Grover Beach opened on November 10, 1996 and was the first intermediate stop to open that the then one daily (the second was added in 2004) extended San Diegan (the previous name of the Pacific Surfliner until 2000) round-trip train made between Santa Barbara and San Lois Obispo. The station opened with a huge bang with the 1996 Olympic torch train coming into the station with the first San Diegan to stop (Anita Shower, Grover BeachGoogle Books Preview). The Coast Starlight passes through the station but has never in its forty year existence under Amtrak made any intermediate stops between Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo. The stop serves the seaside community south of San Lois Obispo that is a less than an hour bus ride on a RTA Regional bus. The stop also receives thruway bus service to Santa Barbara to the three additional Surfliner trains that terminate and originate there. It also receives two more bus round-trips per day that go up to Paso Robles and across to Hanford to connect to San Joaquin trains. These buses stop at the little shelter in the small parking lot just south of the Station Grill, on the opposite side of the train tracks from the rail platform. Blue signs direct passengers to the respective boarding area (the street that crosses Grand Avenue and becomes this driveway is 2nd Street).
The station consists of a standard California low-level platform for level boarding with there California Cars. It was built with a tactile warning strip and is narrow enough that the additional yellow line (mind those wide freight trains) is basically in the middle of the platform. The platform is along two tracks (the opposite one a siding). This platform begins with its northern end at the sidewalk of Grand Avenue. There is first a landscaped plaza along the platform before the main shelter is reached, in this plaza facing the corner of Grand Avenue and Pacific Blvd/Cabrillo Highway (CA-1) is the Welcome to Grover Beach sign. This large shelter (that feels really like a building with fully closed walls) has four benches, windows, brochure racks and even a glass information panel with some historical photos thumbnailed inside (and invitation to celebrate the stations 10th anniversary in 2006). It has a gabled wooden roof. There is also a Metrolink ticket machine to issue Amtrak tickets (every Surfliner station has at least one). The station is dedicated to Luther Boller (1910 to 2001), a volunteer assistant at the Grover Beach Train Station a plaque discloses. The shelter has a wooden gabled roof and is fully exposed at its end out to the platform and in its middle has an entrance up a few steps from the station's small parking lot. The four small wall sections even have windows. A line of large stucco pillars holds up the portion of the shelter that leads out to the platform. Along the platform these pillars hold up a wooden grid that provides some shade (but not weather) protection to passengers boarding trains. The middle of the shelter has Grover Beach lettered on each side with 150 (its address) on the non-platform side. Streetside the depot leads to a small 30 space parking lot between the tracks and Pacific Blvd/Cabrillo Highway (CA-1). On the southern end of the lot is a small building home to the Chamber of Commerce and public restrooms.
The platform extends south from here with a Metrolink-style wheelchair high-platform for level boarding in the middle of it. There is also an open to the air mobile-lift in its own fenced off from the actual platform fence. The platform is long enough that the Coast Starlight could platform all of its ten cars at once. There is a dense grove of trees between the platform, Pacific Blvd and the ocean beyond. The only other noticable feature towards the southern end are two name signs in the same columns holding up an oval sign that reads Grover Beach California beneath a pointless arrow (Surf and Guadalupe have them too). One of these faces the parking lot as well and this side says Amtrak Patron Parking. A similar sign marks the entrance to the parking lot except with the pointless arrow Amtrak logo, Station with an arrow in white written on red beneath and to call for train information.
All photos taken on 16 February, 2012
Last Updated: 29 March, 2011