Posted 06 August 2017 - 11:45 AM
I cannot provide any information on the Coastal Classic because much to my disappointment, I did not ride it. I rode the the Denali Star, Goldstar Service, from Anchorage to Fairbanks in May. I heard that the scenery is between Anchorage and Seward is fantastic. I was in a motorcoach between Anchorage and Whittier and enjoyed the scenery.
If I had to guess which side of the train, I would choose right, but someone who has traveled that train would know more than I know. Seats were assigned in advance when we checked in. I arrived at the Anchorage station an hour before departure. Since I went early in the season, the train was not full and Goldstar was only half full, and people moved around quite a bit.
What I learned after I made my reservations was that AKRR offers a AAA discount, but only if you make your reservations by phone. I made mine on line. When I made my reservations, I was able to request a seat preference. I requested window seat in middle of car, which I got.
I thought Goldstar Service was well worth the premium I paid. I had 3 great meals and 2 local Alaska beers.
Amtrak miles: 215,971; Routes: Silver Meteor, Champion (1973), Silver Star, Auto Train, Capitol Limited, Empire Builder, Lakeshore Limited, Adirondack, Vermonter, Cardinal, California Zephyr, Coast Starlight, Texas Eagle, Missouri River Runner, Acela Express, Southwest Chief, Cascades, Crescent, City of New Orleans, Hiawatha Service, Maple Leaf, Keystone Service, Northeast Regional, Downeaster, Piedmont, Carolinian, Lincoln Service, Autumn Express 2013, Empire Service, Sunset Limited, San Joaquin, Capitol Corridor, Pennsylvanian, Illinois Zephyr, Carl Sandburg, Autumn Express 2015, Ethan Allen Express, AEM-7 Excursion, Pacific Surfliner; Lakeshore Limited (BOS-ALB), Autumn Express 2016, Palmetto.
VIA miles: 4,584; Routes: The Canadian (westbound), Ocean; Alaska Railroad Denali Star: 356 miles