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San Diego Trains & Trolleys

Embrace the romance of rail travel

Travelers from along the West Coast and beyond can book a seat or berth on an Pacific Surfliner train and enjoy great coastal views and a relaxing ride. While in San Diego, you can also use the region's San Diego Trolley, SPRINTER and COASTER trains to explore the region by rail.

Ride the Red Trolley

If you're staying almost anywhere in central San Diego, the iconic, bright red San Diego Trolley will take you to numerous points around the city. The trolley provides convenient services from key locations downtown, including the Santa Fe Depot and the San Diego Convention Center, crisscrossing through downtown and out to locations such as Old Town, Mission Valley, El Cajon, Santee and San Ysidro, on the Mexican border. The new UC San Diego Blue Line Extension also expands service northward to Clairemont, the UCSD/La Jolla area and the Westfield UTC shopping center.

There are three trolley lines (Blue, Orange and Green) that service the downtown San Diego communities and beyond, covering 65 miles of double-track railway and 62 stations total. Trolley and bus adult fares are inexpensive and children 5 and under ride for free. Trolleys run an average of every 15 minutes — seven minutes during peak hours and 30 minutes at off-peak.

For current information on Bus and Trolley Service, visit the San Diego Metropolitan Transit System.

Old Town Trolley

Another fun way to travel to the main tourist areas of San Diego is on an Old Town Trolley Tour. The Trolley stops at 11 places including Old Town, Seaport Village, Gaslamp Quarter, Coronado, Little Italy and Balboa Park. You can either ride on the full two-hour narrated historic tour, or hop on and off at different stops throughout the day. They also offer and combination options with their land-and-water SEAL Tours.

Coastal Rail Rides

The Santa Fe Depot, located in downtown San Diego at Kettner and Broadway, is the main hub for Amtrak and the Coaster commuter rail, with train service from downtown San Diego to Oceanside and beyond. There are also plenty of connecting services from the Oceanside station, including the SPRINTER inland rail that travels east to Escondido.

Amtrak's Pacific Surfliner will take you along the beautiful coastline from San Diego to Solana Beach and Oceanside, and onward to Anaheim, Los Angeles, Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo and more destinations. (Note: Due to work on the rail line north of Oceanside, Pacific Surfliner service is suspended until November 2022.)

For Amtrak schedules and updates, visit Pacific Surfliner.

Hop on the Coaster

The North County Transit District's COASTER trains connect downtown San Diego and Old Town with coastal communities north of the city, including Solana Beach, Encinitas, Carlsbad and Oceanside. These trains offer visitors car-free access to some of the most charming beach communities in the region, as well as a relaxing ride with breathtaking coastal scenery. More than 20 trains run on weekdays, with additional service on weekends. The entire COASTER route from Oceanside to the Santa Fe Depot downtown takes about an hour. An adult round-trip fare from downtown San Diego to Oceanside is inexpensive and children 5 and under ride for free.

For COASTER schedules and information, visit the COASTER.

Take the Sprinter

The east-west SPRINTER light-rail train system connects Oceanside, Vista, San Marcos and Escondido. The 22-mile route runs along the state Route 78 corridor, serving 15 stations and running every 30 minutes. Adult one-way fares are inexpensive and children 5 and under ride free. A regional day pass, valid on the SPRINTER, Trolley and buses throughout the county, is also available.

For SPRINTER schedules and information, visit the SPRINTER.

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