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Family of 6 traveling, will we be able to sit close to each other?


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#1 Guest_John M_*

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Posted 17 October 2017 - 03:18 PM

We are catching the train in Provo, UT and taking it round trip to Granby, CO and back.  this will be October 20th time frame.  We board at 4:35 AM in Provo and I'm concerned about the train being full, everyone alseep, and trying to find seats for my wife and I and kids.

 

Does anyone know how crowded the train is this time of year, and for this particular stretch of track?  We are first time riders wtih Amtrak, and looking forward to the ride through the Rockies, but want to make sure it's a positive experience for the kids.

 

Thanks,

John



#2 Guest_John M_*

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Posted 17 October 2017 - 03:21 PM

Just for clarification, this is the California Zephyr, which I'm sure most of you already figured out.  :-)

 

-John



#3 Bob Dylan

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Posted 17 October 2017 - 03:32 PM

You can make Special Requests in advance thru Amtrak.

Call and ask the agent to note on your Rez that your family is boarding together and also tell the Amtrak Agent when you arrive @ the Station about this.

It should be noted on the manifest for the Train and the Conductors ( they change in Salt Lake City)will probably board you since most Coach attendants ate asleep this time of the morning.

Be sure and head for the Sightseer Lounge after the Sun is up so you see the great Colorado scenery in the Rockies and along the Colorado River.
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#4 Guest_John M_*

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Posted 17 October 2017 - 03:59 PM

Okay, thank you for the advice.  I was on the phone with one Amtrak representative and she was basically no help, telling me and my family that we were on our own to figure out seating, and she couldn't tell is if the train was going to be full or not, no recommendation to head to the sightseer lounge or anthing.  Likely just need to try a different rep.

 

I have been wanting to take this trip through the Rockies for many years, so I'm excited to see the Colorado scenery and Rockies along the river!  We should have some great fall colors.  After this, I want to book something in the dead of winter for the untouched snow and sights!

 

Thanks

John



#5 Guest_John M_*

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Posted 17 October 2017 - 04:06 PM

I just call Amtrak again, and this representative what SO MUCH more helpful, adding my request for the Conductor, and she was able to tell me the train is not full at all, and that although not guaranteed, it shouldn't be a problem getting 6 seats together.

 

I really appreciate the advice, as I likely would not have called back without it!

 

-John



#6 Dave Van

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Posted 17 October 2017 - 04:29 PM

I have never been on the CZ but every other train I have ridden seating was arranged by conductor/car captain. They will know you are getting on and how many.....if the Amtrak employee  is any good they will do their best to seat you near......but you are talking 3 rows of seats....


Edited by Dave Van, 17 October 2017 - 04:30 PM.

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#7 AmtrakBlue

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Posted 17 October 2017 - 05:09 PM

I have never been on the CZ but every other train I have ridden seating was arranged by conductor/car captain. They will know you are getting on and how many.....if the Amtrak employee  is any good they will do their best to seat you near......but you are talking 3 rows of seats....

Hmm, 1-1/2 rows, more like it.  4 across 1 row and 2 in 2nd row.  Though it could be 2+2+2.



#8 KmH

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Posted 17 October 2017 - 05:13 PM

Be aware lots of other people will be heading to the SSL car to see the sights.

Both coach and sleeper passengers use the SSL and on the CZ in Colorado the SSL is usually close to, if not full, most of the time during the day. 

Also be aware that if one vacates an SSL seat for longer than it takes to visit the restroom, or to grab a snack or drink from the café on the lower level, the empty seat is fair game.


Edited by KmH, 17 October 2017 - 05:15 PM.

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#9 oregon pioneer

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Posted 17 October 2017 - 06:01 PM

This time of year, with the train not full, you should be able to go to the Sightseer Lounge first thing in the morning and find seats for six, no problem! You will find that half of the upper level is made up of tables with bench seats (made to seat four, but if your children are small, your family may fit in one booth), The tables are good for families, because you can spread out books and games to occupy the little ones. They are also less in-demand than the couches and chairs, so you need not feel like you are supposed to cede the ground to someone else after a short time. Your coach seats are reserved for you, so they will be there to return to if someone needs some down-time.

 

You may bring your own food into the upper level (NOT downstairs where the cafe is, but if you wish, you can also buy hot chocolate, bagels, etc downstairs and carry it upstairs to have with your own food). I expect your children will be well-behaved and enthusiastic about the experience (I went to the U in SLC, and was impressed by Utah children), and they will be smiled at with a great deal of tolerance by train staff and other passengers.

 

The scenery on the section you have chosen is absolutely stunning, and I just know you will have a wonderful experience. I hope you will join this forum and report back on it afterwards.


