Jump to content




Photo

New member from Alaska! ;) Questions for upcoming trip!


  • This topic is locked This topic is locked
13 replies to this topic

#1 aktrainfan

aktrainfan

    Train Attendant

  • Training
  • Pip
  • 26 posts

Posted 05 February 2012 - 04:04 PM

Greetings and Salutations from Palmer, Alaska! I hail from the beautiful Matanuska Valley, about an hour from Anchorage. I fell in love with Amtrak and train travel when we first took the train from Anaheim-San Diego years ago, and then we did it again for the first time since then in 2009, (we are big Disney fans, so we normally go there on vacation) and then this summer we did it again, we flew into Santa Ana/John Wayne and took the train directly down to San Diego, stayed for about 4 nights then returned to do Disney, and then up to LAX with the Surfliner, then changed trains to the Coast Starlight in a roommette to San Luis Obispo, our main goal was to be close to Hearst Castle. We loved the Pacific Parlour car and the wine/cheese tasting and the delicious lunch that was provided! The views were incredible!! It was foggy, but it would lift in the afternoon.

Now that I have the train bug, and I'm heading to California again in a little over a couple of weeks for a travel agent seminar (I just started my own business from home, so excited!) and after that, I'm heading to Vegas for about 5 nights, my sister gave me free nights with her comps, and then I'm considering taking the train from Vegas to Denver to see my sister and niece and her family. I know that I could fly and pay a lot less and get there a LOT faster, but what's the fun in that? I'm really interested in the Southwest Chief route between Kingman, AZ and Raton, NM. It might not be the most scenic route (I'm just suspecting there would be a lot of desert involved) but I would get a roommette since it would be a little over 14 hours, and I'd get breakfast and lunch included.

So this is what I found out, and if you have any experience with this route at all, or parts of it, feel free to jump in! I talked to an Amtrak agent yesterday, and he was very informative and kind, which I was pleasantly surprised about, because I've had bad experiences with certain agents in the past being curt and uninformed. Anyway, apparently it doesn't take off from Vegas until 930p, which is interesting...and I would have to take an airport shuttle to the zero level/baggage area and then get on a contracted van service, which I would be on for 3.5 hours to Kingman. It doesn't get to Kingman until 2a (AZ time) because of the time difference. I would have to wait in the little station in Kingman, or maybe in the van until the train gets there and is ready to go. It's supposed to take off at 233a, so then I would be on the train until we got to Raton at 4:50p, where I would switch to a bus (assuming greyhound type) leaving at 5:05p, getting to Denver at 9:10p.

Please give me your thoughts, suggestions?? I welcome them up, good and bad. I just want to know if this is feasible for a single woman traveler.

Thank you so much!!

Kelly ;)




#2 aktrainfan

aktrainfan

    Train Attendant

  • Training
  • Pip
  • 26 posts

Posted 05 February 2012 - 04:08 PM

Oh and I guess I'd have to ask my hotel in downtown LV if they could hold my bags all day while I wandered around, since I wouldn't want to pay for another night...I'll find out what the latest check out time would be, of course. I might even go to a matinee, just something to bide the time until my van would leave. Thanks again!

#3 GG-1

GG-1

    Engineer

  • Forum Manager
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 6,481 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Las Vegas, NV
  • Interests:PRR GG1 and riding the rails to "see the USA in your Chev".....Train

Posted 05 February 2012 - 04:33 PM

Oh and I guess I'd have to ask my hotel in downtown LV if they could hold my bags all day while I wandered around, since I wouldn't want to pay for another night...I'll find out what the latest check out time would be, of course. I might even go to a matinee, just something to bide the time until my van would leave. Thanks again!

Aloha And Welcome to AU

Just about all the hotels here will hold your bags. Send me a PM (Private Message) with your Vegas dates/plans.

Eric

Eric aka GG-1, Aloha, Mahalo = Thanks

Picture Galleries Posted Image

#4 oregon pioneer

oregon pioneer

    Conductor

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 941 posts
  • Gender:Female
  • Location:near Seneca, Oregon
  • Interests:Cross-country skiing, forestry, botany, solar power, gardening and food!

Posted 05 February 2012 - 04:35 PM

I've taken that route a couple of times. There is a lot of desert, yes, but also some really nice scenery (the desert mountains are spectacular). Too bad you go through Flagstaff in the night (a couple hours beyond Kingman, you'll be fast asleep). Albuquerque's station has been rebuilt in the last several years, and is a very nice adobe building with shaded galleries along the side. There are vendors who set up on the platform for train arrivals and sell local jewelry and other items (including fruit). Not much of a neighborhood, but it's worth getting off the train just for the station and vendors.

