Infobox rail line
name = COASTER
Manager = Lane Fernandes

image_width = 200px
caption =
type = Regional rail
system =
status =
locale = San Diego County, California, United States
start = Oceanside
end = San Diego
stations = 8
ridership = 6,000 (2006)
open = February 27, 1995
close =
owner = North County Transit District
operator = TransitAmerica
character =
stock =
linelength = convert|41|mi|km|abbr=on
tracklength =
notrack =
gauge = RailGauge|sg
el =
speed =
elevation =

infobox rdt|COASTER|

The San Diego Coast Express Rail, or COASTER, is a regional rail service that operates in the Central and Northern coastal regions of San Diego County, California, United States. Lane Fernandes is currently the manager of the coaster. The service is operated by TransitAmerica on contract with North County Transit District (NCTD). The service has eight stops, in San Diego, Solana Beach, Encinitas, Carlsbad, and Oceanside. Service operates primarily during weekday peak periods, but limited weekday midday, Friday evening, and Saturday service also exist. Special evening service is provided when the San Diego Padres play Monday-Thursday evening home games.


San Diego Northern Railway (SDNR) purchased the tracks used by Coaster from the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway in 1994. NCTD created the subsidiary San Diego Northern Railway Corporation in 1994 and dissolved it in 2002. [ [] ] Revenue Coaster service began February 27, 1995. Money for right-of-way acquisition and construction costs came from TransNet, a 1987 measure that imposed a 0.5% sales tax on San Diego County residents for transportation projects. NCTD originally contracted Amtrak to provide personnel for Coaster trains. On July 1, 2006, TransitAmerica took over the day-to-day operation of the commuter train, based on a five-year, USD 45 million contract with SDNR. TransitAmerica is a subsidiary of Missouri-based Herzog Transit Services.

The Coaster carried 700,000 passengers during its first year of operation. By 2004, it was carrying 1.4 million passengers annually. Approximately 40% of weekday commuters detrain at Sorrento Valley. NCTD owns convert|62|mi|km|abbr=on of mainline track, as well as the convert|22|mi|km|abbr=on Escondido Branch that is served by the Sprinter that has began serivce in March 2008. The Coaster commuter train runs on convert|41.1|mi|km|abbr=on of the mainline.

NCTD maintains two rail yards. One is shared with the San Diego Trolley at 12th & Imperial in Centre City San Diego. It is used to store trainsets during the midday. The other, located north of Oceanside at Stuart Mesa on Camp Pendleton, is shared with Metrolink. This is where the main maintenance facility is located.

tation stops

There has been revived interest in rebuilding the station at Del Mar to serve the racetrack and fairgrounds. [cite news
last=St John
title=SANDAG Board to Explore Viability of Del Mar Track Train Station
url =;id=11166
accessdate = 2008-08-03
language =


The cost of Coaster tickets is based upon the number of zones traveled (see map). Tickets must be purchased before boarding, and will occasionally be checked by roving fare inspectors (often between the Solana Beach and Sorrento Valley stations). Discounted ten-ride tickets and monthly passes are available. Seniors, the disabled, and youth discounts are also available. All tickets and passes include transfer agreements with regular NCTD buses (the "Breeze") and Metropolitan Transit System (MTS) buses and Trolleys. Coaster and Amtrak also have a Rail 2 Rail program that permits Coaster monthly pass holders and Amtrak ticket holders to use either service within the area covered by their pass or ticket. As of July 2008, regular one-way fares are as follows: [ [ Coaster Fares] ]

*Within one zone: $4.50
*Within two zones: $5.00
*Within three zones: $5.50
*Within four zones: $6.00

While tickets are not checked on all trips, penalties for riding the Coaster without a valid ticket include a penalty fare of up to $250. Riders cannot purchase tickets onboard the train. Monthly passes are available for between $129.00 to $168.00.


Most trains run with 5 coaches.

As of July 2008, a 6th coach has been added to half of the weekday trains due to an 8% jump in ridership from the previous year.

Bike rider information

'24xx' series coaches have space for 6 bikes (4 on north end, 2 on south end).
'25xx' series coaches have space for 6 bikes (all in the south end of the coach).

Connecting rail and bus transit services

The Coaster connects with Amtrak at Oceanside, Solana Beach, and San Diego. It also connects with Metrolink at Oceanside. The Coaster connects to the Trolley at Old Town and Centre City San Diego. As of March 2008, the SPRINTER light rail line connects Oceanside to Escondido.

For an additional $1.00 fare, riders can use shuttles [ [ Coaster Connection] ] at Sorrento Valley to access employment centers in Sorrento Valley, Sorrento Mesa, Torrey Pines, and University City. Coaster Connection shuttles also provide residents with access to the Coaster in Carlsbad. The VA Hospital, University of California, San Diego, and area employers also provide shuttle service to the Sorrento Valley station. Unfortunately, train schedules connect with shuttle buses to those employment centers in Sorrento Valley/Sorrento Mesa run very early in the mornings, with cutoff at Sorrento Valley at about 8:30 am. Later Coaster arrivals are not met by shuttles.

In Centre City and Old Town, commuters can connect with MTS Trolleys and buses, including [ The Flyer] from Centre City to Lindbergh Field. NCTD provides "Breeze" bus service connecting with the Coaster at all North County station stops.

Future prospects

The Coaster remains stable for the foreseeable future. San Diego County voters extended the TransNet sales tax through 2038, which includes some funds for track upgrades. A new station is planned for the University City area, at Nobel Drive in the Golden Triangle. NCTD and other public agencies have expressed interest in tunnelling through Golden Triangle to avoid the circuitous route through Miramar. Plans to double track more of the NCTD-owned mainline are also being considered.

See also

* San Diego Public Transportation

External links

* [ Official NCTD site]
* [ - New site for]
* [ San Diego Metropolitan Transit System]


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  • coaster — coast‧er [ˈkəʊstə ǁ ˈkoʊstər] also ˈcoasting ship ˈcoasting ˌvessel noun [countable] TRANSPORT a small ship that carries goods between ports within a country, but does not go to foreign ports: • A small coaster was discharging timber. * * * coa …   Financial and business terms

  • Coaster — Coast er, n. 1. A vessel employed in sailing along a coast, or engaged in the coasting trade. [1913 Webster] 2. One who sails near the shore. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • coaster — (ingl.; P. Rico) m. *Posavasos …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • coaster — 1570s, one who sails along coasts, from COAST (Cf. coast) in verbal sense. Applied to vessels for such sailing from 1680s. Tabletop drink stand (c.1887), originally round tray for a decanter, so called from a resemblance to a sled, or because it… …   Etymology dictionary

  • coaster — ► NOUN 1) a ship carrying cargo along the coast from port to port. 2) a small mat for a glass …   English terms dictionary

  • coaster — [kōs′tər] n. 1. a person or thing that coasts 2. a ship that carries cargo or passengers from port to port along a coast ☆ 3. a sled or wagon for coasting 4. [< obs. sense of coast, vi., “to pass close to or around”] a small tray, usually on… …   English World dictionary

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