Amtrak is Taking 25% Off Fares on Pacific Surfliner Route – San Diego to San Luis Obispo

Trains don’t get a ton of positive press in the US. For most Americans they are just too slow. We like fast.

Well if you are like me, you also like cheap. Amtrak is trying to sweeten the offering for their Southern California Surfliner route.



Amtrak’s Pacific Surfliner train runs from San Luis Obispo to San Diego. If you come along for the entire route, it will take about 8 hours to cover 350 miles. Honestly if you account for L.A. traffic, it really isn’t a bad trade-off for driving. (about $45 one-way, full 8 hr route, during promo)


Pacific Surfliner route shown with stops (stations)


With 27 stops in total, you can reach many of Southern California’s POI’s. One worth noting is Burbank’s Bob Hope airport station, which is walking distance to the terminal. Trains on this route hit speeds up to 90 MPH but average only 41MPH overall, according to Wikipedia.

Train numbers

South-bound trains will have an EVEN train number while north-bound gets an ODD designation. If downtown San Diego is your final stop, you’ll arrive at the Santa Fe Depot station. From there you can walk 1/4 mile to the harbor, walk a few hundred feet to catch the MTS light-rail, or cross the street and snag the 992 bus for a 5 minute ride to the airport.

If you are heading south of the border to Tijuana, catch the MTS blue line to San Ysidro, just 200′ due East from the Santa Fe Depot Amtrak station. Look for the “American Plaza” station, just make sure to pay before boarding.


25% discount applied to both coach and business class seat


As you can see, a one-way from Irvine, CA to San Diego Santa Fe Depot station will run you $18.00. Not bad for a nearly 2 hour ride. Baggage allowance is VERY generous! You can bring two personal items and two carry on items, each weighing 25 lbs and 50 lbs respectively. That means you can technically haul 150 lbs with you! Did I mention free WiFi on-board?

If you live in Irvine and need to catch a flight out of San Diego, you’d pay $18.00 to get to the Santa Fe Depot station. Then, hop on the 992 bus to San Diego Airport for $2.25. You’d be able to bring along 150 lbs of stuff, though getting that on your flight is another story!


You MUST book via this link. Once you get to the promo page (and confirm the blackout dates), click “book now” in the top right.


The real reason Amtrak is offering this discount is because they will be periodically doing maintenance to this line. On some weekend days, for example, the last three stations near San Diego will shut-down. What they will do is take you to your final stop via a coach (bus). You can check the status of a train, here.




Santa Fe Depot station in downtown San Diego



Amtrak does allow this promo to be applied on thruway routes. That means you can catch a bus from A to B, then take the Surfliner train from B to C.

Check out this option from San Jose, CA to San Diego for $51!


San Jose to San Diego – $51 one-way


Now, this is CERTAINLY not the fastest mode of transportation at over 12 hours total. If you don’t want to drive or you find flights are too expensive, this may be a good option. Plus, who doesn’t love the beautiful coastal hills of California?

As previously noted, baggage allowance is better than flying. (minus Southwest which allows two free checked bags). Amtrak trains will also have individual 120v outlets so you can keep a laptop or tablet fully charged!



Fine Print:

  • Exclusively available on via (reference booking link above for 25% discount)
  • Valid for 25% off the regular (full) adult rail fare.
  • Valid for sale January 9 – December 18, 2017.
  • Blackout dates:
    – February 17 and 20, 2017
    – April 13 – 14 and 17, 2017
    – May 26 and 29, 2017
    – September 1 and 4, 2017
    – October 9, 2017
    – November 21 – 22 and 25 – 27, 2017
  • Advance reservations are required a minimum of three (3) days prior to travel.
  • Valid for travel January 12, 2017 – December 21, 2017.
  • Valid for travel on the Pacific Surfliner and associated Thruways, except not valid on the 7000-8999 Thruway series.
  • Up to two (2) children (ages 2 – 12) may accompany each adult at half the regular (full) adult rail fare.
  • Children and infants must travel with an adult who is 18 years or older.
  • Valid for Coach seats; upgrades to Business Class accommodations are available upon full payment of applicable accommodation charges.
  • Seating is limited; seats may not be available on all trains at all times.

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