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Meal Questions, Plus Etc.


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#1 Guest_Kat Black_*

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Posted 28 February 2017 - 08:33 PM

I am taking my first Amtrak trip from Albany OR to Memphis TN on the following trains:

 

11 Coast Starlight, boarding at 4:10 pm in Albany OR (Wed) and getting off in Sacramento at 6:15 am the next morning.  I'll be connecting to...

6 California Zephyr, boarding at 11:09 am (Thur), getting off in Chicago at 2:50 pm (Sat).  then connecting to...

59 City of New Orleans, boarding at 8:05 pm (Sat), getting off in Memphis TN early the next morning at 6:27 am (Sun)

 

I've booked a Roomette for all my legs of the trip and realize that I get meals with this option.  I've done a lot of reading / research on the Amtrak site.  I'm the kind of person that loves to be prepared for the trip and asks all the questions in advance.  I have a couple of questions.

 

1) Do I have a breakfast option the morning I get off the Coast Starlight at 6:15 am in Sacramento?  Can I get something to go from the dining car, or maybe the Cafe car?  I didn't see the hours of operation for the Cafe car?

 

2) I thought I saw that there was a wine tasting on the Coast Starlight in a YouTube video.  Are the wine tastings at set times?  I get on the train at 4:10, will I still be able to enjoy the tasting?

 

3) What times are the movies shown on the Coast Starlight?

 

4) For the 6 California Zephyr train, I'm assuming since I get on the train at 11:09 am, that I get lunch the day I board?  Is that a bad assumption?

 

5) On my final train, the 59 City of New Orleans leaving out of Chicago at 8:05 pm, will the sleeper passengers be getting a meal that night?  I wasn't sure how the meals worked on that train, did I read correctly that it will be an abbreviated dinner time after we board?

 

6) I get off the 6 City of New Orleans in Memphis TN the next morning at 6:27 am, just before the actual breakfast service starts.  Same question as my first question, do I get a breakfast option getting off the train that early?

 

Thanks for everyone's help!  I'm really looking forward to my train ride!



#2 pdxjim

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Posted 28 February 2017 - 09:03 PM

You won't get breakfast before you reach Sacramento.  For that reason, when I take this journey from Portland to Iowa, I transfer in Martinez.

 

You get breakfast and you have a smaller, nicer station with a shorter wait for the CZ.  You also have wi-fi.

 

I think it cost an additional $5 when I booked this last year.  

 

Movies on the CS I think were started at 8:00pm.  Yes, you will get lunch on the CZ after you leave Sacramento.

 

You can still modify your trip!  Have a fabulous time!

 

Jim


Edited by pdxjim, 28 February 2017 - 09:05 PM.


#3 Lonestar648

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Posted 28 February 2017 - 09:29 PM

Arriving around 6:30 AM in both Sacramento and Memphis, there really are no breakfast option since the Dining Car starts service at 6:30 AM.  

 

The Wine tasting is late afternoon and the PCC attendant will take down a pre-set number of people desiring to attend.  This is so the event is not over crowded.

 

Usually, Lunch service starts at Noon, unless destination arrival makes it necessary to start the service early.

 

Haven't done the movies on the PCC but I do remember there were two movies, a children's and for one for everyone else.

 

Have a great trip.


Trains Traveled On:
Texas Eagle                                      Sunset Limited                            California Zephyr                                Southwest Chief                Empire Builder            Capitol Limited           Lake Shore limited (NYP & BOS)      Crescent
Kentucky Cardinal                             Cardinal                                       Pere Marquette                                  Wolverines                        Lincoln Service            Empire Service          Keystone Service                               Acelas
NE Regionals                                    Pioneer                                        Desert Wind                                       Broadway Limited             Three Rivers                Southwest Chief        Coast Starlight                                    Empire Service
 
Amtrak Miles Logged: over 197,000


#4 Tennessee Traveler

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Posted 28 February 2017 - 09:55 PM

1. While you will not get breakfast on the Coast Starlight if it arrives on time.  If late, breakfast is served on all the LD west trains around 6 to 6:30 to about 9.  I did this connection in Sacramento last year and found and ate breakfast at a Starbucks right adjacent to the station.  You access it from the same parking lots.  It is easy to find.  Go through the station(there is a place for sleeper passengers to drop off their luggage near the ticket counters).  As you exit turn left and walk to the next building and the Starbucks is in one corner of that building.  If you like to walk, Old Sacramento is right at the station and a nice place to stretch your legs while waiting for the California Zephyr.  Also, I enjoy watching all the trains arriving, boarding, and departing since the Capitol Corridor trains mostly originate or final designate at this station.

 

2.  Never participated in the Wine Tasting but it will be earlier than 4 PM.  

 

3. Don't know about the movies.  I am always to busy gazing out my roomette window.

 

4. If on time Lunch on the CZ does not start until 12 Noon and is usually served until about 2 PM first come, first serve.