Jennifer

 

I'm a "little Old Lady in Tennis Shoes" (LOLITS) from Eastern Oregon. I love to travel by train, though I live way out in the toolies, far from the nearest Amtrak station (Chemult). My station would have been Baker City, but they cancelled the Oregon Pioneer just before I took my first long-distance train trip as an adult. I've taken most trains in the West, but I'm still exploring new routes in the east.


#10 BCL

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Posted 17 October 2017 - 07:41 PM

I have never been on the CZ but every other train I have ridden seating was arranged by conductor/car captain. They will know you are getting on and how many.....if the Amtrak employee  is any good they will do their best to seat you near......but you are talking 3 rows of seats....

 

Way too many variables, but mid-route they will typically have all seating assigned by the coach attendant before boarding.

 

I didn't take the CZ from Emeryville, but was planning on it at one time.  There it's usually where an attendant tells the passengers which car (usually selected by destination) to board and to then pick a seat.  The goal is to get passengers destined for the same place grouped together, and where passengers going to the same place will be in the same car(s) even with different departure points.  It gets tighter as the train gets full and that's when they'll typically move people around to accommodate groups boarding later.  If it's anywhere near full, I expect the passenger who got a solo seat early on will either get a seat mate and/or will be asked to move.

 

It should be easy enough if you booked together.  There was an infamous incident (SW Chief I think) where a family of 5/6 apparently booked separately 3 times to game the pricing system.  They didn't get seated together, mom complained about being in the lounge (calling it full of drunks) where the attendant suggested they stay overnight if they absolutely needed to be together until they could wake people up in the morning to reseat, and they left after they tried crowding the entire group in two seats.



#11 Dave Van

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Posted 18 October 2017 - 08:27 AM

 

I have never been on the CZ but every other train I have ridden seating was arranged by conductor/car captain. They will know you are getting on and how many.....if the Amtrak employee  is any good they will do their best to seat you near......but you are talking 3 rows of seats....

Hmm, 1-1/2 rows, more like it.  4 across 1 row and 2 in 2nd row.  Though it could be 2+2+2.

 

One complete row of 4 was hard to save....thinking more like the 2+2+2 and maybe even skip a row.....


25000+ miles on Amtrak to So Cal.....

Read about my trips.......

http://www.currtail.com


#12 BCL

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Posted 18 October 2017 - 11:22 AM

 

 

I have never been on the CZ but every other train I have ridden seating was arranged by conductor/car captain. They will know you are getting on and how many.....if the Amtrak employee  is any good they will do their best to seat you near......but you are talking 3 rows of seats....

Hmm, 1-1/2 rows, more like it.  4 across 1 row and 2 in 2nd row.  Though it could be 2+2+2.

 

One complete row of 4 was hard to save....thinking more like the 2+2+2 and maybe even skip a row.....

 

 

Once an attendant tells someone to move, they move.  Of course seat hogs don't like it, but they have no other choice other than to leave.  Of course they're always thinking ahead trying to rearrange the seating in real time to accommodate groups.



#13 Guest_John M_*

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Posted 18 October 2017 - 02:55 PM

Thanks again for all of the additional great advice.  While the kids are napping from 4:30 AM to 7:00 or so, I will be sure to grab a table with bench seats.  I know the rep I talked to indicated the train wasn't full at all, so hopefully it's not a big deal.  Absolutely love the idea of going through the Rockies, and hope the kids enjoy it too.  We rode the Silverton a few years back and really enjoyed it.  I will try to report back on how things go.

 

Thanks,

-John



#14 BCL

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Posted 19 October 2017 - 03:12 PM

Thanks again for all of the additional great advice.  While the kids are napping from 4:30 AM to 7:00 or so, I will be sure to grab a table with bench seats.  I know the rep I talked to indicated the train wasn't full at all, so hopefully it's not a big deal.  Absolutely love the idea of going through the Rockies, and hope the kids enjoy it too.  We rode the Silverton a few years back and really enjoyed it.  I will try to report back on how things go.

 

Even if the train was full, I'd be surprised if the attendant/conductor doesn't somehow clear a section of seats ahead of time for your family so that you will be able to be seated in the coach car as a group.  At that point in the route it would be highly unusual for you to be "on your own" when it comes to selecting seats.  Mid-route, the seats are typically going to be assigned for future passengers well before they're scheduled to board.

 

Superliner coach seats are about the size of first/business class seats on typical airliners.  They lean way back where there's so much legroom that you're not going to be pushing into anyone's knees.  There's so much legroom that the trays have to slide back in order for the passenger to comfortably use it.  They also have leg-rests that prop up.  Here's a photo of one seat with full recline and the leg-rest all the way up.

 

USA-california-zephyr-seat.jpg





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