Jump to content




Empire Builder Chicago - Seattle


7 replies to this topic

#1 Guest_Martha Davies_*

Guest_Martha Davies_*
  • Guests

Posted 29 June 2017 - 03:27 AM

I will be travelling on the Empire Builder in August with my sister. It will be our first experience using Amtrak. We are travelling from Chicago to Seattle spending 2 nights on board. We have booked a roomette, I would be grateful for any tips for the journey.

1. How secure is the roomette, are we able to lock it from the outside and inside?
2. Realistically how much luggage can we store in the roomette?
3. Best times to shower, do you have to provide your own soap etc?
4. Times of meals during the day.
5. Is there wifi on board?
6. Are we able to get of the train whilst it is in station?

Any tips/information would be gratefully received.
Thanks,

Martha :)



#2 Ryan

Ryan

    Engineer

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 15,327 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:OTN
  • Interests:a fact checker combined with a ferret

Posted 29 June 2017 - 04:52 AM

1. Can lock from the inside, not outside. Car attendants usually do a good job only permitting people with a need to be there in the car. I’d maybe take your purse if you leave the room, but if you pull the curtains and shut the door, nobody can tell if you’re in there or not. Takes a bold person to open a door where there may be someone inside to try and take something.

2. Not much. There is a bag rack on the lower level of the car where you can put more.

3. Evenings are less crowded, unless you fancy a particular brand of something, the basics are there.

4. I would have to double check, I’m sure someone will come along. Pretty standard times.

5. No, and there are stretches where you won’t even have cell service.

6. Sometimes. If the train arrives already, it can’t leave early, so you’ll sit for a spell. Most stations are timed to stop, pick up, and go, so if you’re on time or late, there will be no time. Some stations are scheduled for longer stops to change operating crews and refuel, so you have a better shot at being able to stretch your legs there. Again though, if the train is late, they will try to complete that work as quickly as possible and depart as soon as it’s done. Your car attendant will be able to help with planning those stops. Stick close to them when you do step off, so that you can be certain to get back on before the train leaves.

Others: Relax, and enjoy! It’s a great way to travel.
Posted Image

Disclaimer: Any images or links you see in my post may in fact be invasive advertising or even fraudulent phishing attacks silently injected into my post by our spam based hosting service. If anything looks suspicious or inappropriate or you have any doubt whatsoever then do not click any links (particularly those appearing in green and/or with a double underline) or interact with the spam in any way. You may also want to consider using ad-blocking plugins such as Adblock Plus and/or Ghostery)to help reduce the number and severity of advertising scams directed at you.

#3 JayPea

JayPea

    Engineer

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 3,477 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Colfax, WA (CFX)---Hey, it's only an Amtrak Thruway bus stop, but at least my town in mentioned on Amtrak's website and in their timetable!
  • Interests:Trains, photography, photography of trains, travel, travel by train, reading, reading about trains............

Posted 29 June 2017 - 05:02 AM

1)  Roomettes can be locked from the inside but not the outside.  When you are out of your room keep valuables hidden or take them with you.  The sleeping car attendant knows who belongs in which room so you should have no problem with items being pilfered.

 

2) There is not much storage room particularly with two of you traveling together.  There is, however, a luggage rack on the lower level of your car on which you can store your luggage.  Checking your luggage at Chicago is of course another option.

 

3) Many people find late in the evening before bedtime is the best for showering.  I am usually awake by 3:30 AM or so and find that to be excellent!!!  I don't, however, recommend rising that early! : ;)   But late at night seems to work well with most folks. Soap is supplied, but shampoo is not.  Towels are also supplied.

 

4)  I'm not 100% sure on meal times, but I believe breakfast is from 6:30 AM to 9:30 or so.  Lunch begins at 11:30 or 12 (don't remember which) and lasts until 1:30 or so (I think).  Both breakfast and lunch are first come, first served.  Dinner begins at 5 and lasts until 9 or so (again, don't recall precisely) and is by reservation only.  Your dining car attendant will come to your room asking which time you like for dinner. One thing to keep in mind:  Breakfast on the second morning, in the great state of Washington :lol: begins at 5:30 AM and ends around 7:30 AM or just after the train exits the Cascade Tunnel in the Cascades, whichever comes first.

