News & Reviews News Wire Amtrak ‘Surfliner’ service still suspended as California fires rage NEWSWIRE

Amtrak ‘Surfliner’ service still suspended as California fires rage NEWSWIRE

By Angela Cotey | December 14, 2017

| Last updated on November 3, 2020

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Amtrak No. 454 rolls a ‘Pacific Surfliner’ by the Thomas Fire at Emma Wood State Beach near Ventura before service was suspended north of Oxnard on Dec. 7.
Alex Gillman
LOS ANGELES – Wildfires in Southern California continue to disrupt Amtrak Pacific Surfliner service between Oxnard and San Luis Obispo on the Union Pacific Coast Line. At least six large fires are burning across the region, including the Thomas Fire, which as of Wednesday night had torched 238,000 acres, making it the fifth largest fire in state history.

Due to the fire’s proximity to the Coast Line, Amtrak has suspended or reduced all Pacific Surfliner service north of Oxnard since Dec. 7. On Wednesday evening, Amtrak officials said it was unclear when the route would reopen. “We will resume regular service north of Oxnard as soon as it is safe to do so for both passengers and Amtrak staff,” officials says.

Dry weather and stiff winds have fanned the flames through what is traditionally the state’s rainy season.

For service updates, go to

4 thoughts on “Amtrak ‘Surfliner’ service still suspended as California fires rage NEWSWIRE

  1. I live in Santa Barbara, and the air has been unhealthful. Thick smoke and campfire smells allover town. Most people are wearing masks. Until this morning (Saturday, 12/16), the smoke had abated, but the Sundowner Winds (a localized cousin to the regional Santa Anas) flared up this morning, Most of Montecito north of the freeway and UP are evacuated (although the fires are about a mile north of there). Here’s a map (but use the links on it for up to date coverage):

    On Tuesday, five days after the fire had burnt the hills between Ventura and Carpinteria and crossed the freeway in two places, I saw the UP Oil Cans local (from San Ardo) heading south. I might have heard another train. I have been inside most of the time since the fire started on December 4. Yesterday Amtrak announced they were going to resume service today. I believe they did. All service north of Oxnard and south of San Jose was cancelled. Connecting buses to the Capitol Corridor trains in San Jose and the San Joaquins in Bakersfield were not affected.

    Surprisingly while the services were suspended, I was attempted to help a friend book tickets on the Coast Starlight. We were able to book tickets in Wednesday for Friday’s departure. However, on Thursday he called and was given a full refund, as all alternatives, i.e. connecting buses to the San Joaquins and north up the Valley to Oakland, were sold out. Why then did Amtrak sell tickets without knowing they could fulfill them? He was told is was an air quality issue. I can accept this with respect to the five minute stop while the train is in Santa Barbara. For the rest of the area, the train is closed to the outside, and no one should be effected. I don;t blame UP, they had already restored service.

    Back to the fire: it is now the third largest at 260,000 acres in CA firefighting history dating back to 1932 (when reliable record keeping started). It is 40% contained, and they do not expect full containment until after Christmas. it has not rained in Santa Barbara since September 3, which was a fluke. Search the internet for “microburst” or “microflash storm”.

  2. The Coast Starlight seems to be either, canceled altogether, running North of San Luis Obispo, or running North of Martinez. My cousin got on 14 Sunday at San Jose (nearly 2 hours late) and arrived in Klamath Falls 4 hours late. Then, yesterday, after visiting friends, got on 14 at Klamath Falls more or less on time, sat there for an hour, and ran late until the schedule padding came into play and arrived in Seattle early.

    But, I drove up 101 Friday, and things didn’t look good in the Ventura to Santa Barbara area. Lots of smoke, and several burned areas where the fire had previously jumped the highway and tracks. I understand there’s been more since then.

    The winds and offshore flow are expected to ebb by tomorrow, so perhaps the siege is finally coming to an end.

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