I want to go to LA on the weekend. I am a student and so I wanted to try out the most economical way to travel. I know the bus is one of the cheapest ways, but the problem is sleep, since the journey is pretty long. Are there any trains available from SFO on Friday night, which reaches LA on Saturday morning and then from LA to SFO on Sunday night?

I am trying to find that on Google but unable to find anything. So, I need some suggestions.

  • There is one train per day from the SF East Bay (Emeryville and Oakland) to LA, and vice versa. Try www.amtrak.com. – Andrew Lazarus Oct 30 '17 at 1:56
  • @AndrewLazarus the train you mention leaves in the morning and arrives at 9:00 in the evening, so the answer to the question is no. – phoog Oct 30 '17 at 2:01
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    Highly related: San Francisco to Los Angeles: bus or plane? – choster Oct 30 '17 at 2:48
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    @ZachLipton this only makes sense for tourists who want to save on hotel rooms (which are also ridiculously expensive here in Bay Area). Most SFO-LAX flights with advance purchase are way cheaper than that; I've seen fares as low as $40 for one way. – George Y. Oct 30 '17 at 4:34
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    Flying is the cheapest. Don't bother taking a bus or a train. – JonathanReez Oct 30 '17 at 8:02

According to the schedule, the only train leaving the San Francisco Bay area for Los Angeles is the daily Coast Starlight. It is indeed a night train, but the overnight portion of the southbound journey covers southern Oregon and northern California. It leaves Oakland at 8:50 in the morning and arrives in Los Angeles at 9:00 in the evening. Therefore:

Are there any trains available from SFO on Friday night which reaches LA on Saturday morning and then from LA to SFO on Sunday night?


The schedule linked above is the Pacific Surfliner schedule, because it covers more service, including several "thruway" services, operated by bus, which are denoted with a bus icon and shaded green in the timetable. The Coast Starlight schedule may also be of interest, but doesn't help in your quest for a night rail service between San Francisco and Los Angeles.

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    It's often late, but not late enough to help the OP. – Andrew Lazarus Oct 30 '17 at 2:07
  • Note that a one way sleeper there is $180 which is twice more than a roundtrip flight on Spirit, and more than the majority of roundtip flights between Bay Area and LAX. – George Y. Oct 30 '17 at 4:32

I know you asked for trains, ruling out buses already, but there is an overnight bus service that will take you from SFO and drop you off in Santa Monica. That option is www.ridecabin.com. A round trip next weekend would cost about $230, a little more than most airplanes, but still less than the train phoog mentioned. It's possibly more comfortable too, considering the lack of comfort on airplanes these days. Friday and Sunday are their most expensive since most people want to do the same thing as you.

The only other economical option that I know of is to fly.

I don't work for ridecabin, and I have never tried them before. I did read an article about it recently that I remembered when I saw your question.

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  • If you book far enough in advance the train won't cost more than $53 each way for a coach seat. – phoog Oct 30 '17 at 5:09

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