The current routing is the same as the original CZ from Chicago to Weso, NV just east of Winnemucca, NV. At that point, the Amtrak CZ follow the SP line over Donner Pass instead of the old WP through Feather River Canyon.
That's interesting to learn, that the original CZ had a different route west of Winnemucca. I guess per these schedules on the Streamliner website, the stops mentioned here reflect the old Western Pacific route rather than the Southern Pacific route? http://www.streamlin...phyr195008.html(1950), and http://www.streamlin...phyr197002.html (1970) I'd suspect one reason the CZ got rerouted to the SP route west of Winnemucca, is that the WP route has less population vs. the SP route. Wonder if Amtrak CZ trains have rarely used the WP route, if the SP route had an issue(i.e. flooding) that caused trains to be rerouted?
- Reno. An important destination in its own right, and even more so for the targeted (leisure) customers using the service.
- The Western Pacific never joined Amtrak. They didn't have to; they shed the last of their passenger service and became a freight-only railroad when the original California Zephyr was discontinued in 1970. So, Amtrak had no right to use their tracks and would have had to make a separate deal to do so (as, I believe, they had to do with Katy for the Inter-American/Texas Eagle between Taylor and Temple). It was much simpler to keep using the existing Southern Pacific passenger route over the Sierra which served Reno (see above). I'm not a contract lawyer, but I imagine the legal situation might have changed after WP was acquired by UP in 1983. However, by that time passenger service through the Feather River Canyon had been abandoned for 13 years, stations would have had to be rebuilt, and, again, there's Reno. AFAIK, there have been no serious proposals to restore regular passenger service on the Feather River Route.