Be sure and watch closely at the Lamy (Santa Fe) station. There are some neat old cars parked on a side track, I think they are just as you leave eastbound, on the left (north) side of the track. Then about a half-mile to a mile further, same side, there is an off-grid neighborhood, watch for the houses with solar electric and solar hot water panels. It looks like back-to-the-landers that have been there for decades, nice little homesteads. As you go further uphill from Lamy, there is a lovely canyon still on the left, and another off-grid home with wind generator (watch for the slender tower) on the right. You'll see that the power lines do not go to these houses. Somewhere along there, there is a gorgeous loop-de-loop in the track? My memory is foggy about exactly where it is, or if you will go over that part.

#5 oregon pioneer

oregon pioneer

    Conductor

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 941 posts
  • Gender:Female
  • Location:near Seneca, Oregon
  • Interests:Cross-country skiing, forestry, botany, solar power, gardening and food!

Posted 05 February 2012 - 04:43 PM

P.S. Looks like it only has to be about an hour late, and you'll get dinner, too! That is quite likely. Also, I've often taken those little connecting buses (you have to do that if you are getting on in the toolies of eastern Oregon), and in my experience if they are an Amtrak bus, they will NOT just dump you at a lonely outpost platform, they will take you to a local mini-mart or something with restrooms and food if the train is going to be late. The driver will be in cell phone contact with the conductor, get you to the platform as the train arrives, and help you get your bags up to the platform if needed. Very friendly and helpful! And if your train is late when you get off, they will be meeting it, not taking off early.

#6 aktrainfan

aktrainfan

    Train Attendant

  • Training
  • Pip
  • 26 posts

Posted 05 February 2012 - 06:29 PM


Oh and I guess I'd have to ask my hotel in downtown LV if they could hold my bags all day while I wandered around, since I wouldn't want to pay for another night...I'll find out what the latest check out time would be, of course. I might even go to a matinee, just something to bide the time until my van would leave. Thanks again!

Aloha And Welcome to AU

Just about all the hotels here will hold your bags. Send me a PM (Private Message) with your Vegas dates/plans.

Eric



PM sent! ;)

#7 aktrainfan

aktrainfan

    Train Attendant

  • Training
  • Pip
  • 26 posts

Posted 05 February 2012 - 06:48 PM

P.S. Looks like it only has to be about an hour late, and you'll get dinner, too! That is quite likely. Also, I've often taken those little connecting buses (you have to do that if you are getting on in the toolies of eastern Oregon), and in my experience if they are an Amtrak bus, they will NOT just dump you at a lonely outpost platform, they will take you to a local mini-mart or something with restrooms and food if the train is going to be late. The driver will be in cell phone contact with the conductor, get you to the platform as the train arrives, and help you get your bags up to the platform if needed. Very friendly and helpful! And if your train is late when you get off, they will be meeting it, not taking off early.


Hi Oregon Pioneer, thanks for making my day, I hope I get dinner too, that would be great, especially since I'm not getting there until after 9pm! As far as the driver waitiing, that's what the Amtrak rep that I talked to assured me, he said the van driver will wait until the train gets there, so that makes me feel so much better, especially in light of the fact that it's going to be like 2a.m.!!

Thank you!

Kelly

#8 aktrainfan

aktrainfan

    Train Attendant

  • Training
  • Pip
  • 26 posts

Posted 05 February 2012 - 07:19 PM

I've taken that route a couple of times. There is a lot of desert, yes, but also some really nice scenery (the desert mountains are spectacular). Too bad you go through Flagstaff in the night (a couple hours beyond Kingman, you'll be fast asleep). Albuquerque's station has been rebuilt in the last several years, and is a very nice adobe building with shaded galleries along the side. There are vendors who set up on the platform for train arrivals and sell local jewelry and other items (including fruit). Not much of a neighborhood, but it's worth getting off the train just for the station and vendors.

Be sure and watch closely at the Lamy (Santa Fe) station. There are some neat old cars parked on a side track, I think they are just as you leave eastbound, on the left (north) side of the track. Then about a half-mile to a mile further, same side, there is an off-grid neighborhood, watch for the houses with solar electric and solar hot water panels. It looks like back-to-the-landers that have been there for decades, nice little homesteads. As you go further uphill from Lamy, there is a lovely canyon still on the left, and another off-grid home with wind generator (watch for the slender tower) on the right. You'll see that the power lines do not go to these houses. Somewhere along there, there is a gorgeous loop-de-loop in the track? My memory is foggy about exactly where it is, or if you will go over that part.


Wow, thanks! So this route goes through Flagstaff and ABQ? I need to look at the route map. I wonder where I will be when it's daylight since we don't get to Raton until 5p? I hope I'll get to see some of what you are describing? Thanks for all the info on the solar powered homes, that sounds cool.

