San Luis Obispo, CA (SLO)
Built in 1941, the depot exhibits the Spanish Revival architectural style popular throughout Southern California; details include a red tile roof, exposed rafters and colorful, decorative tiles.
1011 Railroad Avenue
San Luis Obispo, CA 93401
Annual Station Ridership (2016): 107,778
- Facility Ownership: Union Pacific Railroad
- Parking Lot Ownership: Union Pacific Railroad
- Platform Ownership: Union Pacific Railroad
- Track Ownership: Union Pacific Railroad
For information about Amtrak fares and schedules, please call 1-800-USA-RAIL (1-800-872-7245).
The San Luis Obispo depot was built in 1941 by the Southern Pacific Railroad and exhibits the Spanish Revival style architecture popular throughout Southern California. Elements of this style found on the depot include stucco-clad walls, red tile roofs with exposed rafters and colorful, decorative tiles on the center block’s upper walls. The building remains in good condition and received a new ticket counter in 2003.
San Luis Obispo, which is located on the central coast of California, is eight miles from the ocean. First inhabited by the Chumash peoples, who settled there from 5,000 to 10,000 BC, European occupation began with the founding of the Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa in 1772 by Father Junípero Serra on the site of a Chumash village called Tilhini. This was the fifth Spanish Mission in a chain of 21 in California. The Mission, which still stands, is one of the best preserved examples of Mission architecture, with its distinctive red tile roof. It is among the oldest buildings in California. San Luis Obispo was first incorporated in 1856 and became a Charter City in 1876.
John C. Fremont took possession of San Luis Obispo for the United States in 1846. With the gold rush in the 1850s, the locale turned away from its traditional hide-and-tallow ranching, through a period of lawlessness. After a severe drought in the early 1860s decimated cattle herds, the area turned to the beef and dairy industry.
Chinese labor gangs, local to San Luis Obispo, under the direction of Ah Louis and others, hired out to construct roads and the Pacific Coast Railway. The Southern Pacific Railroad arrived in San Luis Obispo in 1894, and combined with a local gold discovery, brought prosperity to the area. Post World War I, the county returned from growing war supply foods to dairy, seed and truck farming.
William Randolph Hearst, the great newspaper magnate of the 20th century, built his home on the family estate at San Simeon, 43 miles from San Luis Obispo. When the estate was opened as a state park in 1958, that attraction and the surge in the number of wineries in the area contributed to a substantial tourist trade for the city. San Luis Obispo is also home to California Polytechnic State University, or, “Cal Poly,” founded in 1901, which is one of the 23 general purpose campuses of the California State University system, and has about 20,000 students enrolled. The Cal Poly campus has its own Amtrak Thruway bus stop.
Just north of San Luis Obispo, at Cuesta Pass, lie two well-known horseshoe curves in the rail line as it descends from the mountains. The route drops or climbs 1,000 feet in 11 miles making it a popular photography subject among railfans.
Amtrak provides ticketing and baggage services at this facility, which is served by six daily trains. The Pacific Surfliner service is primarily financed through funds made available by the State of California, Department of Transportation, and is managed by the LOSSAN Joint Powers Authority.
Station Building (with waiting room)
- 20 Short Term Parking Spaces
Number of spaces available for Amtrak passengers to park for the day only, not overnight. Parking fees may apply.
- Accessible Payphones
- Accessible Platform
Accessible platform is a barrier-free path from the drop-off area outside the station to the station platform.
- Accessible Restrooms
- Accessible Ticket Office
- Accessible Waiting Room
- Accessible Water Fountain
- Baggage Storage
Baggage storage is an area where passengers may store their bags, equivalent to "left luggage" in Europe. A storage fee may apply.
- Bike Boxes
- Checked Baggage
- Dedicated Parking
- Enclosed Waiting Area
- Help With Luggage
- High Platform
A high platform is a platform at the level of the vestibule of the train, with the exception of Superliners.
Self-service lockers are available in select stations for passenger baggage storage.
- Long-term Parking Spaces
Number of spaces available for Amtrak passengers to park overnight. Parking fees may apply.
- Parking Attendant
- Pay Phones
- Shipping Boxes
- Ski Bags
- Wheelchair Lift
Wheelchair lift is a platform-mounted lift for loading passengers from low platforms onto trains that do not have onboard ramps.
For passengers who cannot walk far or at all, we offer a wheelchair to move the passengers around within the station. At some stations this may be a battery-powered people mover. The wheelchair or other types of movers must not leave the station or be moved onto the train.