 

5) No wifi.  Phone coverage can be spotty in North Dakota and Eastern Montana, and non-existant for most of the journey through Glacier Park.  Who wants to be on the phone then anyway??  The scenery is much more interesting than any phone conversation you might have!!!   :D

 

6) Most stops last just long enough to let passengers on or off; only those detraining are allowed off.  There are a few longer stops that are for crew changes, service stops, etc, and smoke/fresh air breaks, but be sure to stay trainside and don't wander off.  Make sure to listen for the crew's "All aboard!" call.  They can and do leave people behind.  I was on the Empire Builder last month and they did leave someone behind at the smoke/fresh air break at Williston, ND.  Williston is one of the shorter of the smoke/fresh air breaks; Minot is one that can be lengthy especially if the train is early or on-time.  But do make sure at these breaks, again, not to wander off.

 

Other tips:  If possible, try to get a seat in the Sightseer Lounge car for the scenic parts of the route, especially in Glacier Park. The journey through Glacier, if the train is on time, usually runs around 6:30 PM to 8:30 PM.  When I'm traveling the Empire Builder, I try to get an early dinner time so that I am out of the diner for the journey through Glacier.

 

Best advice I can give:  Enjoy and have fun!  I live in Eastern Washington, south of Spokane, and never get tired of Seattle; I just returned from there last week.  Again, enjoy!! :)


Amtrak Routes Traveled: City of New Orleans, State House/Lincoln Service, Empire Builder, California Zephyr, Southwest Chief, Cascades, Crescent, Capitol Limited, Coast Starlight, Texas Eagle/Sunset Limited, Silver Meteor, Lake Shore Limited, Pacific Surfliner, Cardinal.
 
Pre-Amtrak Routes Traveled:
Empire Builder (Great Northern), North Coast Limited (Northern Pacific), Abraham Lincoln (Gulf, Mobile, and Ohio), City of Hinkle  (Union Pacific) Panama Limited (Illinois Central)

Bustitutions: Portland-Spokane (EB),Galesburg-Bloomington (CZ/Lincoln Service )
 

Amtrak Miles: 81242

Pre-Amtrak Miles: 8478

Bustitution Miles: 450

Excursion trains ridden:  Centralia and Chehalis Railroad, Mt. Hood Scenic Railroad, Alaska Railroad, 1880 Train (Black Hills Central RR) and trains at the Illinois Railway Museum, California Railway Museum, and the Monticello (IL) Railroad Museum.

#4 serencat

serencat

    Train Attendant

  • Newbie
  • Pip
  • 2 posts

Posted 29 June 2017 - 08:48 AM

1)  Roomettes can be locked from the inside but not the outside.  When you are out of your room keep valuables hidden or take them with you.  The sleeping car attendant knows who belongs in which room so you should have no problem with items being pilfered.

 

2) There is not much storage room particularly with two of you traveling together.  There is, however, a luggage rack on the lower level of your car on which you can store your luggage.  Checking your luggage at Chicago is of course another option.

 

3) Many people find late in the evening before bedtime is the best for showering.  I am usually awake by 3:30 AM or so and find that to be excellent!!!  I don't, however, recommend rising that early! : ;)   But late at night seems to work well with most folks. Soap is supplied, but shampoo is not.  Towels are also supplied.

 

4)  I'm not 100% sure on meal times, but I believe breakfast is from 6:30 AM to 9:30 or so.  Lunch begins at 11:30 or 12 (don't remember which) and lasts until 1:30 or so (I think).  Both breakfast and lunch are first come, first served.  Dinner begins at 5 and lasts until 9 or so (again, don't recall precisely) and is by reservation only.  Your dining car attendant will come to your room asking which time you like for dinner. One thing to keep in mind:  Breakfast on the second morning, in the great state of Washington :lol: begins at 5:30 AM and ends around 7:30 AM or just after the train exits the Cascade Tunnel in the Cascades, whichever comes first.

