Jump to content




Help Support AmtrakTrains.com by donating using the link above or becoming a Supporting Member.

Photo

Many questions!


  • Please log in to reply
77 replies to this topic

#21 zephyr17

zephyr17

    Engineer

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 3,254 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Washington State

Posted 29 December 2016 - 01:32 PM

 

I usually book a combination of coach and sleeper for long distance train trips.

 

Is this done for personal, scheduling or financial reasons? Some years ago, I was told that a rail fan I know would book a trip partially in coach and partially in a roomette to save money over just a roomette but when I priced our trip as HBG-> ATL in coach + ATL->WAS in roomette vs HBG->WAS roomette, the former was actually more expensive. 

 

Amtrak tends to price sleeping accommodations so as to discourage that.  "Day-use" only sleepers don't sell as well (mostly, EMY-LAX on the Starlight used to do pretty well, don't know after the introduction of Business Class), so they price so as to discourage night only use, which you can see in that pricing.  It used to be that distance was more of a factor in pricing than time of day and such strategies worked better, but that was a long time ago.


SP Coast Daylight, AT&SF San Diegan, AT&SF Super Chief, D&RGW Rio Grande Zephyr, Southwest Limited/Chief, San Diegan/Pacific Surfliner, San Joaquin, Cascades, California/San Francisco Zephyr, Coast Starlight, Empire Builder, Sunset Limited (LA-Orlando), Desert Wind, Pioneer, City of New Orleans, Silver Star, Silver Meteor, Lake Shore Limited, Cardinal, Hoosier State (Amtrak),  Hoosier State (Iowa Pacific), Ann Rutledge, Adirondack, Maple Leaf, NE Regional, Capitol Limited, Via Canadian (CP route), Via Super Continental, Via Atlantic Limited, Via Hudson Bay, Via Skeena, Via Canadian (CN route), Via "Corridor" (Toronto-Montreal), BC Rail Cariboo Dayliner, Eurostar, Thalys, DB, Netherlands Rail, Austrian Railways, BR, Korail (conventional), Korail KTX


#22 silmaril

silmaril

    Train Attendant

  • Training
  • Pip
  • 36 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Victoria, Australia

Posted 30 December 2016 - 02:53 AM

Thanks everyone for comments and opinions so far! Definitely an exciting time to plan this.

 

Looks like I'll aim to get over earlier in my leave window than later for the weather's sake.

 

Cheers,
Silmaril.



#23 silmaril

silmaril

    Train Attendant

  • Training
  • Pip
  • 36 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Victoria, Australia

Posted 04 March 2017 - 01:37 AM

Hi,

 

Hope no one minds me bumping this post. Am at the stage of entering some data into the multi-city booking option on Am Trak's website.

Does the below look like a suitable/favourable/achievable/insane itinerary? 

 

a6055156f5.jpg

 

 

Is that an okay price, or would I get significantly better by looking up individual parts on AmSnag?

 

Thanks!



#24 chakk

chakk

    Engineer

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 2,075 posts
  • Gender:Male

Posted 04 March 2017 - 01:54 AM

The roomette from Emeryville to Denver seems a bit high. I might check Amsnag for alternate dates at a lower price.

You definitely could fly frim Denver to Chicago for a substantial lower fare. There's nothing to see from the train on that portion of your train route anyway.

#25 silmaril

silmaril

    Train Attendant

  • Training
  • Pip
  • 36 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Victoria, Australia

Posted 04 March 2017 - 02:02 AM

The roomette from Emeryville to Denver seems a bit high. I might check Amsnag for alternate dates at a lower price.

You definitely could fly frim Denver to Chicago for a substantial lower fare. There's nothing to see from the train on that portion of your train route anyway.

 

Cripes, you're not wrong. Can find a flight for $150. Hmm! This is a quandary as my goal was to travel West to East by train... would this be cheating! 



