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Snow and the Zephyr


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#1 Guest_Guest_Ben_*_*

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Posted 27 November 2008 - 03:48 AM

Does the California Zephyr get delayed by snow/weather problems during the winter in the Sierras and Rockies?

#2 Everydaymatters

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Posted 27 November 2008 - 06:15 AM

I don't know the answer, but I'll be watching replies. That's an interesting question. Is the Zephyr on the same route where people were stuck on a train back in the 1940's or 50's for several days?

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#3 AlanB

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Posted 27 November 2008 - 08:36 AM

Yes, Betty the Zephyr is still on the same route where people got stuck years ago.

And yes Ben, there are occasions where the Zephyr does get delayed by snow in the mountains. It's not a common problem, and in general you're likely to have far better luck on Amtrak in the snow than say flying into Denver. But there are occasions where the snow falls so fast and heavy that delays, reroutes, and even occasionally cancellations do occur.
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#4 access bob

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Posted 27 November 2008 - 10:12 AM

Does the California Zephyr get delayed by snow/weather problems during the winter in the Sierras and Rockies?


but one of the fantastic delights I've had has been traveling by train in a blizzard or right after a snow storm when the world is truely a winter wonder land... worth the risk

Bob

#5 MrFSS

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Posted 27 November 2008 - 10:25 AM

Does the California Zephyr get delayed by snow/weather problems during the winter in the Sierras and Rockies?


but one of the fantastic delights I've had has been traveling by train in a blizzard or right after a snow storm when the world is truly a winter wonder land... worth the risk

Bob


Last time we were on the CZ it snowed big time the night before we left SAC. Some great views the next day in the Sierras and Rockies.

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#6 the_traveler

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Posted 27 November 2008 - 11:51 AM

Yes, the CZ (and other trains) sometimes does get delayed or cancelled by snow, but not very often. Any ways, I'd much rather be riding (and moving) on a train during a snowstorm then either stuck at an airport or behind the wheel of a car!
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#7 PRR 60

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Posted 27 November 2008 - 12:04 PM

Last winter I did ride the Zephyr through the Rockies in a snow storm, and then through the Sierras just after a storm. It was a great ride.

Byers Canyon, CO with the Colorado River frozen over
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Glenwood Springs, CO in the snow
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Somewhere in the Sierras just west of Donner Pass, CA
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The one down side of Amtrak in the snow is that Amtrak can be delayed or cancelled by snow anywhere on the route, not just at the end points like air. But barring a massive blizzard or avalanche risks that close the lines, Amtrak usually gets through.

#8 Bill Haithcoat

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Posted 27 November 2008 - 04:46 PM

Yes, Betty the Zephyr is still on the same route where people got stuck years ago.

And yes Ben, there are occasions where the Zephyr does get delayed by snow in the mountains. It's not a common problem, and in general you're likely to have far better luck on Amtrak in the snow than say flying into Denver. But there are occasions where the snow falls so fast and heavy that delays, reroutes, and even occasionally cancellations do occur.


The train which got stuck, the one which got the huge publicity at least, was indeed on the route used today by the CZ. This happened about 1952, I think.

And that I am sure is the real point of the question.

There is a little technicality,however---the train which got stuck was not the Zephyr.

The California Zephyr, at that time, was operated by the Burlington from CHI to Denver, the Denver and Rio Grande Western from Denver to Salt Lake City. Then, Western Pacific to Oakland. It is that third stretch which is different from today.That third stretch was known for going through the Feather RIver Canyon.

The train which got stranded was Southern Pacific's City of San Francisco. That was a train which went from CHI to Omaha on the Chicago and Northwestern(later Milwaukee), then the Union Pacific from Omaha to Ogden, then SP to Oakland.

There was a great article about that event written up in TRAINS. It was called "The case of the stranded streamliner".

BTW sometimes these days the CZ gets re-routed through Wyoming, which is the old Unin Pacific City of SF route.

Edited by Bill Haithcoat, 27 November 2008 - 05:12 PM.


#9 abqdave

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Posted 27 November 2008 - 10:44 PM

How does snow get cleared from the tracks? How much snow can a train just plow through?

#10 PetalumaLoco

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Posted 27 November 2008 - 10:56 PM

Here's 3 units pushing a plow that get stuck.
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#11 Guest_Guest_Yerry_*_*

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Posted 28 November 2008 - 11:59 PM

Didn't two CZ's (one in each direction) get stuck this past Winter when a plow fell off a bridge? One sat it out and the otehr backed up quite a few miles. I remember an Amtrak PR gaffe mentioning "serving passengers in the diner" while stuck at DONNER PASS.

#12 AlanB

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Posted 29 November 2008 - 12:17 AM

Didn't two CZ's (one in each direction) get stuck this past Winter when a plow fell off a bridge? One sat it out and the otehr backed up quite a few miles. I remember an Amtrak PR gaffe mentioning "serving passengers in the diner" while stuck at DONNER PASS.


Yes, I believe that was this past winter. Slight chance it was the year before.
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#13 PRR 60

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Posted 29 November 2008 - 10:07 AM

February 1, 2008

2 Amtrak Trains Stuck In Snow Near Donner Pass


Story

#14 saxman

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Posted 29 November 2008 - 12:42 PM

I've been wanting to take a winter CZ trip, and looks like I'll be going this February. There's just something about riding the train through a winter wonderland that makes it even more exciting.
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#15 Green Maned Lion

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Posted 29 November 2008 - 04:36 PM

Yeah, they got stuck. they came in 29 bloody hours late.
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