 

5) No wifi.  Phone coverage can be spotty in North Dakota and Eastern Montana, and non-existant for most of the journey through Glacier Park.  Who wants to be on the phone then anyway??  The scenery is much more interesting than any phone conversation you might have!!!   :D

 

6) Most stops last just long enough to let passengers on or off; only those detraining are allowed off.  There are a few longer stops that are for crew changes, service stops, etc, and smoke/fresh air breaks, but be sure to stay trainside and don't wander off.  Make sure to listen for the crew's "All aboard!" call.  They can and do leave people behind.  I was on the Empire Builder last month and they did leave someone behind at the smoke/fresh air break at Williston, ND.  Williston is one of the shorter of the smoke/fresh air breaks; Minot is one that can be lengthy especially if the train is early or on-time.  But do make sure at these breaks, again, not to wander off.

 

Other tips:  If possible, try to get a seat in the Sightseer Lounge car for the scenic parts of the route, especially in Glacier Park. The journey through Glacier, if the train is on time, usually runs around 6:30 PM to 8:30 PM.  When I'm traveling the Empire Builder, I try to get an early dinner time so that I am out of the diner for the journey through Glacier.

 

Best advice I can give:  Enjoy and have fun!  I live in Eastern Washington, south of Spokane, and never get tired of Seattle; I just returned from there last week.  Again, enjoy!! :)

So much information- much appreciated. not planning on using my phone a good time to detox my phone usage  :)  really looking forward to the journey always been my dream to travel the US by Amtrak. Thanks again. :D  :D



#5 serencat

serencat

    Train Attendant

  • Newbie
  • Pip
  • 2 posts

Posted 29 June 2017 - 08:58 AM

1)  Roomettes can be locked from the inside but not the outside.  When you are out of your room keep valuables hidden or take them with you.  The sleeping car attendant knows who belongs in which room so you should have no problem with items being pilfered.

 

2) There is not much storage room particularly with two of you traveling together.  There is, however, a luggage rack on the lower level of your car on which you can store your luggage.  Checking your luggage at Chicago is of course another option.

 

3) Many people find late in the evening before bedtime is the best for showering.  I am usually awake by 3:30 AM or so and find that to be excellent!!!  I don't, however, recommend rising that early! : ;)   But late at night seems to work well with most folks. Soap is supplied, but shampoo is not.  Towels are also supplied.

 

4)  I'm not 100% sure on meal times, but I believe breakfast is from 6:30 AM to 9:30 or so.  Lunch begins at 11:30 or 12 (don't remember which) and lasts until 1:30 or so (I think).  Both breakfast and lunch are first come, first served.  Dinner begins at 5 and lasts until 9 or so (again, don't recall precisely) and is by reservation only.  Your dining car attendant will come to your room asking which time you like for dinner. One thing to keep in mind:  Breakfast on the second morning, in the great state of Washington :lol: begins at 5:30 AM and ends around 7:30 AM or just after the train exits the Cascade Tunnel in the Cascades, whichever comes first.

 

5) No wifi.  Phone coverage can be spotty in North Dakota and Eastern Montana, and non-existant for most of the journey through Glacier Park.  Who wants to be on the phone then anyway??  The scenery is much more interesting than any phone conversation you might have!!!   :D

 

6) Most stops last just long enough to let passengers on or off; only those detraining are allowed off.  There are a few longer stops that are for crew changes, service stops, etc, and smoke/fresh air breaks, but be sure to stay trainside and don't wander off.  Make sure to listen for the crew's "All aboard!" call.  They can and do leave people behind.  I was on the Empire Builder last month and they did leave someone behind at the smoke/fresh air break at Williston, ND.  Williston is one of the shorter of the smoke/fresh air breaks; Minot is one that can be lengthy especially if the train is early or on-time.  But do make sure at these breaks, again, not to wander off.

 

Other tips:  If possible, try to get a seat in the Sightseer Lounge car for the scenic parts of the route, especially in Glacier Park. The journey through Glacier, if the train is on time, usually runs around 6:30 PM to 8:30 PM.  When I'm traveling the Empire Builder, I try to get an early dinner time so that I am out of the diner for the journey through Glacier.