#26 greatcats

greatcats

    Engineer

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 2,190 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Flagstaff, Arizona

Posted 04 March 2017 - 08:24 AM

The discouraging fares you encounter vs. cheap airfare make for a valid point, but I respectfully disagree that there is nothing to see east of Denver. Yes, that area does not contain spectacular mountain scenery, but as a tour guide, I encourage visitors to appreciate the more subtle aspects of the landscapes. The Great Plains and the rolling farmlands of Iowa have their own charms, plus the train will cross the Mississippi River at ground level, not at 30,000 feet. You have a great opportunity to take in our beautiful country. Enjoy.
I was a commuter railroad employee in NJ for many years until 2002, and have since been a tour guide at Grand Canyon National Park and Ketchikan, Alaska. Also, have been a National Park Volunteer at Hawaii Volcanoes and now Sunset Crater Volcano near my home. If not on Amtrak, also like long road trips, camping some of the time.

#27 niemi24s

niemi24s

    Engineer

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,453 posts

Posted 04 March 2017 - 10:44 AM

 There's nothing to see from the train on that portion of your train route anyway.

While there may be nothing that tickles Chakk's fancy between Denver and Chicago, I'm a firm believer in beauty is in the eye of the beholder.  See for yourself what's along this or any other any route by following along above the tracks on Google Earth.  Sometimes it can be difficult to see which route the train follows (especially in urban areas) so refer to ...  http://fragis.fra.do...v/GISFRASafety/ ...for a clearer picture of the route.  In addition to those two preview aids, there's also:

 

•  Amtrak Route Guides...  https://www.amtrak.com/route-guides

•  Scrollable topographic maps...  http://www.mytopo.com/maps/index.cfm?  ...which give a clearer "picture" of the terrain

•  YouTube videos

 

In the desert West of the US there are many ghost towns along the tracks which have names and those names can be found on the topographic maps and the FRA map.  Doing a Google search for that name will usually turn up a Wikipedia article with a bit of  history about the place.  But when you go by that place on the train there may only be dirt roads radiating out from that long-forgotten place where people once lived and worked.  So...

 

...see for yourself! 


Edited by niemi24s, 04 March 2017 - 10:56 AM.


#28 Tennessee Traveler

Tennessee Traveler

    Conductor

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 984 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Franklin, TN

Posted 04 March 2017 - 11:21 AM

Everything looks good to me.  I would suggest that when you really are ready to book that you CALL Amtrak and make your reservations particularly for the roomettes over the phone so that you can request upper roomette and close to center of the car preferably 2 - 6 for a smoother and better ride.

 

As a regular rider of the CZ both directions Emeryville to Chicago, I recommend riding the full route.  I particularly enjoy the ride Ottumwa to Chicago where you cross the Mississippi River in Burlington and stop in Galesburg, IL, a city I liked enough to do a road trip from Nashville just to rail fan.

 

If you can afford it, I recommend booking BC(business class) on the Coast Starlight.  It is a full coach with usually only a handful of passengers so no problems getting window seats on either side and most likely no one else sitting in your row of four seats.


Edited by Tennessee Traveler, 04 March 2017 - 11:26 AM.


#29 PaulM

PaulM

    Engineer

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 2,079 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Quincy, IL
  • Interests:Bicycling, computer programming, website development, concert band, train travel

Posted 04 March 2017 - 01:04 PM

3. Is it likely to add significant cost to book a lot of smaller trips compared to one overall booking from San Francisco to New York? I'd imagine there's a price premium in doing this? One part of me likes the idea of just settling in for an epic cross-country ride, the other part thinks I'd be crazy to travel across so much of the US and not stop at a few places along the way.

 

In general, the answer is not much if any.  In fact a recent topic indicated that breaking it up using the "multi-city" option was cheaper.  The case was Dearborn, MI to Los Angeles.  The through coach fare was $213 US while the multi-city for the same itinerary was $178. I'm guessing that making separate reservations would be the same as the multi-city.

 

Also in general, separate reservations are much more convenient in case you have to change or cancel a segment.



