Surf Beach as the station signs say (Lompac-Surf, CA as the timetable says) is the most remote station on the Amtrak California system but still receives its two trains per day. It was last Central Coast Station to open on the Surfliner and did in early (by May) 2000. The stop is at a historical location because it is where a branch runs inland from the coast route and to the town of Lompac. This line is still used by freight trains to serve local businesses today. The station directly serves the remote Surf Beach, located still in the grey of Vandenburg Air Force Base (according to Google maps, access roads with checkpoints into the base on either direction are about 3 miles away), eight miles from the small (41,000) City of Lopec where the three daily round-trip thruway buses that connect with the trains make their station stop. CA-1 (the Coast Highway) is not allowed along the coast here, running farther inland for 70 miles from Gaviota and Grover Beach. The easy (and only legal way unless military along Vandenberg AFB) to see the spectacular desolate coast is from the comfort of the two California Surfliners or the Coast Starlight. I did not step off at this remote station, didn't feel the need to spend a minimum (of doubling back on the run that turns around midday) of slightly over three hours here, although I hope surfers (the Surfliner can accommodate Surfboards in the bike racks) do utilize the train.
The station is accessed from the public Lasalle Canyon Road via a driveway into a small (Amtrak.com claims five short-term spots I think its a bit bigger) parking lot that doubles as the lot for the Surf beach. There is an outhouse in a corner of it away from the train station. It has simple fencing and in the middle of it there is a small shelter with a Metrolink TVM (wonder how long it would take to get the repairman here when it breaks or to get the money out) at the entrance to the short path out to the platform that directly overlooks the Pacific Ocean! This leads directly to a pedestrian grade crossing complete with lights and bells in the middle of the very long platform (that goes down to track level here) across the two tracks in the area of the station to the wild dunes of the Surf beach itself. The rest of the long platform has black lampposts, a low silver fence and three concrete enclosures with little pieces of glass inside them. Surf Station is engraved into their roofs. These enclosures each have built in benches along the platform but to reach the shelter portion one goes and sits inside without a view of the tracks. I believe these are designed that way to offer protection from the wind. There is also a wheelchair mini-high platform (unused by Amtrak), a mobile lift (used by the one train left with single-level equipment if a wheelchair passenger decides to visit the beach) left exposed to the elements and to rust in the sea air, and some exposed concrete built in benches beneath vertically oriented right signs that have the pointless arrow (some of the last installed it was replaced with todays 'wave' logo in late 2000), with Surf Beach California written beneath.
Photos 1-5 taken out the back door of the Coast Starlight on 19 February, 2012, 6-12 from the doors of Surfliner train #774 on 23 February, 2012
Last Updated: 29 March, 2011