Paso Robles (or El Paso del Robles, the official name of the city as lettering in the station and some Amtrak conductors even announce) is a station stop on the daily Coast Starlight Trains as well as on five daily Central Coast thruway bus connections that connect north to Capital Corridor trains and south to the Pacific Surfliner. The San Joaquin Central Coast bus route runs twice per day to that corridor, connecting in Hanford. The stop is located at the El Paso del Robles, North County Transportation Center. Local bus service in Paso Robles is provided by the Paso Express using minibuses on three routes that converge at the transit center. Regional bus service south (running about hourly, with connections to Grover Beach and even further to Guadalupe) to San Luis Obispo is provided by the RTA. Greyhound also stops twice a day per direction. Service to the station is quite recent with the Coast Starlight starting to stop only between October 1995 and April 1996. The address given of 1000 Spring Street is not anywhere near the railroad tracks today so I do not actually know where trains stopped. The transportation center as it exists today was completed in 1998. Thruway bus connections started serving the station sometime in the early '90s, stopping originally at the Trailways station located elsewhere.
Today's station consists of a long 6' high concrete platform where a California or Sufliner car with its automatic doors could easily stop and open all those doors up if a second, Coast Daylight trip between San Francisco (using Caltrain up the peninsula) and Los Angeles/San Diego ever materializes. The platform has the required tactile warning strip and a line of black lampposts that hold two lamps each. The signage is most unusual with just a few blue Paso Robles signs protruding perpendicular (not parallel) across the platform from these lampposts. Starting from the northern end, quite far from the nearest grade crossing almost two blocks away at 10 Street, there is first a modern more recently added brown wheelchair lift enclosure. Next is a small wooden structure that houses public restrooms. This is followed by the main transit center building, this is wooden housing the Wine Wrangler in its southern wing and local transit offices on its northern side, they have a quite well fenced around information/ticket window that is an independent agent selling Greyhound tickets. The middle area is the public area with a few benches for waiting passengers. The outside of the depot along the platform has a clock and the official name for the wine-growing region city, El Paso del Robles. Streetside this leads out to a traffic loop were the bus stops are. The planted middle of the traffic circle is where the name North County Transportation Center is claimed. The Amtrak Thruway stop is closest to the depot. Along the southern half of the platform is a single story building divided in two by an open passageway (providing a middle walkway to the train platform) that is home to a number of touristy wine related shops. This retail development is called the Historic Depot but I have no idea (but doubt) that the buildings are actually historic. The stations parking lot is on the other side of this retail mall.
All photos taken on 22 February, 2011
Last Updated: 25 March, 2011