Santa Barbara, CA (SBA)

Santa Barbara is defined by a romantic Spanish Colonial Revival design aesthetic adopted by city leaders in the 1920s; the earlier 1902 depot, with its arcades and red tile roof, is a perfect fit.

Santa Barbara, Calif., station.

209 State Street
Santa Barbara, CA 93101

Station Hours

Annual Station Revenue (2016): $10,969,195
Annual Station Ridership (2016): 338,069
  • Facility Ownership: City of Santa Barbara
  • Parking Lot Ownership: City of Santa Barbara
  • Platform Ownership: Union Pacific Railroad
  • Track Ownership: Union Pacific Railroad

Alex Khalfin
Regional Contact
governmentaffairsoak@amtrak.com
For information about Amtrak fares and schedules, please call 1-800-USA-RAIL (1-800-872-7245).

The Santa Barbara station was constructed in the Spanish Mission Revival in 1902 for the Southern Pacific Railroad. The most recent reconstruction and renovation of the historic Santa Barbara station was completed in 2000. The ticket office has been restored to its original grandeur; plumbing, electrical, heating and cooling systems have been updated, and seating areas have been restored. In addition, the parking lots and the adjacent Railway Express Agency building were redone.

This area on the south coast of California had been inhabited for thousands of years before the Spanish first anchored in the Santa Barbara channel in 1542. Sebastian Vizcaino named the region out of gratitude for surviving a violent storm in the same channel on December 3, 1602, the eve of the feast of Saint Barbara. However, the first permanent European settlers were Spanish missionaries and soldiers led by Felipe de Neve, accompanied by Father Junípero Serra, who arrived in 1782 and built the Presidio and Mission. The Mission Santa Barbara was dedicated on December 4, 1786. However, a powerful earthquake and tsunami, one of the strongest in California history, destroyed the Mission and the town in 1812. Following that disaster, the Mission fathers rebuilt upon a grander scale, and this complex survives today as the best-preserved of the California Missions.

Santa Barbara was held briefly by the Mexican government until John C. Fremont claimed it during the Mexican-American War in 1846. Surveyor Salisbury Haley designed the famously misaligned street grid and set up the town in 1851. American settlers came with the Gold Rush, in a violent and lawless period until the Vigilance Committee from San Luis Obispo drove them out. Following the gold rush and rancho era, writer Charles Nordhoff promoted the town as a health resort and destination for well-to-do travelers in the 1870s and onward.

Santa Barbara also housed the world’s largest movie studio during the era of silent film. Flying A Studios operated on two city blocks between 1910 and 1922, until the film industry outgrew the area and moved to Hollywood. Flying A and other local studios produced approximately 1,200 films during their time in the city, of which about 100 survive.

During World War II, Santa Barbara was home to a Marine base at the site of the present-day University of California at Santa Barbara; a Navy installation in the harbor; was close to the Army’s Camp Cook (today Vandenberg Air Force Base). It was home to a hospital for treating military personnel wounded in the Pacific theater. On February 23, 1942, a Japanese submarine emerged offshore and lobbed 16 shells at the Elwood Oil Field, about 10 miles west of the city. In the only direct attack on the U.S. mainland during the entire war –and the first wartime attack by a foreign power on the U.S. since the War of 1812 –the gunners were terrible marksmen. Only about $500 in damage resulted to a catwalk.

The architectural image of Santa Barbara is the Spanish Colonial Revival style adopted by city leaders in 1925. Domestic architecture is predominantly California bungalows from the early 20th century, with many original Victorian and Spanish style homes. Now a year-round tourist destination renowned for its fair weather, downtown beaches and Spanish architecture, the city is known for its wooing of “clean” industry, environmental vigilance and resistance to uncontrolled growth that afflicted much of the South Coast.

Amtrak provides ticketing and baggage services at this facility. 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 Type:

Station Building (with waiting room)

Features

  • 100 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
  • ATM
  • 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
  • Elevator
  • 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.

  • Lockers

    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.

  • Lounge
  • Parking Attendant
  • Pay Phones
  • QuikTrakKiosk
  • Restrooms
  • 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.

  • Wheelchairs

    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.  

  • WiFi