 

5. Dinner on the City of New Orleans is served as you depart Chicago usually just after you board and the sleeper car attendant alerts you to proceed to the dining car which is immediately behind the sleeper car.  There is no longer a chef on this train so the meals are pre-prepared meals heated on board and served by one person who is both server and preparer.  The menu is available to view on Amtrak.com. Yes, there is just one call for dinner.  

 

6. Breakfast will probably be served after Memphis if the train is on time. 

 

PS- I live in Nashville, TN, so "Welcome to Tennessee - the Volunteer State"   And no that is not a reference to the University of TN Vols.  Tennessee is know for it significant number of actual volunteers in wars and other areas of service.  Chief of those was Davy Crockett at the Alamo and Andrew Jackson.  



#5 KmH

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Posted 28 February 2017 - 10:19 PM

For breakfast in Sacramento I go across the street (I st), hang a right to the corner (3rd st), and 1 block south (corner of 3rd & J) to the Perko's restaurant (925 3rd Street).

Perko's is about a 1000 foot walk from the front door of SAC station.
 
Yep. On the CZ lunch usually starts at noon.


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#6 the_traveler

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Posted 01 March 2017 - 12:59 AM

Wine tasting on the CS is about 3 pm. There are (AFAIK) no more movies shown in the PPC. As said, breakfast service starts at 6:30 am, or in the case of the CS as soon as the wheels start turning upon departure from Sacramento. You will get lunch on the CZ.
Take it easy .......

Take the train instead and enjoy the ride!

#7 Guest_Kat Black_*

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Posted 01 March 2017 - 09:10 AM

Thank you everyone for the quick answers, this is an extremely helpful site. I got all my answers taken care of!

#8 Lonestar648

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Posted 01 March 2017 - 11:19 AM

Glad to help.  Have a great trip.  Take lots of pictures.  We always make a photo book of each trip for the coffee table so our visitors can easily see the fun we had.


Trains Traveled On:
Texas Eagle                                      Sunset Limited                            California Zephyr                                Southwest Chief                Empire Builder            Capitol Limited           Lake Shore limited (NYP & BOS)      Crescent
Kentucky Cardinal                             Cardinal                                       Pere Marquette                                  Wolverines                        Lincoln Service            Empire Service          Keystone Service                               Acelas
NE Regionals                                    Pioneer                                        Desert Wind                                       Broadway Limited             Three Rivers                Southwest Chief        Coast Starlight                                    Empire Service
 
Amtrak Miles Logged: over 197,000


#9 Guest_Kat Black_*

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Posted 01 March 2017 - 11:43 AM

After calling the Amtrak agent to potentially switch my transfer from Sacramento to Martinez, I have an additional question / concern.  I was told the Coast Starlight and the Zypher run independently from each other.  That is why, when I booked online, I wasn't given Martinez as a transfer option generated by the online reservation computer.  I was also told that the Zypher will not depart before the designated 9:54 am scheduled time. 

 

Here is my concern.  Is 2 hrs 20 mins enough cushion for the Coast to arrive and make the transfer to the Zypher?  Has anyone had problems with the 2 hr 20 min layover time before?

 

I really like the idea of staying on the train the extra time and not having a 5 hour layover in Sacramento, but don't want to cut myself short on transfer time.

 

Thanks in advance for the additional information.



#10 jebr

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Posted 01 March 2017 - 11:47 AM

If the train is running very late and it's looking like the cushion won't be enough, talk with a conductor before Sacramento. They will likely be able to have you transfer in Sacramento instead so you don't miss the CZ. Calling Amtrak while on board should allow the same result.



#11 snvboy

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Posted 01 March 2017 - 12:02 PM

Others more experienced than I can chime in, but I believe that the connection at Sacramento is "guaranteed", meaning that Amtrak will either hold the CZ for you there, or will bus you from an earlier stop on the CS to catchup with the CZ in Sacramento. This is why the reservation system books your connection there and not elsewhere down the line at Martinez.

 

Booking your own transfer at Martinez, which is probably done with 2 one-way tickets (one on the CS, one on the CZ), is not "guaranteed" and if you miss the connection you'll be on your own. And depending on how the rest of your itinerary is booked, you may be considered a no-show for the rest of it.

 

EDIT - reading the previous post again, it may be POSSIBLE to ticket to Martinez, etc. and if running late hop off at Sacramento to make the connection, but by that point the CZ would have already left Martinez with you as a no-show which may make it difficult for the conductor on the CZ to ticket you.

 

I think what others have done, and I don't know if the schedules work for you on this, is to book the "approved" connection at Sacramento. Then for joy-riding purposes, take a short round trip on the local Corridor train on a separate ticket. 


Edited by snvboy, 01 March 2017 - 12:06 PM.


