 
  • Two carry-on pieces of luggage, 50 lbs. (23 kg) and 28 x 22 x 14 inches each
  • If you transfer to the Pacific Surfliner at some point along your journey, the baggage size for that train is up to 28 x 22 x 11 inches each. 

Charges apply for additional and oversized luggage; check out Amtrak’s carry-on bag policy for more information.

Accessibility on the Coast Starlight.

Wheelchair ramps are available to assist passengers in boarding and detraining with a wheeled mobility device. The train offers lower-level seating or mobile device space in coach class and accessible bedrooms if you want a sleeping accommodation. There are no elevators to get between floors.

Food offerings on the Coast Starlight

There are two food cars on this train.

Cafe car

  • There is a cafe on the lower level of the Sightseer Lounge
    • The car is between the coach and dining cars in the middle of the train.
  • Features hot and cold meals
  • Snacks
  • Hot, cold, and adult beverages are for sale.
  • The car is available for all customers from early morning until late at night.
    • It does close during the day for breaks.
  • You can bring food and drink aboard the train.
    • Amtrak cannot store or heat your food.
    • You cannot consume the alcohol you bring on the train.

Dining car and traditional dining on the Coast Starlight

The meals are complimentary for customers with sleeping accommodations, but coach class passengers can snag one of the limited meal seating for a set price.

  • The Coast Starlight has traditional dining!
    • Which are chef-prepared meals with table service
  • Meals include breakfast, lunch, and a three-course dinner.
    • Selections for kids
  • Non-alcoholic drinks are included, with wine, beer, and spirits available for sale.
    • Your first drink at dinner is on Amtrak!
  • Sleeping passengers can have meals brought to their rooms.
  • Reservations may be open for coach passengers at a set meal price.

One of my favorite parts of having a sleeper is the dining car meals, for you get good food without having to pull the wallet out (but for tip)

DIRECTIONCITY SECTIONSDAY OF TRAVELMEALS OFFERED
#11 SouthboundSeattle, WA – Klamath Falls, OR1st dayLunch & Dinner
Dunsmuir, CA – Los Angeles, CA2nd dayBreakfast, Lunch, & Dinner
#14 NorthboundLos Angeles, CA – Sacramento, CA1st dayLunch & Dinner
Chico, CA – Seattle, WA2nd dayBreakfast, Lunch, & Dinner

Amtrak Coast Starlight Schedule

If the train does not list an Arrival and departure time, it is a shortstop, often at unstaffed stations. This train operates daily.

Train 11
Southbound
Communities ServedTrain 14
Northbound
Read DownDaily TrainMilesRead up
9:50aSeattle, WA
King Street Station (SEA)
07:51p
10:38aTacoma, WA (TAC)396:43p
11:19aOlympia-Lacey, WA (OLW)756:01p
11:43aCentralia, WA (CTL)945:36p
12:27pKelso-Longview, WA (KEL)1374:51p
1:10pVancouver, WA (VAN)1774:16p
1:50p | 2:22pPortland, OR *
Union Station (PDX)
1873:40p | 3:56p
3:39pSalem, OR (SLM)2392:04p
4:14pAlbany, OR (ALY)2671:23p
5:15pEugene-Springfield, OR
Amtrak Station (EUG)
31012:37p
8:13pChemult, OR (CMO) *4328:59a
9:58p | 10:08pKlamath Falls, OR (KFS) *5057:33a | 7:43a
12:45aDunsmuir, CA (DUN)6104:58a
2:31aRedding, CA –
Amtrak Station (RDD)
6653:05a
4:12aChico, CA (CIC)7391:37a
6:28a | 6:48aSacramento, CA
Sacramento Valley Station (SAC)
82411:49p
7:05aDavis, CA (DAV)83711:11p
7:54aMartinez, CA (MTZ)88110:26p
8:29a | 8:39aEmeryville, CA (EMY) *9089:31p | 9:41p
8:54a | 9:09aOakland, CA *
Jack London Square Station (OKJ)
9139:06p | 9:21p
10:14a | 10:26aSan Jose, CA
Diridon Station (SJC) (Caltrain)
9547:46p | 7:58p
12:06pSalinas, CA
Amtrak Station (SNS) *
10216:13p
1:57pPaso Robles, CA (PRB)11194:15p
3:24p | 3:37pSan Luis Obispo, CA
Amtrak Station (SLO)
11572:52p | 3:05p
6:19pSanta Barbara, CA (SBA)127412:14p | 12:21p
7:20p DOxnard, CA (OXN)131011:22a
8:02p DSimi Valley, CA (SIM)134110:49a R
8:36p DVan Nuys, CA (VNC)135810:18a R
8:44p DBurbank, CA (BUR)1363
9:11pLos Angeles, CA
Union Station (LAX)
13779:51a
Last StopStationsMilesRead Up
‘This chart is a guide; always check with the electric version of your tick for the most up-to-date times or consult the Amtrak website.

Abbreviations

R = Receive passengers only; this means you can board the train, but you cannot buy a ticket on this train to this station.

D = Depart only; you can buy a ticket to this station but not from this station.

* = Stations with Amtrak Connecting Services.

Printable Amtrak Coast Starlight Schedule

You can use the button below to print out the schedule or print it from Amtrak.com. If you are riding more than one train or want a customized schedule, those are offered too; learn how to print out Amtrak Schedules.


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Kevin Monteith

Kev Monteith has been traveling on Amtrak since 2012. With over a decade of experience, he has been on over 800 trains, covering over 200k miles of rail. Kev enjoys helping others achieve their travel dreams by providing support and information. Outside of travel, Kev enjoys making music as an organist and outings with family.

This Post Has 4 Comments

  1. Jennifer Fields

    Hi Kev,
    What does this mean exactly? R = Receive passengers only; this means you can board the train, but you cannot buy a ticket on this train to this station. If I have a ticket from LAX (union station) going to Seattle, can I get on in Burbank and not have someone drive me downtown? What will be different if we do?

    1. Receiving passengers only means that you can only book a ticket from that stop, not to that stop. In other words, going north, you can only board the train at that stop; you cannot book from LA to Burbank on this train.

      Amtrak does this if there are other train services in that area (either Amtrak or regional trains). Often these stops are also departing only if you go the other way. Amtrak does this to prevent long-distance trains from becoming commuter trains to keep seats open for passengers who want to go beyond that area.

      If you want to leave Burbank, you can; make sure you go to the right station for the Starlight, which is the Airport. If you want to do this, I would call Amtrak and change your ticket to make sure they cancel your reservation for not getting on in LA.

      I hope this helps; if you have other questions, contact me.
      Kev

  2. Bob

    Useful site! We just booked Roomette #10 for the Coastal Starlight Superliner northbound. I see it on a room map but can’t quite tell if this is west-facing (ocean view) on the northbound trip. It appears to be on the same side of the car as the bedrooms, which seemed to be facing west on a YouTube video I saw. Does that sound right?

    1. I am glad that my site could help you! To answer your question, If the bedroom side of the car is first, then yes, you are ocean-side. Though there is never a guarantee of what direction a car is, so keep that in mind. Happy planning and safe travels! Kev

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