 

Best advice I can give:  Enjoy and have fun!  I live in Eastern Washington, south of Spokane, and never get tired of Seattle; I just returned from there last week.  Again, enjoy!! :)

Thanks for the information you are sure an experienced Amtrak user. Always been a dream to travel by Amtrak  :lol: will definitely take note of your tip about the Sightseer lounge and the early dinner. Never been to Seattle really looking forward to it.Thanks again  :D



#6 KmH

KmH

    Engineer

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,532 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Is this heaven? No. It's Iowa.
  • Interests:Astronomy, photography

Posted 29 June 2017 - 10:07 AM

While on the train you would not have access to any baggage you check in Chicago. The checked baggage is in the baggage car up behind the locomotives and is not accessible by passengers.

 

Many, if not most, sleeper passengers use a personal backpack or small personal bag in the roomette and shuttle clothes etc from their carry on bag(s) on the lower level luggage rack to their roomette.

There is a fold out spring loaded  hanger hook in the Roomette that also works for hanging a small bag or a backpack.

The top step for getting into the upper bunk is long enough that it is another place a backpack/small bag can be stored.

In the daytime, the upper bunk can be lowered part way for use as daytime storage space.

 

We are allowed to carry-on bags and 2 personal bags. https://www.amtrak.c...d=1251621565003

 

Click this link to see the layout of a Superliner Sleeper car:

http://s4.zetaboards...tkz/pages/cars/

 

Superliner Roomette info and Virtual Tour:

https://www.amtrak.c...d=1241210576173


Edited by KmH, 29 June 2017 - 10:09 AM.

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.

 

 

 

 

 


#7 JayPea

JayPea

    Engineer

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 3,477 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Colfax, WA (CFX)---Hey, it's only an Amtrak Thruway bus stop, but at least my town in mentioned on Amtrak's website and in their timetable!
  • Interests:Trains, photography, photography of trains, travel, travel by train, reading, reading about trains............

Posted 29 June 2017 - 10:09 AM

And speaking of the Sightseer Lounge, you will want to note that initially, the best views are on the right side of the train. But not long after departing East Glacier, the right side will yield a spectacular view of rocks and dirt. :lol: And not long after THAT, the viewing is about equal on either side. And one more thing ;) is that in Spokane, the train is split with half of it going to Seattle and the other half to Portland. You will lose the Sightseer Lounge at that time, as it goes off to Portland. You do, however, retain the diner.
Amtrak Routes Traveled: City of New Orleans, State House/Lincoln Service, Empire Builder, California Zephyr, Southwest Chief, Cascades, Crescent, Capitol Limited, Coast Starlight, Texas Eagle/Sunset Limited, Silver Meteor, Lake Shore Limited, Pacific Surfliner, Cardinal.
 
Pre-Amtrak Routes Traveled:
Empire Builder (Great Northern), North Coast Limited (Northern Pacific), Abraham Lincoln (Gulf, Mobile, and Ohio), City of Hinkle  (Union Pacific) Panama Limited (Illinois Central)

Bustitutions: Portland-Spokane (EB),Galesburg-Bloomington (CZ/Lincoln Service )
 

Amtrak Miles: 81242

Pre-Amtrak Miles: 8478

Bustitution Miles: 450

Excursion trains ridden:  Centralia and Chehalis Railroad, Mt. Hood Scenic Railroad, Alaska Railroad, 1880 Train (Black Hills Central RR) and trains at the Illinois Railway Museum, California Railway Museum, and the Monticello (IL) Railroad Museum.

#8 Lonestar648

Lonestar648

    Engineer

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,326 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Texas

Posted 29 June 2017 - 08:37 PM

I just finished a trip with my teenage granddaughter in a roomette.  We had the older version with the narrow closet.  First we put a black regular size airline roller on its side, soft side out, on the step. Next we put a bag about the size of the roller, but such that the teen carried on her shoulder, vertical on the roller.  I had backpack with my stuff and all the electronics which we hung on a hook that was on the exterior wall of the closet.  We moved the roller as to create a small step for her climbing into the upper bunk.  Could she put something downstairs? Absolutely no, she is a TEEN girl.  Besides I was just thrilled she was will to travel on the train several nights with me.  Anyway, with some thought, more fits into the room than you think.  The SCA was amazed, how much room we had with so much in the room.  He had no issues making down the beds.  Neither did the one on the other train.  Both were Superliners.


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 206,000




Reply to this topic



  

0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users