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Coast Starlight

The route of Amtrak's Coast Starlight runs from Los Angeles to Seattle, through some of the most beautiful scenery in North America. Hugging the coastline for several sections of the journey, the Coast Starlight reveals a landscape often inaccessible to any other form of transport, offering unparalleled ocean views from the comfort of a comfortable Superliner train.

Our journey on the Coast Starlight begins in Los Angeles and ends in San Francisco, which includes arguably the most interesting and beautiful sections of the entire route. Beginning in the Spanish and Art Deco-style Union Station in Los Angeles, the train soon leaves the built up city centre, emerging through the urban sprawl to pass Forest Lawn Memorial Park, the cemetery where many famous celebrities are buried, including Walt Disney, Humphrey Bogart and Errol Flynn. One of the next points of interest is the city of Burbank, location of some of 'Hollywood's' biggest film studios, including Warner Brothers, Disney and Columbia.

Soon, the terrain becomes hillier as the train crosses the San Fernando Valley towards the Santa Susanna Mountains. After passing the Simi Hills and the Simi Valley, the Coast Starlight recalls the Pacific Ocean Coast at the town of Ventura. From here, the track turns north and the train hugs the coastline. The railway follows the same route as the Pacific Coast Highway, but provides a far superior view of the coastal scenery - golden beaches, rocky cliffs and the small islands of Santa Cruz and Santa Rosa.

The Coast Starlight stops at Santa Barbara before continuing its journey past the Point Conception Lighthouse and further north along the Pacific. The route takes the train across Vandenberg Air Force Base and beside the famous Pismo Beach, and then turns inland towards San Luis Obispo. After a short stay in the city, the Coast Starlight climbs over the Cuesta Pass, ascending 1,000ft in 11 miles to do so. Continuing through cattle-ranch country, the train passes Paso Robles and cross Salinas Valley and the Diablo Mountains to Salinas. The final stretch of the journey crosses the Santa Cruz Mountain Range, pausing in San Jose before finally reaching the amazing city of San Francisco.

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Rail Discoveries has more than three decades' experience providing outstanding rail holidays.

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