There’s a new plan in development for the heavily trafficked route between San Francisco and Los Angeles. California startup company Dreamstar Lines is currently working on a privately-funded project to create an overnight first-class passenger train connecting SF and LA — and we could see it as soon as summer 2024.
SFGATE reported that Dreamstar is currently in talks with railroads Metrolink and Union Pacific Railroad Co. to see the plan through, although much work remains to be done in the realms of funding, contracts, and agreements.
As of now, the goal is to create a first-class train with 5 or 6 sleeper cars and a lounge area in the “Streamline Moderne” style, incorporating Art Deco elements and original parts from classic streamliner railcars. Train fares would cost about $300, $600, and $1000 for a journey running from 10pm to 8:30am with stops in Santa Barbara, San Jose, and San Luis Obispo.
If approved, Dreamstar will be the first night train running the route in over 40 years. It was most recently preceded by the Spirit of California, an overnight Amtrak train that ran between Sacramento and LA until 1983. Before that, the first-class night train Lark ran between San Francisco and LA from 1941-1968 with the Southern Pacific Company.
Railroads played an integral part in expanding and developing the United States throughout the 1800s. However, by the end of the century, railroads began to decline due to poor management and lack of government regulation. The advancement of automobiles and eventually airplanes drove many passengers away from rail travel, and by the 1980s, government-run Amtrak had taken over passenger railroad transit. The remaining private passenger trains fell by the wayside.
That said, rail travel has experienced some renewed attention in recent years, and U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg is working to push various public transportation projects around the country as a way to reduce traffic, pollution, and the cost of living for millions of Americans.
Would you take an overnight train between LA and SF? You can keep an eye on the Dreamstar Lines website to see how the project progresses toward its summer 2024 goal.