#12 the_traveler

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Posted 01 March 2017 - 12:05 PM

I have done this transfer. I was booked thru to Emeryville, but because the CS was late (and I myself wasn't sure it would get to EMY on time to connect) I got off at Martinez.

What I did, and what I would recommend, is to buy a COACH ticket from SAC to MTZ on the CS and a COACH ticket from MTZ to SAC on the CZ. While you will have to pay for your breakfast on the CS, if you talk to your SCA the night before, it is likely you can stay in your room (if it's not sold). On the CZ, go up to your sleeper (from SAC) and most likely you can occupy it early. (I did both ways.)

This way, if the train is very late and you have to transfer in SAC, you just need to cancel that short segment.

Edited by the_traveler, 01 March 2017 - 12:06 PM.

Take it easy .......

Take the train instead and enjoy the ride!

#13 Guest_Kat Black_*

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Posted 01 March 2017 - 12:11 PM

I am allowed to change once the train is moving? I've never traveled Amtrak before, are changes made that quickly onboard?

#14 Bob Dylan

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Posted 01 March 2017 - 01:38 PM

Dave's advice is spot on, buy tbe RT Coach ticket SAC-MTZ ( or even Davis which is a great little College town with plenty of breakfast places close by the small but beautiful old SP Station. (Friendly agent will hold your luggage,while you eat)

I used to change in Emeryville when it was allowed, which meant I got breakfast in the diner and didn't have to wake up so early before SAC, but today's CS ( used to be nicknamed the Coast Starlate!)OTP is too spotty to risk such a tight connection.
 
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#15 the_traveler

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Posted 01 March 2017 - 03:07 PM

I'm not sure what you mean by "change once the train is moving" Kat?

If you mean moving between cars to another car (such as the Dining Car), yes you can! The reason I specifically said that about Sacramento is that the arrival time is 6:15 am, and normally the breakfast starts at 6:30 am. The servers got tired of people coming in for breakfast when the train was 20 minutes late, ordering breakfast while the train pulls in, and then say "This is my stop, I must get off!" So now, they do not start until they leave Sacramento.

If you mean buying a ticket from Sacramento to Martinez, you can also do that - but you need to call reservations anyway. The reservation shows up instantly. But the fare is the then current fare, which may be higher than it is now. So why not make the change now - and maybe save money?
Take it easy .......

Take the train instead and enjoy the ride!

#16 Tennessee Traveler

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Posted 01 March 2017 - 04:38 PM

I agree with booking and keeping the Sacramento connection.  Then if you want, book a separate coach fare to Davis, Martinez, etc roundtrip on a separate reservation.  I did this and eventually decided to cancel the coach ticket choosing to actually spend my connection time in Sacramento and I certainly did not regret it.  Besides it was easy to cancel the coach reservation on line at Amtrak.com and receive an e-voucher which I used on a subsequent trip.  

 

The Coast Starlight has been having a hard time maintaining on time schedule.  In October on a trip from Emeryville, the CS was five hours late.  In fact they stayed in Sacramento almost an hour and a half to change many tickets to the inland route through Bakersville.  And even though the CS was late the connection with the CZ was met but only in Sacramento.



#17 Guest_Kat Black_*

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Posted 01 March 2017 - 09:22 PM

I just call Amtrak to explain to them I wanted to get a separate ticket, round trip from Sacramento to Martinez and back.  They said I couldn't do it, because it would mean I had to redo the ticket I already booked.  It was quite infuriating trying to explain to the lady that, instead of sitting in Sacramento for 5 hours, I wanted to get a separate round trip ticket (that just happened to be on the CS to Martinez and the CZ back to Sacramento).  She said that this would void out my original ticket.

 

I explained to the agent exactly as it was explained to me the_traveler.

"What I did, and what I would recommend, is to buy a COACH ticket from SAC to MTZ on the CS and a COACH ticket from MTZ to SAC on the CZ. While you will have to pay for your breakfast on the CS, if you talk to your SCA the night before, it is likely you can stay in your room (if it's not sold). On the CZ, go up to your sleeper (from SAC) and most likely you can occupy it early. (I did both ways.)"

 

Why is the agent telling me it can't be done?



#18 DoB

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Posted 01 March 2017 - 09:39 PM

Why bother trying to add it to your original reservation? Just go online (or call) and buy a round trip ticket from SAC to MTZ.

Edited by DoB, 01 March 2017 - 09:39 PM.


#19 the_traveler

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Posted 01 March 2017 - 10:07 PM

That's what I did.

I just went online and booked a coach ticket on 11 from SAC to MTZ and a coach ticket on 6 from MTZ to SAC. I did not speak with an agent or try to rebook my original reservation.

Edited by the_traveler, 01 March 2017 - 10:08 PM.

Take it easy .......

Take the train instead and enjoy the ride!

#20 Guest_Kat_*

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Posted 01 March 2017 - 10:09 PM

Ok, thanks. I'll give this a go. Thanks!



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