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    Message Regarding Pacific Surfliner Response to Santa Barbara Mudslides

    A few weeks ago, a devastating mudslide struck the community of Montecito, just south of Santa Barbara, resulting in numerous fatalities, as well as the closure of Highway 101 and the adjacent railroad tracks between Carpinteria and Santa Barbara. Thanks to the efforts of emergency workers and crews from Union Pacific Railroad, who worked around the clock to clear debris, we were able to resume Pacific Surfliner service between Oxnard and Santa Barbara starting on Thursday, January 11, 2018.

    During the prolonged closure of Highway 101, the Pacific Surfliner served as the only viable ground transportation option between Ventura and Santa Barbara counties. Highway 101 reopened on Sunday, January 21, with critical cleanup and repair efforts continuing, such as clearing the drainage system, replacing guardrails and more.

    While the freeway was closed, there was extremely high demand for Pacific Surfliner service between Ventura and Santa Barbara counties, with demand exceeding available seating capacity on many trains, resulting in standing room only conditions. In response, the LOSSAN Rail Corridor Agency, working in close coordination with Amtrak, took a number of steps to help increase seating capacity on Pacific Surfliner trains serving Santa Barbara County.

    Upon resuming service, the LOSSAN Agency worked with Amtrak to immediately add capacity to select trains serving Santa Barbara using extra railcars available locally in Los Angeles. At the same time, we reached out to the California State Transportation Agency (CalSTA) and our partners at the two other state-supported Amtrak routes in northern California in hopes of securing additional railcars and locomotives to supplement existing Pacific Surfliner equipment. On Saturday, January 13, eight additional railcars and three locomotives from the Capitol Corridor and San Joaquins routes arrived in Los Angeles. I would like to express my appreciation to the San Joaquins and Capitol Corridor joint powers authorities, as well as CalSTA, for their efforts to make these additional resources available, as well as the Amtrak team who has and is continuing to work tirelessly to prepare and operate the expanded Pacific Surfliner trains.

    Beginning on Sunday, January 14, we used the additional northern California equipment to add an extra two to three cars and a second locomotive to each of our six-car Pacific Surfliner “700-series” trains operating north of Los Angeles, resulting in an extra 150-270 extra seats on each of the 10 daily trains serving Santa Barbara, or more than 2,000 additional seats per day.

    Pacific Surfliner trains continue to operate between Ventura and Santa Barbara counties making all scheduled stops, including Oxnard, Ventura, Carpinteria, Santa Barbara and Goleta. Ongoing delays are likely as trains travel through the affected areas due to emergency personnel working on or near the railroad and continued cleanup efforts. Our hearts go out to all those affected by the mudslides, and I would like to thank our passengers for their patience and understanding during this difficult time as we continue to work with our community partners to support relief efforts and provide transportation to those impacted by this tragic situation.

    To view schedules and book travel, visit pacificsurfliner.com. For service updates, follow @PacSurfliners on Twitter, use the train status feature on the Amtrak app, or call 800-USA-RAIL.

    Jennifer L. Bergener
    Managing Director, LOSSAN Rail Corridor Agency


    Frequently Asked Questions

    Updated January 22, 2018

    Our hearts go out to all those affected by the recent mudslides in Santa Barbara County. Thank you for your patience and understanding as we make every effort to support relief efforts during this difficult time.

    We’ve received many questions from riders about train service in the area, and have tried our best to answer some of the most common questions below. Please feel free to reach out to us on Twitter or Facebook. You can also call 800-USA-RAIL to speak with an Amtrak agent.

    How is service affected?
    Pacific Surfliner trains are continuing to operate between Ventura and Santa Barbara counties, making all scheduled stops, including Oxnard, Ventura, Carpinteria, Santa Barbara and Goleta. Ongoing delays are likely as trains travel through the affected areas due to emergency personnel working on or near the railroad and continued cleanup efforts.