#30 chakk

chakk

    Engineer

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 2,075 posts
  • Gender:Male

Posted 04 March 2017 - 02:40 PM

I've ridden the CZ at least a half-dozen times between Denver and Chicago. And if the OP was taking the train without a stopover in Denver from EMY to CHI, then sure, I would recommend staying on the CZ for the entire journey. But, with a planned stopover in Denver, I strongly recommend saving the $250 and the 16 hours of travel time by flying between Denver and Chicago! Use that extra money and time instead to enjoy another day in the Colorado Rockies or in that toddling town.

Edited by chakk, 04 March 2017 - 02:42 PM.


#31 KmH

KmH

    Engineer

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,591 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Is this heaven? No. It's Iowa.
  • Interests:Astronomy, photography

Posted 04 March 2017 - 05:08 PM

That works if it trips your trigger.

 

Time on the train holds special value for some of us.

Indeed. For some of us, being on the train is the #1 priority.

 

Osceola and Ottumwa are pretty much equidistant from my home.

If I'm going west on the CZ I board in Ottumwa.

If I'm eastbound I board in Osceola.

 

Doing so gets me 80 more miles on the train.


Edited by KmH, 04 March 2017 - 05:09 PM.

1963U. S. Congress - underground trolley system • Disneyland train (1968/various other dates) • Old Tucson steam train (1969)

Amtrak: California Zephyr Coast Starlight •  Southwest ChiefSunset LimitedTexas Eagle • Illinois Zephyr

. . . . . . . Amtrak miles - 16,383, so far.

 

 

 

 

 


#32 silmaril

silmaril

    Train Attendant

  • Training
  • Pip
  • 36 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Victoria, Australia

Posted 04 March 2017 - 07:03 PM

I think for the satisfaction of completing the whole journey by train, I'll stay on the CZ.

 

Looking at AmSnag, I can save ~$50 by staying another night in Denver so might do that.

 

Business Class on the Coast Starlight looks doable.

 

A question about San Francisco, when plotting my travels, what is the best station to aim for in downtown San Francisco? I gather there will be a bus of some description involved? 

 

Thanks!



#33 BCL

BCL

    Engineer

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 3,389 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:San Francisco Bay Area

Posted 04 March 2017 - 08:01 PM

I think for the satisfaction of completing the whole journey by train, I'll stay on the CZ.
 
Looking at AmSnag, I can save ~$50 by staying another night in Denver so might do that.
 
Business Class on the Coast Starlight looks doable.
 
A question about San Francisco, when plotting my travels, what is the best station to aim for in downtown San Francisco? I gather there will be a bus of some description involved? 
 
Thanks!


SFC is the only option if you have check-in baggage. That's now the Temporary Transbay Terminal, which is kind of in a less than central location. If you can handle your own baggage then the stop at the Hyatt Regency is near traportstion options.

#34 Train2104

Train2104

    Conductor

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 859 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:New York

Posted 05 March 2017 - 01:59 AM

 There's nothing to see from the train on that portion of your train route anyway.

While there may be nothing that tickles Chakk's fancy between Denver and Chicago, I'm a firm believer in beauty is in the eye of the beholder.  See for yourself what's along this or any other any route by following along above the tracks on Google Earth.  Sometimes it can be difficult to see which route the train follows (especially in urban areas) so refer to ...  http://fragis.fra.do...v/GISFRASafety/ ...for a clearer picture of the route.  In addition to those two preview aids, there's also:
 
•  Amtrak Route Guides...  https://www.amtrak.com/route-guides
•  Scrollable topographic maps...  http://www.mytopo.com/maps/index.cfm?  ...which give a clearer "picture" of the terrain
•  YouTube videos
 
In the desert West of the US there are many ghost towns along the tracks which have names and those names can be found on the topographic maps and the FRA map.  Doing a Google search for that name will usually turn up a Wikipedia article with a bit of  history about the place.  But when you go by that place on the train there may only be dirt roads radiating out from that long-forgotten place where people once lived and worked.  So...
 