#9 gswager

gswager

    Engineer

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 2,640 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Portales, NM
  • Interests:mountain recreations, scuba diving, Christian,

Posted 05 February 2012 - 07:22 PM

Albuquerque station had been built from scratch few years ago. Both Greyhound and Amtrak are using that station. The old station is being used by Amtrak crew.
Entire length in segments- Southwest Chief (LSV-LAX & CHI-LSV), Pacific Surfliner (SLO-LAX & LAX-SAN) & San Joaquin (Oakland stub)
Entire length, end to end- Lake Shore Limited (Boston stub) (11/09), Downeaster (11/09) & Coast Starlight (10/11)
Partial- California Zephyr (SLC-EMY), Hiawatha, Cascades (SEA-PDX) & Acela (BOS-PVD)

#10 gswager

gswager

    Engineer

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 2,640 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Portales, NM
  • Interests:mountain recreations, scuba diving, Christian,

Posted 05 February 2012 - 07:26 PM

Daylight section on Southwest Chief will be start just before AZ/NM border, one of most scenic area.
Entire length in segments- Southwest Chief (LSV-LAX & CHI-LSV), Pacific Surfliner (SLO-LAX & LAX-SAN) & San Joaquin (Oakland stub)
Entire length, end to end- Lake Shore Limited (Boston stub) (11/09), Downeaster (11/09) & Coast Starlight (10/11)
Partial- California Zephyr (SLC-EMY), Hiawatha, Cascades (SEA-PDX) & Acela (BOS-PVD)

#11 aktrainfan

aktrainfan

    Train Attendant

  • Training
  • Pip
  • 26 posts

Posted 05 February 2012 - 09:36 PM

Daylight section on Southwest Chief will be start just before AZ/NM border, one of most scenic area.


Great, thanks! Will there be snow, and if so, when would it typically start (which section of the ride)?

#12 johnny.menhennet

johnny.menhennet

    Engineer

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,445 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Solana Beach, CA
  • Interests:taekwondo, geography, current events, speech and debate, TRAINS

Posted 05 February 2012 - 09:44 PM

Now, since we haven't had a winter this year, and especially in a few weeks (even though the groundhog gave us a little hope!) there will not really be snow. In Flagstaff, it is one of the snowiest cities in the country, but with a roomette, you will be totally asleep. There was some snow on Raton Pass yesterday (according to pics golden grrl and scientist showed me today), but that was about the only place. Also Raton Pass is right after you leave the town of Raton, which has a lower elevation. The ride and desert monoliths on a slightly smaller scale of Monument Valley is fantastic. I assume that you will take the bus to connect to Denver from Raton, which is generally very empty, and you will have room to spread out.

Amtrak: Pacific Surfliner (100000000000), Southwest Chief (5), California Zephyr (1), Coast Starlight (6), Capitol Corridor (1), Empire Builder (2), Acela Express (1), LSL (1), NE Regional (2)
Non-Amtrak: NCTD Coaster (at least 20), Metrolink (4), SD Trolley (at least 20), LACMTA Red Line (at least 50), Seattle Streetcar (1), Chicago 'L' (probably 13), NYC Subway (probably 15), WMATA Mass Transit (probably 20), LIRR (1), Las Vegas Monorail (at least 12), MBTA Mass Transit (16), NJ Transit commuter rail (3), I'm sure there are more that I can't think of right now

upcoming Amtrak: Pacific Surfliner (10000000000 more)
upcoming non-Amtrak: Coaster, Red Line/Expo Line in LA, NJ Transit (5-10)

Pretty good for a 16 year old :)


#13 aktrainfan

aktrainfan

    Train Attendant

  • Training
  • Pip
  • 26 posts

Posted 05 February 2012 - 10:15 PM

Now, since we haven't had a winter this year, and especially in a few weeks (even though the groundhog gave us a little hope!) there will not really be snow. In Flagstaff, it is one of the snowiest cities in the country, but with a roomette, you will be totally asleep. There was some snow on Raton Pass yesterday (according to pics golden grrl and scientist showed me today), but that was about the only place. Also Raton Pass is right after you leave the town of Raton, which has a lower elevation. The ride and desert monoliths on a slightly smaller scale of Monument Valley is fantastic. I assume that you will take the bus to connect to Denver from Raton, which is generally very empty, and you will have room to spread out.


Oh wow! I know that they had some snow in Colorado, my niece lives in Erie, and I saw it on the weather channel, and although we think it's funny that they closed schools because they were getting snow, (I'm from Alaska, we don't close until it's like 100 below, ha ha) but in my mind everywhere is snowy, so what do I know? When does the elevation start getting higher, by the way? Good to know about the bus being fairly empty, thanks! Do they stop anywhere along the way since it's going to be around dinner time? Thanks again!


#14 GG-1

GG-1

    Engineer

  • Forum Manager
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 6,481 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Las Vegas, NV
  • Interests:PRR GG1 and riding the rails to "see the USA in your Chev".....Train

Posted 06 February 2012 - 12:00 AM

Aloha

I am going to close this thread. Please continue in the main Amtrak section/forum.

Eric aka GG-1, Aloha, Mahalo = Thanks

Picture Galleries Posted Image




0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users