    Why are the trains so busy? What is being done to accommodate the demand?
    The US 101 re-opened on January 21 following a prolonged closure. While the freeway was closed, the Pacific Surfliner served as the only viable ground transportation option between Ventura and Santa Barbara counties. There has been an extremely high demand for service on our 10 daily trains between Ventura and Santa Barbara counties. We’ve increased capacity on all our trains serving Santa Barbara County by adding 15 extra railcars that are providing more than 2,000 additional seats per day, using both equipment that was available locally in Los Angeles, as well as additional railcars and locomotives that were sent from northern California. More details are available in the message from our managing director at the top of this page.

    Why can’t you run more trains?
    We’ve worked with Amtrak, Union Pacific Railroad and Metrolink to review options for providing additional service to Ventura and Santa Barbara as relief efforts continue. With cleanup efforts having advanced, and emergency work shifting away from cleared areas of the tracks, we were able to temporarily run one additional round-trip between Los Angeles and Santa Barbara. These two trains operated through Tuesday, January 23, 2018.

    Is Amtrak Thruway bus service affected?
    All Amtrak Thruway bus service is operating according to the schedule now that the US 101 has reopened.

    Is the Amtrak Coast Starlight an option?
    The Coast Starlight, a long-distance Amtrak train, normally stops in Oxnard and Santa Barbara on its way to the Bay Area, Portland and Seattle. The Coast Starlight made additional stops at Ventura, Carpinteria and Goleta to assist with high passenger demand in the area through Monday, January 22.

    Are discounts available?
    Unfortunately, we are not able to offer a new discount at this time. All of our approved discounts are available here: pacificsurfliner.com/discounts A 10-trip ticket is also an option, providing a discount of up to 30% on 10 one-way trips (or five round-trips) between two stations. You can purchase a 10-trip ticket here: tickets.amtrak.com/itd/amtrak/multiride

    Am I guaranteed to ride the Pacific Surfliner with an Unreserved Coach ticket?
    We are working closely with Amtrak to do what we can to ensure everyone with a valid ticket is able to board the train. This includes closing ticket sales at a certain threshold and increasing capacity whenever possible. However, because of the nature of Unreserved Coach tickets, which allow passengers to board any train within the station limits of their ticket, sometimes the seating capacity may be exceeded. If the train becomes too full, additional passengers will not be allowed to board, and will be asked to wait for the next available train. Unreserved tickets may be used on any Pacific Surfliner train within the station pair on your ticket up to one year from the purchase date. 

    Am I guaranteed to ride the Pacific Surfliner with a Business Class reservation?
    Yes, Business Class reservations are different from Unreserved tickets, in that your seat is guaranteed for the specific train you booked your ticket for. If you need to change your reservation to a different train, you can attempt to do so by calling 800-USA-RAIL before your trip begins. Please note that Business Class tickets have been selling very quickly, so we’d encourage you to book your tickets and/or change your reservation as soon as possible. The Business Class car will be the first car on the northernmost end of the train.

    Can I bring luggage with me on the train?
    Due to the high number of passengers traveling through Santa Barbara County, there will be no checked baggage service to/from the Oxnard and Santa Barbara Stations until Wednesday, January 24. You may bring up to two carry-on bags and two personal items onboard the train per the baggage policy. However, please note that trains have been busy through Santa Barbara County – space to store luggage may be extremely limited. We’d ask that you please try to bring only what you need during this time.

    How old does a child/teenager need to be to travel without an adult?
    Normally, children between the ages of 13 and 15 may travel unaccompanied in accordance to Amtrak’s Unaccompanied Minors policy. However, due to the high number of passengers traveling through Santa Barbara County, this policy is suspended until further notice between Oxnard and Santa Barbara. Those 15 and younger cannot ride without an adult.

    What other transportation is available in the area?
    Santa Barbara MTD offered free Last Mile Shuttles serving the Santa Barbara and Goleta train stations on weekdays through Tuesday, January 23. While the special service has ended, Pacific Surfliner passengers can still board the electric shuttles and other Santa Barbara MTD buses in the area for free upon showing their valid train ticket to the driver.

    Where can I get more information?
    Please continue to follow our updates on Twitter @PacSurfliners for train service information, as we're posting information as it becomes available. Emergency information for the County of Santa Barbara can be found here: countyofsb.org

     

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