...see for yourself! 

I don't think I've seen anyone post a screenshot of it, but I left the Satellite, Terrain, and Street View options of Google Maps available on asm.transitdocs.com

#35 KmH

KmH

    Engineer

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,591 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Is this heaven? No. It's Iowa.
  • Interests:Astronomy, photography

Posted 05 March 2017 - 10:58 AM

It would be really cool if the Satellite view was in real time and we could watch the train move along.


1963U. S. Congress - underground trolley system • Disneyland train (1968/various other dates) • Old Tucson steam train (1969)

Amtrak: California Zephyr Coast Starlight •  Southwest ChiefSunset LimitedTexas Eagle • Illinois Zephyr

. . . . . . . Amtrak miles - 16,383, so far.

 

 

 

 

 


#36 Tennessee Traveler

Tennessee Traveler

    Conductor

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 984 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Franklin, TN

Posted 05 March 2017 - 06:46 PM

As for thru way buses for San Francisco, it depends on the train.  Thru way buses meet the California Zephyr in Emeryville.  Thruway buses for the Coast Starlight meet in Oakland's Jack London Station.  



#37 chakk

chakk

    Engineer

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 2,075 posts
  • Gender:Male

Posted 05 March 2017 - 08:49 PM

The Union Pacific Museum in Omaha tickles my fancy, but it is not open when the CZ passes thru town.

#38 silmaril

silmaril

    Train Attendant

  • Training
  • Pip
  • 36 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Victoria, Australia

Posted 06 March 2017 - 04:26 AM

As for thru way buses for San Francisco, it depends on the train.  Thru way buses meet the California Zephyr in Emeryville.  Thruway buses for the Coast Starlight meet in Oakland's Jack London Station.  

 

Thank you. From my reading, if I am catching the Coast Starlight from LA to SF, it will arrive in Oakland's Jack London, from which I will transfer to a bus to take me to the Temporary Transbay Terminal. On departure from SF, my SFC to DEN fare, will allow me to take the bus from the Temp Transbay Terminal to Emeryville for a change to the train.

 

Is this correct?

 

What are the odds on the new Transbay Terminal being completed and opened before my arrival in October?

 

Thanks again!



#39 Tennessee Traveler

Tennessee Traveler

    Conductor

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 984 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Franklin, TN

Posted 06 March 2017 - 10:22 AM

 

As for thru way buses for San Francisco, it depends on the train.  Thru way buses meet the California Zephyr in Emeryville.  Thruway buses for the Coast Starlight meet in Oakland's Jack London Station.  

 

Thank you. From my reading, if I am catching the Coast Starlight from LA to SF, it will arrive in Oakland's Jack London, from which I will transfer to a bus to take me to the Temporary Transbay Terminal. On departure from SF, my SFC to DEN fare, will allow me to take the bus from the Temp Transbay Terminal to Emeryville for a change to the train.

 

Is this correct?

 

What are the odds on the new Transbay Terminal being completed and opened before my arrival in October?

 

Thanks again!

 

 

Your assumptions are correct.  Since I usually stay at the Hyatt House Hotel in Emeryville, I have not used the thruway buses in several years so do not know the status of the Transbay Terminal.



#40 silmaril

silmaril

    Train Attendant

  • Training
  • Pip
  • 36 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Victoria, Australia

Posted 08 March 2017 - 03:29 AM

 

Your assumptions are correct.  Since I usually stay at the Hyatt House Hotel in Emeryville, I have not used the thruway buses in several years so do not know the status of the Transbay Terminal.

 

 

Thanks. 

 

A wider question for all, I'm currently plotting 3 nights in each stop - ie, 3 nights in LA, 3 in SF, 3 in Denver, 3 in Chicago, 3-4 in DC. Is this about right for breaking up a train journey and seeing the sights in these spots?






0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users