Taking the train to San Juan Capistrano is a nice way to bypass the LA freeways. The train stops right in the quaint town of SJC and everything, including the mission, is within walking distance of the depot.
I traveled business class which reserves a seat in a quiet car. The seats are bigger with more leg room, there are power outlets for laptop computer. There is a selection of coffee, juice and muffins as well as a free newspaper. If you ride in the afternoon, you will receive a "snack pack" accompanied by the beverage of your choice, including white or red wine. Just a note here: If you pay for business class then you are guaranteed a seat. There is no seat selection so be prepared to sit apart from your traveling companions. Unlike Coach this fare assures you a seat somewhere on the train.
The cost is about $11 dollars more than a regular ticket but considering the quiet and the comfort, it was definitely worth it!
We took the Metrolink from Covina, CA to connect with the AMTRAK at Union Station downtown LA. It was my first ride on LA's Metrolink. It's comfortable and clean and they announce the stations before they stop, so listen closely so you don't get off too soon as we did on the return trip. We got off at the wrong station and had to take a cab to Covina - duh, and after I've riden the Metro in Paris and Underground in London without any trouble.
We reserved tickets via the Internet and picked them up at the Los Angeles train station. It was $25 for a round-trip fare from LA to San Juan Capistrano. The trains stops at the train depot only 1/2 block from San Juan Capistrano Mission.
The train station in Los Angeles has maintained it's Art Deco style.
One of the best ways to get to San Juan Capistrano is to take the Amtrak train. You will find the train station less than ¼ mile from the old mission and the town center.
The North/South train between San Diego and Los Angeles come into town many time through out the day so there is sure to be one for you.
The Pacific Surfliner runs from San Diego to San Juan Capistrano and the trip takes about an hour and twenty minutes. The cost is $21.00 (Winter 2012)
The Pacific Surrliner runs from Los Angeles to San Juan Capistrano in about one hour and fifteen minutes. The cost is $20.00 round-trip. (Winter 2012)
This is a commuter train and accepst no checked baggage, but a carry-on is allowed. WiFi is available. There is a Snack Car and on-board wheelchair ramps.
This is a beautiful southern Californian destination off the Amtrak "Surfliner" train!! Expect to spend a few hours here after getting out of the cabin.
The train ride is generally comfortable on Amtrak. It does get a bit crowded at peak times (like those on weekends) but I'd say almost always , one will be able to find a seat. Most tourists go in the coach cabins (cheaper!). I find that there is enough comfort for coach travel.
I advise anyone who buys a ticket for Amtrak to buy on board. On a weekend, I mistakely bought a ticket at a kiosk, thinking that it was good for Amtrak. Apparently. I bought one for the Metrolink train ( different from Amtrak!). At the station, it is not so obvious to me (and other ignorant persons) about where exactly to buy a ticket to ride on Amtrak. Better to reserve a ticket in advance if you are from out of state or country!